Jim Cermak TradeShowU.biz
Episode 009 – Using the Power of Improv at your Trade Shows (Part 1) – Interview with Roger Miller of Tues@7
Show Notes from Interview with Roger Miller – Part 1
Introducing Roger Miller – a right-brained person in a left-brained world. Roger has the unique background combination of being in the not-very exciting medical Insurance industry, and also a special effects makeup artist! Roger has been involved in many shows in both of his worlds – insurance and special effects makeup. He draws on inspiration from both to give great tips and value for you and how to do things differently in your booth for greater customer engagement and results.
Tips for doing things differently at the trade show booth:
· Learn from Experiential shows that are extremely creative. The energy, creativity, engagement, live streaming, multi-media, and more are used in more of the arts, theater and creative industry shows.
· Iconic characters are one-way companies can brand themselves and build on themes
· In the insurance industry, think of Progressive’s “Flo” and Allstate’s “Mayhem”
· Memorable and effective for very different reasons
· Flo is good but Mayhem is great because his character immediately ties to the benefits of having insurance.
· But think about characters like that and what makes them memorable. Then think of those aspects and how you can create a character or a brand image using those characteristics.
· Try to bring the same kind of creativity to the show floor and use it in a way that stops attendees in their tracks and allows you to engage in new and exciting ways.
· Obviously this takes planning with your team prior to the show to give you enough time to execute your plan.
· Figure out what emotion you need to get from your audience. Is it fear, like in the insurance industry? Is it desire? Or something else?
· Then it's about taking it to the next level – taking your attendees to a place they haven’t gone or typically don’t go at a trade show.
o For example – at an auto show go beyond just letting people sit in one of your cars and give them an immersive test drive experience.
· Step 1 is Drawing Attention – how do we actually get people to stop.
· Step 2 is Engaging the attendees
· If you are in a more traditional business industry like insurance, being creative will really help you stand out at your next show. However, if you are in a creative field like art, music or theater, then you really have to ramp up your game because everyone there will be employing creativity.
· Don’t call your booth staff your salespeople or marketing people or whatever their usual role is. Call them Your Cast.
· When most people think of improv, their minds go to the TV show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” starring Drew Carey.
- Most people who watched this thought that there is no way this could be improvised – these people are way too good. This must be rehearsed.
- But it is truly improvised!
- The key to these people being so good is that they practice their improv by practicing various situations that they might be put in. So when new situations come up, they can pull from things they have practiced in the past that are similar
- Business – especially at a trade show – is really more like theater
- In traditional theater, you have a cast who have roles, lines, and actions – all of which commence at specific times.
- Trade shows are just like this. You need to treat your booth staff as your cast – giving them roles, scripts, and actions to carry out.
· In the theater – there is a “fourth wall” that separates the cast from the audience.
· With Improv – you need to “break” the fourth wall at all times and include your audience in the performance.
· There are 3 components to Improv: Stage, Go, and Engage.
- Stage includes creating roles for everyone. If you are including creativity and one person is meant to stand out from the rest, then they need to dress and act the part.
- The stage is also where you are seen – and is truly your entire exhibit. Maybe you have a platform for some of your staff or your display to be raised above everyone else – even if it’s just a few inches.
- This takes most of your planning.
- Go is breaking that fourth wall. It’s going beyond your booth to grab the attention of the attendees.
- Go is probably the easiest piece because it doesn’t take near as much planning as the other parts.
- Your cast or characters need to come off of the stage to approach the attendees.
- The critical part of GO is to Look and Listen. Absorb the information from the attendees, and this info from the audience will cue your next response where Engagement occurs.
- Engage is where you start that conversation with the attendees based on the information you gathered while looking and listening in the Go phase.
- This is where we make the connection, convey our value, and get remembered
- Training and preparation ahead of time are critical! Practicing the standard questions and situations will help prepare us to better handle unexpected questions and situations.
How to contact Roger Miller:
Roger’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/roger.miller.7359
Tues@7 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/385753735423902/
Tues@7 YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtPMYkSfKmesd3kE5TaxVHA
Check out Part 2 of the interview with Roger Miller where we explore Improv further and specific exercises for using creativity to achieve massive results!
About the author, Jim Jim Cermak has over 25 years of marketing, consulting, and training experience, and has planned and worked hundreds of Trade Shows. He gets a little overly excited about Trade Shows, and puts that passion into helping companies get better results!