Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
Meet our Thoughtleaders: An Interview
with Sarmistha Tarafder by Gordon Nary
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Thoughtleaders Main Page
Gordon: Let's start by discussing
design. One of my favorite design quotes is by Jim Henson in his book It's
Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider when
he wrote “Simple is good.”
Could you comment on the role of simplicity in design?
Sarmistha: Simplicity is a much sought after and talked about precept. I think, it is much overrated in the general sense of term.
Or, perhaps, in our complex and over abundant lives, our sub-conscious aspires for something that is easy, less complex and manageable.
But, Simplicity is something that is not achieved by making, something easier or less complex. Take away all the details and all the complexity, what you are left with is something very boring and neolithic.…… Can you imagine the Blue Mosque of Isfahan stripped off its details, its textures, its diverse Kufic scripts, the exquisite arabesque patterns..
Simplicity embraces exactly the right details, the right difficulties, the right complexity, but because everything is tied together in a common sense of purpose , you are left with a sense of clarity, and a sense that everything belongs exactly where it is. Simplicity is achieved when everything means something. Clarity, purpose, and intentionality form the triangulation of the concept "Simple". It is not what you take away, it is what you have to add to this recipe to make it clear purposeful and intentional.
Gordon: What are the principles of great design?
Hoping that you have a record of your prior trade show attendees, send out an evaluation form by asking who are
really interested in purchasing what you have to offer in the next 6 months. Use that number to determine your
exhibit space requirements, budgets, and operational demands.
Check out competition, brand awareness, conducting focus
groups, dispensing education: For all this, you do not
necessarily have to
Lack of a plan often prevents us from reaching a certain goal. So the answer is always have a clear offering of a structured plan. Your clients will love you.
Have a Plan for your Attendees and solve the challenge of keeping a consistent brand theme before and after the show
The saying goes 'don't make me think', 'make it easy for me', 'tell me what to do'. In other words, plan out the necessary
steps that your prospect has to embark on in order to make the journey from visitors to leads to customers to promoters.
As Donald Miller of StoryBrand Workshop says, "A plan isn’t necessarily a product, it's just something a customer can get their minds
For Allstate insurance, it’s the Allstate value
plan. For Little Caesars, it’s 2 for 1 pizzas.
For CarMax, it’s a no-haggle pricing policy.
For Dollar Shave Club, it’s a monthly subscription for razors.
Gordon: With the explosion of new technologies , especially in the area of communications, do you have any predictions on how technology may affect the tradeshow and exhibit industry in the next ten years?
my clue from the Pulitzer-prize
winning author E. O. Wilson.
In an interview with NPR he mentioned that “The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.” Until we understand ourselves, “until we answer those huge questions of philosophy that the philosophers abandoned a couple of generations ago—Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?—rationally,” we’re on very thin ground.
First we have to define why we are going to trade
shows. Truly, in this day and age we can hold virtual events and be
done with it. But, I think that will not pacify our neolithic
emotions. Scholars say that during this period for the first time
time we began to think of ourselves as separate from the natural
world which is sometimes in opposition to us and which we need to
control. An enormous communal effort was required for "Cosmic
Maintenance" and thus we see the beginnings of organized
religion. This urge to bond with other people who share our values
is very strong within us. Hence, we see the existence of trade fairs
since the ancient times. In India fairs have been reported as far
back as 4000 BC.(source:Trade Shows in the Globalizing Knowledge
Economy) In the 19th and 20th century the organizational model of
the fair changed substantially. Now called trade shows, they have
become prime places for exhibiting 'available capabilities'. These
events are now seen as idealistic settings for learning, exploring
and experiencing, offered through physical immersion of a certain
product. Now, online visitors travel offline to be part of an outer
space exploration. To promote its
"Avatar"-themed gaming machines and online DoubleDown Casino social
game, International Game Technology rolls
the dice on a $3.3 million exhibit that sends visitors into outer
space, and then spins them on a revolving platform where they
compete in high-stakes slots. (source:
Gordon: With all of the rapid changes in technology, do you foresee and significant conflicts in the tradeshow and exhibit industry between the younger and more tech-savvy members of the industry and the older members?
This is a great question. Remember, I was
talking about our emotional need to hang out together.
Often I see young folks in a restaurant all huddled together but, each of them is glued to one's own device. That intrigues me.
Gordon: You are a remarkable talent and I appreciate the opportunity of working with you and featuring some of your exceptional articles on our website
Sarmistha: Thank you Gordon. Thank you for having me. It was a great exercise for the intellect.