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Beyond Logo Soup: Time to Reimagine Trade Shows and Sponsorships

For a decade or more, meeting and trade show organizers have been looking for ways to get beyond logo soup.

You’ve seen it before, possibly even at your own event: programs and signage with branding from two or three dozen sponsors or lead exhibitors, all competing for the very limited time, attention, and interest participants can devote to what amounts to highly-paid advertising.

Which means your definition of short-term financial success almost guarantees your sponsors that their messages and branding will be lost in the crowd. Not exactly the way to express your commitment to a long-term partnership, or to spur their interest in a multi-year deal.

Jeff Hurt, Executive Vice President, Education and Engagement at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, described the problem in a recent blog post.

“Logos hanging from the ceiling at the trade show.  Ads covering windows, elevator doors, and escalator ramps. Symbols, signs, and emblems stuck to the floor, carpet, and wrapping columns. Logos on lanyards, room keys, and conference bags."

“All of these are the traditional ways conferences approach sponsorship,” he wrote. “And the majority of them have little value or ROI. Most of them are the wrong way to approach conference sponsorship today.”
In a special presentation during the Engaging Associations Summit in July, Hurt will discuss strategies for pushing beyond logo soup. In his post, he suggests that “smart, savvy sponsors” are most interested in:

  • Making participant engagement easier
  • Creating a better experience onsite
  • Delivering lasting value for participants.

“It’s not just about logo placement anymore,” he writes. “In the end, successful conference sponsorship developers are working with potential sponsors to create customized packages that improve the attendee experience, add something that the attendee values, and results in real ROI for the sponsor.”

Click here for more on the Engaging Associations Summit, July 24-25, 2014 in Ottawa.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /