North America

What trade shows can and should learn from the award shows

SISO CEO Vincent Polito urges organisers to take some storytelling leaves out of the award planners’ playbook:

We’ve been witness to an apparent dichotomy of events this year – very successful trade shows contrasted with very successful award shows. The glitz and glamour of the award shows and the industrious atmosphere of trade shows. Award shows shimmer with elegance and celebrate achievement. Trade shows hum with innovation, showcasing the latest advancements in the industries they serve. But beneath the surface lies unexpected harmony and invaluable insights.

At ‘quality’ award shows, meticulous planning and attention to detail reign supreme. Every aspect is orchestrated to create an unforgettable experience. Similarly, the success of trade shows hinge on effective planning and seamless execution at all levels in the ecosystem.

However, while award shows bask in the limelight of glamour, trade shows exude substance. While one dazzles with celebrity appearances and over the top performances, the other provides a platform for meaningful business interactions and professional networking. But what if these distinct worlds could borrow from each other’s strengths to create an amalgamation of excellence?

Imagine a trade show where exhibitors not only showcase products but vie for prestigious awards recognising innovation, sustainability and excellence in their respective fields. Envision an environment where the most groundbreaking companies are honoured in front of their peers and industry luminaries. While some events already do this, more organisers can transcend mere exhibitions, transforming them into celebrations of achievement and innovation.

Moreover, just as award shows captivate audiences with compelling storytelling, trade shows can benefit from crafting narratives around exhibitors and their products. By spotlight the human stories behind the brands – the passion, dedication, and ingenuity that drive them forward – trade shows can forge deeper connections with attendees, leaving a lasting impression long after the event concludes.

Yet, perhaps the most poignant lesson that the trade show industry can glean from award shows is the power of recognition and validation. Just as artists cherish the accolades bestowed upon them by their peers, businesses thrive on acknowledgment of their hard work and contributions to their respective fields. By instituting awards and honours within the trade show framework, organisers can inspire innovation, foster healthy competition and motivate exhibitors to strive for excellence.

In essence, the convergence of award shows and trade shows presents a unique opportunity to redefine how success is celebrated in the business world. By embracing the principles of glamour, substance, storytelling and recognition, organisers can create events that not only showcase the latest products and innovations but also inspire and uplift all those who participate.

To paraphrase Ricky Gervais, If you do win an award, use the award to inspire your industry and avoid unrelated speech making!

As the curtains draw to a close on another successful trade show, attendees and exhibitors alike depart with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility. In the intersection of award shows and trade shows lies a world of untapped potential. If you are doing all these things, congratulations, and if you are not the time is prime to start.


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