All Brands on Deck

Freeman’s cards help clients see, feel, taste strategy

A royal flush of brand sensationsPick a card, any card. That’s what Freeman employees will be asking their exhibition clients to do when they undergo the newly minted Brand Sensory Exploration process, which the Dallas-based exhibition services company has devised to gain deeper insight into clients’ marketing strategies and to produce more effective exhibits.

For each of the five senses, Freeman has a stack of 10 cards, each displaying a different photo or concept. (“Sight” cards, for instance, offer images such as candles or Daffy Duck; “touch” cards depict items such as flannel or coal.) Clients select pictures that most closely align with their vision of their own company’s brand, which gives Freeman representatives a starting point in designing the exhibit booth.

“It’s definitely an ‘Aha!’ moment,” says Jeffrey Cameron, Freeman’s vice president of design and creative. “As much as we walk away with a greater understanding of the client, they gain some insight into what they’re doing.”

While not new, the concept of branding is hotter than ever in the trade show industry. Los Angeles-based GES Exhibition Services recently acquired Ethnometrics, a company that studies face-to-face marketing environments to help clients analyze their exhibits. Other firms, like the Kansas City, Mo.-based George Fern Co., hold that clients should brand every communication with their customers, says Shirley Soltis, a vice president at Fern.