Category Archives: Experiential Marketing

A colleague asked recently: Taking Photos of exhibits on the show floor…ethical or not?

This has been a long term discussion in the exhibit industry. But I think the question is really slightly different.

Let me put this out there. A  graphic designer I know has a literal photographic memory. She retains 100% accuracy of anything she chooses to recall. So, if she walks onto the show floor and looks at your booth, is her accurate retention of that image unethical?

I think not.

So perhaps, capturing a photograph of the display is not unethical.

The ethical question is in what you do next.

An old professor of mine once said “Using one person’s idea is plagiarism, using 20 is research.”

If you duplicate something for personal gain, that is unethical. See: Chinese Manufacturing in the dictionary.

If you use the concept/design/execution as a starting point for your own journey, I believe there is some grey area as to how far you need be from the original to have created an individual element.

If you, like my company, encourage all your employees to develop a visual vocabulary, and as part of that to photograph things that affect them – a great sign, a great building, a lovely architectural element, a striking exhibit – then you are creating an encyclopedia.

And if you proceed from that with integrity, then you look into the encyclopedia for ideas, executions, details that you can employ in your personal execution of a design.

Chime in – What’s your perspective? Who are you – designer, exhibitor, marketer, manager?



Can a Distribution Place (Store?) be a marketing platform?

Today, I was asked “How can a ‘distribution place’ (i.e. The Store) best be used as effective marketing communication tool? ”

This is a really interesting question. What if I proposed that it cannot?

Image 4 commissioned research a few years ago from a major retail research firm. We learned that the consumer viewed the function of shopping as 2 completely different things.

One shopping interaction was all about “distribution” where the value was in lowest price, ease of entry/shopping/exit and appropriate selection. We call this the WalMart approach – a really big distribution box with a lot of stuff, with low prices, in every neighborhood, with easy parking. There is a value here, but it is neither marketing value nor experiential value.

The other shopping interaction was all about “experience” where the value was in the quality of the merchandise, the store experience, the ability to shop with friends and relatives, investing time in the non-commodity experience. Cost of merchandise is rarely a factor, but display quality, and affinity to the brand values is a major factor attracting the shopper.

By definition, this is a marketing platform for the brand’s values. In fact, we see it as critical that the brand create affinity with the shopper within this environment – the 3D selling space.

This is the basis for our re-thinking of the retail design process, all the way from brand positioning to site selection to store layout, to merchandising, to signage – an integrated environmental approach specifically focused to communicate brand values.

The retailers who are succeeding today have accomplished this. Those who have not – particularly WalMart – are enjoying lower or flat same store comps, customer abandonment, and ultimately must clarify with the consumer their brand value.

Image 4 exists to align a brand’s value and project, even embed, it within the store environment. And today, a store means a shopping location – from a tent at an event to a popup shop in SoHo or LaBrea, to a retail mall.

We’re rolling (and racing) today!

The entire team at Image 4 is proud of this one – our first race car conceived  as an Artistic Car!

Does art on a car make the car art? Or is the car art to be enhanced? You be the judge.

Image 4 was asked to conceive, design and produce this exciting, dynamic design for the BMW. This historic, former Turner Motorsports E30M3 race car, is owned by Mig A. Rios.

Mig’s insight, and fearlessness, allowed our designer Amanda Christensen to pursue her artistic muse. Perhaps Mig is so fearless because he, too, is a consummate artist, living his “day job” as founder and Principal of Veloz Media.

The project took about 3 weeks to design. Mig shared his vision and tastes, and Amanda took off from there. The design plays upon the energy and physics involved in race car driving, hinting at the explosion of force radiating from the front driver’s wheel.

After several design refinements, the final art files were created, and our internal graphic production department took over. The design was printed on our Roland Eco-solvent printer using 3M vehicle decal material. The panels were matched, some refinements made in how the graphics were to apply to the vehicle, and our installers fitted it to the BMW in a 2-day blow out in our production facility.

Wrapping any vehicle has its challenges. This one proved a bit more difficult than most. The air deflectors and wings on the car had to be matched into the theme, and the car has many small details that require careful attention. Plus, we all knew how much publicity this car would receive!

The car debuted at the BMW Autumn festival at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on October 21.Thanks to GermanAutoNews, the car already had a following – a teaser had gone out about the project. Crowds were on hand to watch the unveiling.

This BMW is no Trailer Queen! Mig drove the car to Triple first-place finishes in class at the weekend’s races!

Future trips include Sebring and the Daytona Rolex24, where Image 4 will be developing a display pavilion experience.

Be on the lookout and Experience. Space (design).

The LITE trade show exhibit system is so easy, we’re bringing it to you!

Image 4, New England’s premiere custom portable exhibit designer, will be in Burlington, MA August to demonstrate this brand new trade show display system. Let us know which day will work best for you to be able to come learn more about LITE, August 11th, or August 12th?

Learn more about LITE:​thing/

NewGround – Lebanon, TN: Bank Interior Project

These photos show part of a large bank interior project that we produced and installed in Lebanon, TN.  The merchandising design was fun, exciting, and unique and our production team was up to the challenge!!  One of my favorite parts was the hanging circular banner.  The lightweight aluminum frame was quick and easy to install with impactful and changeable graphics; adding both a design element and a messaging vehicle.  Another interesting element was the soffit treatment!  We used a combination of custom printed wallpapers as well as custom cut and printed layered acrylic that stands out from the wall.  Check out the photos!

- Cara Conti, Project Coordinator

Kalypso Booth – E3 Show

Here’s a sneak peak of the 20×30 Kalypso display that will be traveling across the country to LA, California for it’s debut at the Largest Gaming Expo, E3. 

- Emily King, Project Manager

The Piece I Loved Most This Month – MAY ’11

Stonyfield Hybrid Truck

This was a great fun project, involving our new graphic design employee, Amanda, and our Stonyfield management team of Emily and myself.

The truck is hybrid powered, and as such will reduce some carbon footprint. Both Stonyfield and Image 4 have carbon-reduction initiatives, and we’re really proud to support Stonyfield, and love that they walk the talk when it comes to environmental sustainability.

- Jennifer Brooks, Account Manager

How to Improve your Visitor’s Pop-up Experience

I read today in the Wall Street Journal here that even “the rich” have changed their buying habits. They are seeking items that are one-of-a-kind or very short run, they are willing to spend more on a high-value experience than on an expensive material good.

Sounds like a recipe for a pop-up retail experience!

A great popup is retail+event. You create rarity and combine it with surprise! And if you’re doing a good job at it, you create the physical presence that allows the buyer to immerse himself/herself in your brand – not only the logo, but the brand values.

Get those same consumers to engage in a social referral – Facebook, tweets, etc – and you’ve got every element of the non-commodity sales event.

So, based on numerous projects we’ve executed, here’s what to focus on:

Communicate and demonstrate value. Deliver the experience, deliver the product that compels customers to tell friends. Look for an emotion: mystery, delight, surprise, astonishment, value. Embed that emotion deeply in your design.

Give them (and you) the Long Tail. Engineer an opportunity for consumers to friend your FB page, enter on your blog, Tweet to their friends what they are doing, and where.

Deliver the Experience.  Hire great staff, hire enough staff, develop a brand environment that speaks to the consumer in his and her language. Be OPEN when the consumer visits!

Create Immersive Space. Think about and design the store layout with the intent of moving customers through the space to the outcome you desire. Stage-manage the consumer at every touch point. If you can’t, hire a designer who can.

Beauty or the Beast? Work the little things – clean entrances, beautiful graphics, delightful merchandise staging, clean restrooms if you have them, effective cashwraps, credit card swipes or mobile cash registers. Make the physical and mental experience delightful.

For help with any or all these things, call us at 603-644-007, or visit with us at Event Marketing Summit in Chicago May 16-19.

Image 4 works with brands and agencies to execute space for their end-users that resonates on all these notes.