Acuity Brands' Virtual Trade Show:  A Review

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On October 7 & 8, Acuity Brands hosted a 2-day virtual trade show that had some pretty slick features. 
It's impossible to replicate the energy and human engagement of a live trade show online, but Acuity Brands' recent event provided attendees with an experience that was much more than simply browsing products and videos on various webpages.

8.5 Cool Features of the Acuity Brands Virtual Trade Show


1. Enabled Easy Browsing 

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We're still not sure if the plants were real or fake, but the visuals were excellent.  Navigation was intuitive, efficient and allowed for detailed-focused attendees to dig in, while also accommodating the attendees who were "just browsing."

Attendees could scroll through the 30+ booths.  Just like a real trade show, the attendee could glance at the booth and see if there's something that catches her eye.  She can choose to engage by entering/clicking the booth or she could keep walking/scrolling to the next booth..


2. Chat with the Presenter After The Webinar


In real life webinars, we can often connect with the presenter afterwards.  Acuity provided that opportunity with a "Meet the Experts" chat room where attendees could follow up personally with the webinar presenter.

Attendees were taken to the GoToMeeting platform to attend webinars. Seminars had excellent content by knowledgeable presenters.  Many of the webinars were slides only.  We wish that more of the seminars showed BOTH the presenter video and the slides, as that drives higher engagement.


3. Let's Mingle

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The booth chat rooms did not replicate impromptu group conversations in the aisles of Lightfair, but Acuity organized 25+ booth chat rooms.  

Arriving visitors were often greeted personally, by name.

Each of the chat rooms were focused on a single brand or technology, so glancing through the info without even chatting, could still be beneficial to some attendees.


4. One-on-One Communication

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The public chat rooms were helpful and informative, but for those seeking to have a non-public conversation with an Acuity Brands person, those options were available:

  • Private 1:1 chat with AYI person.
  • Options to call or email Acuity people allowed for a more in-depth connection.  Most provided their email address and mobile phone number.
  • The booths were staffed by knowledgeable sales, marketing and product management people.


5. Gamification

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Not every attendee gets excited about competing for prizes, but some do.  And Acuity Brands created a gamification feature complete with a leaderboard to help drive certain behaviors of attendees.  Congrats to the winners!


6. Look & Feel of Trade Show

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Attendees quickly realized that this was not going to be just a collection of product images on Power Point slides.

Immediately upon entering, a video greeting featuring three nice men named Neil, Sero and Ricky welcomed attendees to the event as trade show people milled about the atrium lobby.


7.  The Swag Bag

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As attendees visited the various areas of the trade show, they were able to flag certain brochures, spec sheets and even videos as interesting items that they wanted to "take home" with them.  Attendees could drop those items of interest into a "Swag Bag" which acted like a shopping cart of sorts.  No credit card was required to have all of the content of the Swag Bag emailed to each attendee at the end of their trade show experience.


8.  Tech Support

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If a visitor was having challenges navigating the trade show or was not able to find certain information, live people were on hand to chat and assist.


8.5  Investments

With over 35 lighting brands and a huge customer base, Acuity Brands decided that reaching their audience via Virtual Trade Show was one of the many marketing strategies that they would employ during these pandemic times.

  • They invested in a vFAIRS Trade Show platform that was professional, user-friendly, engaging (by web-based trade show standards) and likely expensive.
  • They deployed the employees to drive high-levels of informed engagement.  Individuals from Acuity Brands management, sales, product marketing, etc. were on hand to host virtual trade show visitors.
  • Promotion.  They promoted the virtual trade show for many weeks ahead of time.  Acuity Brands lighting agents were deployed to drive registrations and attendance.


Final Notes:

The real measure of any trade show, real or virtual, is whether or not the show accomplished the commercial objectives.  Some of those objectives may include:

  • Did a large number of high-quality attendees invest time in the trade show?
  • Will the attendees use/purchase/specify the products they experienced during the virtual trade show?
  • Did Acuity advance the missions of the brand?
  • Did Acuity capture leads that it can convert into sales?
  • Did the virtual trade show inspire attendees to view Acuity as a leader on certain topics and/or technologies?


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October 12, 2020