Last week I attended the Service Desk and IT Support Show in London, which is co-located with the much bigger and well known event, Infosec (Infosecurity Europe).
I attend these sorts of trade shows fairly often as it's a good way to make new contacts and stay up-to-date on the industry.
They are also a great case study in marketing and design. Every exhibitor faces the same challenge - how do I stand out? In a sea of (mainly blue) logos, big banners and the occasional "Booth Babe," (yes to my horror they're still a thing at IT trade shows, but they are fast becoming obsolete) standing out is easier said than done.
But one stand really did STAND OUT to me in the Infosec hall, and that was Bob's Business.
Bob's Business provides information security training courses. From what I could gather, their pitch is that ultimately all the security software in the world counts for nothing if your staff aren't security-aware. I've read countless studies which cite employee error as being responsible for the vast majority of security breaches to date, so this pitch resonated with me.
So what made Bob's Business stand out? It was their unique brand.
Instead of the generic, clean and friendly designs spread throughout the show, Bob's Business stood out because it's stand was BLACK for starters, but it was also daubed with a fantastic cartoon over every inch of it. The entire stand was a Where's Wally picture, with "Bob" at the top of a castle and his various employees dotted about the picture. Your job was to find all of his employees in order to win a prize. This was genius. It was not only entertaining to do but it meant you were locked to their stand talking to their sales team while you hunted out the employees. A great way to keep the conversation going. This meant there were always people at the stand, which naturally attracted more people to see what all the fuss was about.
I love how Bob's Business have embraced their brand in every aspect. It is holistic and consistent. It starts from the company name and builds out from there. Everything is about Bob's Business (i.e. the customer's business and their perspective). When most businesses talk about themselves before addressing the customer, the very name of Bob's Business IS the customer. The theme is continued throughout their website.
It will be interesting to see what Bob's Business do to top this next year. Even if they stick with the Where's Wally theme, they can produce a new cartoon every year. Finding Bob and his employees can become an annual tradition at Infosec. I'll certainly be seeking them out next year.