We’ve taken it to the streets and our first stop on the “All West Anniversary Tour” was World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA. This was our first, big … showing… of the celebration. Of course, we’ve been posting some of our fireside chat interviews online, and we had a very active anniversary booth at the Red Bluff Bull Sale two weeks before. But this was the first…big (20 foot) live…showing! And it was absolutely great!
For those that have put together a trade show in the past, you know that the one element of success that needs to happen with your booth is “freshness.” You can’t really have the same display, year after year, and expect people to stop by. They want to know that after all the dusty acres of walking, and fighting the crowds of city school visitors, that your booth will have something NEW!
Last year at World Ag Expo, we stepped out into a new realm of themes for the booth – a single item. So in 2015, it was pretty easy to zoom in on CowManager, as the revolutionary eartag system had just been introduced at World Dairy Expo. This year, we focused on the anniversary – making huge picture collages of directors, delegates, historical pictures and current employees. It was an easy enough image to conjure up in our minds, but to entrust that sense of “this is a big deal kindof booth” to a company that doesn’t do the “cow thing” … well that made us a little nervous.
But, on Monday, we loaded up the company vehicle with flyers and catalogs, pens and notepads, keychains, extension cords, Velcro, duct tape…is there something around we can put door prize entry forms in?…, trade show registration information, name badges, food tickets…and the unopened booth boxes. That’s right – we didn’t open them up. The company we worked with sent photos of the booth assembled and it looked stunning. Taking a leap of faith, and a full tank of gas, I headed south to Tulare to meet up with master assembling crew Greg Silva, Angie Kennedy and Cris Hatch. Flooring mats were installed, carpet was laid down & taped…and then came the big reveal! The booth went up – the pictures went on – and we were thrilled!
It’s a long week. Most exhibitors experience some sort of cow crampiness from standing on cement for three days. But we were thrilled anyway. Not just because the booth graphics looked good, but because of what we got to share with everyone who stopped by. 75 years of history. 75 years of pictures. 75 years of this little A.I. company chugging along to provide member/owners a great set of bulls and programs. And the stories we heard were exactly what we hoped for. People tried to find their pictures in the collages, or find people they knew. And that always started a conversation of “Remember when…”
My favorite part? Watching grandchildren walk up to the wall and point at their grandfather’s picture with this great look of amazement. That made the worry, the dust, the late nights, the planning….it made everything worth it.
(blog posts will appear on the website from several members of the All West family including Communications Manager Karen Knutsen and All West Marketing Intern Bailie Welton)