The Royal Highland Show 2018 - our launch platform
Early on, we decided to attend the Royal Highland Show 2018 (RHS) and use that event as our company’s soft launch platform.
We didn’t want a big fuss or to announce the launch through a press release: rather, we wanted to let our beautiful slate products speak for themselves and gather as much feedback as we possibly could to guide our next phase of product development.
The path to the RHS, which was to be held in June, was rather challenging and the timescales were extremely tight. Up to this point, we had exclusively focused on product design and production, so the only thing that existed of art futuro was the company name, its brand logo, and the products we wanted to showcase. Nothing else.
One of the first things we worked on was the exhibition design. We wanted a good-looking stand with excellent product pictures, product postcards that potential customers could take with them and high-quality business cards. All of this would have to align well with our brand and company ethos.
Next was the company website with an online shop. Even though timescales were very tight, with a few long nights we managed to get everything ready for the show. The anticipation was huge, and a little apprehension was there, too. We had never exhibited at a show like the RHS and had no experience. How would the event go?
When we set up our stand on Wednesday the 20th of June 2018, things went surprisingly smoothly. Once finished, we were happy with how the stand looked like. The previous weeks of tight planning had paid off. The other factor that helped was the weather: we had sunny blue sky, but typical for Scotland, it was very windy.
Things kicked-off on Thursday morning. We quickly realised that folk didn’t quite understand what we were selling. They didn’t realise that these were lamps. Our product names were very creative but didn’t help with clarifying to potential customer what this “thing” was supposed to be.
Further, the weather was so sunny that when we lit up our Slate Lamps and Slate Cubes, the daylight was far too bright to make it clearly visible. This was a big problem! Times like these are when newbies like ourselves needed a little help from the other experienced traders, and we were really touched by how willing the others around us were to provide us with support, help and practical advice.
Over the next two days, we changed the way we displayed the products on the tables, added a clearer sign to identify the products better and made much better use of the night-time pictures we brought along. Things were clearly improving, but still, we had to explain things more than we should have. We needed further improvements.
On Friday night, we prepared a large cardboard box which we lined with nice fabric that was going to provide a good level of shade and would allow customers to see the lamp in action, and see our products’ amazing glow.
This new setup was far from perfect, but it improved things dramatically. Our slate designs really sell themselves in a dark setting, and we were now able to show that much more effectively. From then on, sales improved and the interest in our products was even better.
One thing that we were thrilled about is how our products were perceived by the public. We heard words or descriptions like these dozens of times:
- “This is so new and different"
- "I have never seen anything like this before”
- “These products are really unique”
- “Such unusual products”
- “Those lamps and cubes look gorgeous”
- “This is so different from the other show products that tend to be the same every year”
- “Stunning, beautiful, impressive, neat, clever and smashing”
By Sunday night, we were exhausted but buzzing. It was obvious that our products were received extremely well, which was a huge relief. All those hundreds of hours were worthwhile.
Was attending the rather expensive event worthwhile? Absolutely. The show was like a product market research exercise on steroids. In the short space of four days, we handed out hundreds of leaflets and business cards and spoke to literally hundreds of people. For a new company with completely new products it was the perfect platform to get such condensed and rich feedback which we will now use to shape and mould our product pipeline.
#RHS2018 #launchevent #artfuturo
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