For the past three decades, the question of whether experience in a specific industry is a prerequisite for success has haunted professionals across various fields. In the exhibition industry, this query arises time and time again, often becoming a decisive factor in tender processes. However, it's high time we challenge this conventional wisdom. As an industry expert with extensive experience in the exhibition realm, I firmly believe that expertise in our own craft, rather than deep knowledge of client industries, is the key to creating truly exceptional and impactful exhibits. In this article, we'll explore the value of specialisation, the advantages of thinking outside the box, and why direct client industry experience should never be a deal breaker.
Focusing on What Matters: Let's address the first question many exhibitors ask when engaging with us: "Do you work in our industry?" While it's understandable to seek reassurance, I'm inclined to question whether a metallurgical background is truly essential for creating an outstanding exhibit at an air show. After all, our expertise lies in the art of exhibition design and execution, not in the intricate details of every industry we serve. By concentrating on our core skills, such as traffic flow management, pre-event marketing campaigns, and ROI assessment, we can maximise our effectiveness and deliver exceptional results.
The Power of Fresh Perspectives: Conversely, let's consider the scenario where a specialist from a different industry attempts to design an exhibit. While they may lack direct industry experience, this fresh perspective can be a tremendous asset. Unburdened by the constraints of industry norms, these professionals bring a creative flair and innovative thinking to the table. Just as Steve Jobs revolutionised multiple industries by challenging existing rules, embracing new thought processes and fresh solutions can yield remarkable outcomes. By dismissing the "no client industry experience" mindset, we open ourselves to a wealth of untapped potential and the ability to break through the mundane.
Harnessing Relevant Expertise: While client industry experience shouldn't be a deal breaker, there are undoubtedly specific areas where familiarity can provide a clear advantage. Take, for example, the importance of location in exhibition planning. If a client's industry exhibition program traverses the globe, it becomes crucial for an exhibition agency to have experience in the countries visited. In my case, having operated in diverse locations worldwide, from the vibrant Far East to the intricate nuances of the United States, my expertise proves invaluable in managing exhibitions across different cultures and contexts. In such instances, industry-specific knowledge, coupled with exhibition prowess, becomes a winning combination.
Conclusion: Challenge the Status Quo, Embrace Your Expertise! In an industry where familiarity with client industries often dictates success, it's time to push back against the notion that direct experience is an absolute necessity. By emphasising the value of specialisation, fresh perspectives, and leveraging relevant expertise, we can revolutionise the way we approach exhibitions. Let us not be deterred by questions about industry-specific knowledge but instead highlight the strengths we bring to the table as experts in our craft. By doing so, we open ourselves up to endless possibilities, unshackled by predefined rules and paving the way for truly extraordinary exhibits. So, the next time someone questions your lack of client industry experience, stand tall, stress your ability to think differently, and stick it to the man!