Report from the Field: Trends at NACS

After walking the floor of the NACS show, I noticed a number of trends that seem to be becoming the norm at trade shows.

NACS is the National Association of Convenience Stores and on the 50th anniversary of the association, the largest show produced by the association opened in Chicago’s McCormick place yesterday.  The show continues through Tuesday.

More fabric, lighter materials, large graphics and lighting dominate the structures.  Use of video, careful distribution of giveaways and food and smaller staffs are features of the presentation within the booths.

At the same time, the iconic brands are still noticeable and playing up their status.  Those companies who use a person or character were using them to their full advantage. Samuel Adams, the M& Ms, Chester Chicken were there in force. The Coke swoosh and Kelloggs colors were also on full display.

Considering what they were having to compete with, the services and technology suppliers did things that helped them be noticed around the food and drink.  Since the tone of the show was a bit more serious, the more serious suppliers were noticed more than usual and seemed to be successful.

We’ll cover more and specific examples in subsequent posts.  For now, be assured that NACS 2011 went down as larger and more successful than previous editions and showing off some fresh thinking in the process.


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