ICSC New York 2022 Review
Who dazzled at ICSC New York 2022 and what can you learn from them? Our review of exhibitors includes: Phillips Edison & Company, Kimco Realty, AlphaMap, CBRE, Spinoso Real Estate Group, Colliers, & more.
84% of trade event attendees report a more positive view of a brand after interacting with them at an event (EMI & Mosaic, 2016). Many exhibitors view events as little more than a chance to flaunt their budgets and hopefully close a few deals. But event marketing can actually be a powerful, even crucial, component of your brand building – and at this event we got the perfect opportunity to break down how with examples.
Most ICSC New York reviews will be a bunch of stats, trends, and hoity-toity talking points about next year’s market. Meh. We’ve read enough of those to last us until the recession after next. We’re gonna be way more fun – and dish about who absolutely killed it at ICSC. And in the process, we’ll be sharing insights (and a bit of inspiration) about how to put the power of trade event marketing to work for you.
We diligently moved from booth to booth in New York, soaking in every detail we possibly could, but alas, it’s impossible to cover it all – so we apologize for the inevitable things we missed.
Our leaderboard of companies who killed it:
The Winner: AlphaMap
Our full list of companies who killed it:
The Show Stopper (literally!): AlphaMap We’re beginning with the clear winner in terms of the impression made, and if you were at the tradeshow you already know who it is: AlphaMap. The turnout at their booth was so large at times that it literally stopped the show. As we walked towards AlphaMap’s booth for their second raffle giveaway, it seemed like all other booths were deserted and all activity ceased – everyone was at AlphaMap:
AlphaMap’s very first exhibition was just 1 year ago – a blink of an eye compared to the industry veterans – making their showing even more impressive. Many of you may already know about AlphaMap given their growing reputation in CRE as a technology powerhouse, but it is by far the youngest firm on this list, and therefore it may still be new to many readers.
We tried out their tech, and it lives up to the hype. Everything from their “Tenant Finder”, “Reports/Map Builder”, and even their soon-to-be-launched Mobile App were not only better in terms of power than any other tools we’ve seen, but also extremely easy to use. The thoughtfulness of their tradeshow booth seems to be a small reflection of their approach toward their product (a massive compliment!).
At ICSC, AlphaMap was everywhere – buses, floors, doors, lanyards…you name it – and their booth experience was delightfully creative, featuring an 8-prize raffle giveaway (including 2 cars!), a huge custom-designed monopoly-like game board, a monopoly-man mascot, beautiful collateral, and to continue with their monopoly theme they had a fun (and quite savvy I might add) way of getting visitors to engage with their technology and provide feedback through monopoly “chance” cards and raffle-incentivized surveys.
Marketing Insight: A lovable team & culture
Given the creativity they displayed via their booth, and also some of the best tech products we’ve laid hands on, there are plenty of insights to glean. But surprisingly, there was something else that caught our attention; an aspect of marketing that’s rarely discussed and which AlphaMap demonstrated so well: Team & Culture.
AlphaMap has been building a reputation not only for their advanced yet easy tech but also their honest, genuine, trust-inducing vibe. This was on full display at their booth with practically every member of their team exuding a smiley, warm nature – traits that their founders later told us (unprompted) they actively hire for.
This is incredibly refreshing, and contrasts with other CRE technology firms which often fall on the other side of the “joy-to-work-with spectrum”. And in a pool of competition where the typical firm is less-than-delightful, the juxtaposition created by a contrasting experience can be extremely impactful.
Team & culture doesn’t get much attention in marketing, but at the end of the day, it’s your human team members who are actually interfacing with prospects and customers, and every single interaction affects the overall brand image and compounds quickly over time.
The reputation built by those interactions over time can be a tremendous asset or a nightmarish liability. With AlphaMap, it’s clearly the former. With everything we’ve seen so far with AlphaMap, we’re willing to bet that this company will be affecting the industry in a very big way. Be on the lookout for them.
Our other favorites that killed it at ICSC NY 2022
Phillips Edison & Company PECO demonstrated amazing use of a stand and linking it to their grocery-centered theme, by creating an artfully crafted wall installation, using fruit and veg to spell out their name on a background of lettuce, making the colors really pop. Their consistent use of brand CI was brought into the couches, chairs, and lights above the coffee station with different shades of orange and blue.
The grocery-anchored giant did this in Vegas too, but every time we see it it really catches the eye and makes you think, ‘I wonder if that fruit is edible?’, we’ll definitely ask next time. Their lounge area also looked really warm and inviting, which can be a hard thing to pull off at an event like this.
They also made good use of standing out by using height in their stand build, with a beautifully crafted wooden structure that illuminated their name across the hall.
Marketing insight: Play on the nature of your business in creative ways at events, it will help event attendees understand more quickly what you can do for them when trying to close and make deals, instead of them having to wonder if they need to speak to you.
Kimco Realty Kimco also pulled out all the stops in New York with maybe one of the most unique backdrops we’ve seen in a long time. Their ‘greenery wall’ and neon sign caught a lot of attention, and as they pointed out on their Instagram account, the perfect backdrop for posting and on the ‘gram & making deals!’. We couldn’t agree more!
With people wanting to document their lives through social channels, a wall like that would be hard to ignore and inviting their audience to interact with their stand was a master stroke.
Marketing insight: Creating something unique that can be used for more than just decoration, in this case driving increased brand awareness on social media, is a great way to generate talkability and for your sales reps to break the ice.
Spinoso Real Estate Spinoso had some of the coolest graphics we saw this year on the walls surrounding their stand, as well as having large screens playing different graphics, making their branding extremely prominent as you walked in.
If they had used those designs in an Instagrammable moving digital wall, we probably would’ve lost our minds!
Marketing insight: Good design will go a very long way at an event. Your brand CI needs to be represented in your stand and if you are able to add design elements that are different to what you normally see at trade shows, use them for the ‘wow factor’. If you can make them move, even better!
CBRE CBRE was front and center with their trademark forest greens and clean wood finishes, always elegant and tasteful, which is how they’ve built their brand. That consistency came through at this event. Though slightly more reserved in stand construction from Vegas earlier in 2022, we did see a stand out tall pillar with some smart copy that lorded over their standard sea of tables and chairs.
Marketing insight: Anything with height at an event enables you to be more visible from more places, tending to generate a lot more brand awareness If you’re able to add some smart ad copy then even better.
Colliers Colliers, not to be outdone, got nice and creative with one of their wall panels, which brought in their trademark blue but made it semi-transparent with a really cool recreation of the world map in blue and yellow dots, with the yellow dots being what we can only assume are their offices around the world. Very nicely done!
Marketing insight: Getting creative with the structure of your booth by making people puzzle something out is a great way to stand out and get people to stop by.
Also killed it at ICSC NY 2022 (honorable mentions)
At the end, what we saw from the smaller of the BIG ICSC events of the year was a lot of creativity from several firms, really pushing their stands to new heights, with beautiful displays of nature and bringing in that organic element into a very un-natural environment, which worked and is something we hope to see more of at future events.
Our overall winner of ICSC though, from a marketing & product perspective, was AlphaMap and their guns blazing approach to bringing cutting edge tech to CRE. (Raffling away two classic American muscle cars will definitely help!)
Until the next ICSC in Vegas, which we’ll be covering again and in our weekly CRE marketing podcast,
See you soon!