The International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics 16th World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, was a fantastic conference, from the art convention to the speakers from around the world.
Everyone who attended presented and exhibited had to wear a nametag. It was large with heavy-duty plastic and a stable, double-attachment lanyard. It was the crème de la crème of nametags.
After the conference attendees headed to the Botlierskop Private Game Reserve to spend time with four of the “big five” animals. There were giraffes, elephants, lions, rhino, hippos, zebras, impala and springbok. Every person had a nametag. It displayed their first name only and the tag line, “Here to Serve” under the name. From a marketing perspective, Botlierskop won the nametag game, hands down.
‘Here to serve’
A nametag is a marketing and communication tool that provides critical information. The information is — or should be — dependent on the purpose of the event and the nametag viewer, which brings us back to Botlierskop.
Our guide for the entire stay was named Austin. He coordinated our activities, from game drives to spa appointments to horseback riding to guided walks. While we interacted primarily with Austin, we also interacted with other staff, all of whom were wearing nametags with their first name only and “Here to Serve.”
That was everything we needed to know. First name only, since we did not need to know their last names, and “Here to Serve” should tell you everything you need to know about Botlierskop’s commitment to customer service. Everything you needed and anything you could think of — all you had to do was ask.
Get to know your peers
Back to Cape Town and the convention. The International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) has 77 member nation societies and attendees from more than 100 countries. As the U.S. ISPO chairperson, I attended the International Committee Meeting the day before the conference started. In 2015, I attended the International Committee Meeting in Lyon, France as vice chair of U.S. ISPO, so I had an idea of what to expect.
It is an exhilarating experience to be a representative of a member society in a room full of other society representatives. I sat with ISPO Turkey, ISPO Philippines and ISPO Indonesia. ISPO Syria, ISPO Pakistan, ISPO Poland and ISPO Slovenia were there, as were other ISPO societies.
Unfortunately, I only knew most of them as just that — ISPO and the name of their country. Our nametags consisted of a peel-and-stick tag with our ISPO country and flag. Not having a name was disappointing, especially because we were there to meet and network with fellow representatives.
When the conference started the next day, I checked out the exhibit hall, which had more than 100 exhibitors and was busy from the time it opened until the time it closed every day.
I enjoyed seeing people from all over the world — some in traditional garb — mingling at the different booths. Attendees had their names on their badges, but did not have more information that would have been helpful to the viewer. Exhibitors just had the name of their company printed on the badge.
Use your nametag as a tool
From a marketing point of view, not maximizing the real estate on the nametag is a lost opportunity. What was most interesting to me were the exhibitors who came prepared with their own nametags. Yes, they wore the official badge, but they also had a pin-style name badge with their full name and company printed at eye level. Kudos to them.
What about you? Does your company require or encourage you to wear a nametag? Does it have your motto or tag line? Does the viewer get all the information needed to make their experience all it can be? I would love to know.
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- Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions and the Vice President of Clinical Education Concepts. She can be reached at email@example.com.