We talked to Tim Murphy, founder of Adex International, about branding experiences, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tim Murphy: Although it has been a challenging year, we have been staying safe and have avoided the virus so far. Being in a business that requires much travel, the foundations built on relationships truly come to the forefront.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Adex International.
Tim Murphy: I am the CEO, President, and co-founder of ADEX International. Founded in 1978, with only (3) employees, including myself, ADEX grew. Our story is one of perseverance and fortitude through the 911 tragedy, the 2008/09 economic downturn, to the Covid Pandemic. I have built a team with a shared vision and passion as we celebrate our over 40-year history and look forward to developing the next generation to accelerate ADEX’s growth even further in the future.
ADEX International specializes in integrated, interactive, and awe-inspiring 3D environments and displays. We strive to provide our clients with an all-in-one solution that drives results to gain a maximum return on investment. We handle ideation, design, manufacturing, and implementation in-house, ensuring the quality of our displays is top-notch and unparalleled.
How does Adex International innovate?
Tim Murphy: We’re helping companies, which typically leverage face-to-face interactions for building relationships, educating, and selling, adapt to a new virtual strategy. ADEX International has created a platform to create custom virtual environments for our diverse client base. Our virtual solutions are scalable and repeatable for different industries, companies, products, and services. Our virtual platform offers the following capabilities:
- The virtual environment can be marketed pre-meeting with the client list and registration list.
- Google analytics, running in the background to track metrics in real-time usage.
- Links to multi-media and downloadable PDFs within the environment
- One-on-one interactions are available via shared video chat.
- End of show reporting for ROI data
While creating new virtual and hybrid environments, we continue to embrace technology and innovative design to maintain our leading-edge products and services and our core business of trade shows, corporate marketing, environments, and museums.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Tim Murphy: Fortunately, ADEX has always been very diversified with business divisions, including trade shows, events, museum exhibits, and branded environments. Although trade shows have dropped off since March, our other business divisions have maintained or even increased.
With employees out of the office, many of our clients have shifted to use their untouched budget to revamp their corporate facilities. We have provided signage and graphic treatments for clients such as Procter & Gamble, FIS, Wyoming High School, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, People Working Cooperatively, Cook Medical, The Ronald McDonald House, Care Source, Life Center, GE Aviation, Newport On The Levee, and more.
ADEX has also assisted with our clients’ increased need for PPE equipment such as transparent dividers, hand sanitizer stands, and social distancing graphics. Unlike most suppliers, ADEX is able to provide custom PPE options as well as add client branding.
ADEX has been successful for over 40 years and has leveraged our retained earnings to reinvest into our company’s resources. We have established a strong relationship with many customers who are deemed ‘essential’, like Cook Medical, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Care Source, FIS, Oracle, P&G, Whirlpool, and GE. These key relationships resulted in ADEX being considered essential, allowing us to remain open throughout this horrible pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Tim Murphy: Since March of 2020, trade shows across the country have almost entirely canceled or shifted to a virtual event. As a result, many of our employees that work solely within our trade show division have been furloughed. This has been one of the hardest decisions to ever impact the ADEX family, realizing our average tenure of employees is over 20 years of dedicated service. After projecting 2020 as one of our best years ever, you can never be prepared to handle such a huge setback. The strength, commitment, and passion so many of our employees have that has been displayed through these times is truly admirable and appreciated.
As 2021 planning has begun to pick up, we have been able to gradually start bringing our employees back. These difficult decisions have certainly reinforced that our company’s largest and ‘essential’ asset is our employees. We cannot wait to bring back our team!
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Tim Murphy: Because we work with clients across the country and internationally, our customer relationship management has not changed drastically. We are continuing to use multiple platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx to communicate with our clients. We have also invested in stronger communication and updates via Hubspot, increasing both our internal and external touchpoints and measurements.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Tim Murphy: Yes, we were fortunate to receive a small business loan (PPP) in order to stabilize during the worst initial onset of the pandemic, and this fortunately allowed us to keep many of our key employees on staff as we look to the future economic comeback
Your final thoughts?
Tim Murphy: We have learned a lot this past year and are looking forward to returning to tradeshows with broadened capabilities. Nothing will replace face-to-face marketing, and when challenges are presented, attack as if they are opportunities. Continue to be flexible, and the relationships you build will make you a formidable survivor for a long time.
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