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Atlanta Magician – Mentalist – Speaker Joe M. Turner | News and Comments from the Chief Impossibility Officer

Posts Tagged ‘trade show’

2013 Kickoff!

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on January 17, 2013

The new year is underway! The decorations are put away, last quarter’s estimated taxes have been sent in, and most of us are settling into our routines after the busy holiday season. I was blessed to have a successful December with many engagements leading right up to Christmas. My family and I had something of a Christmas odyssey: we traveled to see grandparents in Eads, TN, then down to the other grandparents in my hometown of Brandon, MS, then to see our bowl game in Jacksonville, FL, then back home. Then I left a day later for Phoenix! Whew!

The Phoenix trip was for an International Brotherhood of Magicians Convention Committee planning meeting, and it also included attending the midyear board meeting for the IBM Executive Committee. Next summer, magicians from all over the world will gather in Phoenix for our annual convention and it is shaping up to be spectacular. I consider it an honor to be involved in putting that event together, and look forward to many more years of service in the IBM.

After returning to Atlanta, it was only a couple of days before I began an intense trade show performance at the International Gift Show at Atlanta’s AmericasMart.

This was an unusual show for a number of reasons. First, the product, “Dr. Pott’s Proven Potty Potion” from PooPourri, was an unusual brand to promote. Second, the company needed multiple performers as they were exhibiting in two locations simultaneously. (Fortunately I also work as an agent and have skilled, personable friends to bring in when necessary!) Lastly, this promotion was to be done in character as Dr. Pott, including a costume! Take a look at this:

Dr. Pott attracts another great crowd at the International Gift Show.

Dr. Pott attracts another great crowd at the International Gift Show.

The show was a great success, drawing in hundreds of attendees to the booths who otherwise would have walked on by. As an actor, I really embraced the character and found it invigorating to stretch some of the acting muscles in a different way. The two locations were extremely different in feel: the showroom location was more like performing in a department store, while the temporary booth location was more like a traditional trade show.

So, the year is off to a busy start. I already have speaking engagements and performances booked into September, with inquiries already coming in for December!

What can you expect to see here in the coming months? Here are a few things to watch for:

  • A new look for my website,
  • Continued work on my book, 5 Kinds of Amazing, which is going to expand into a system for creating amazing experiences for your own audiences or clients
  • A follow-up book to High JOEltage! which was released last year. This will become a series of short books following the theme of being amazingly effective in your personal and professional interactions
  • A few surprises I can’t yet divulge!

You can also expect to see continued blogging and updates, though the blog location may transition depending on the new website’s needs. Stay tuned!

As we get the new year rolling, I am actively seeking your help in finding:

  1. Speaking opportunities at conventions and conferences anywhere in the world
  2. Opportunities to take my one-man show to small theatres and performing arts venues
  3. Opportunities to expand my performances at other trade shows across America – using live magic to engage attendees around a product, service, or brand

Please think about the people you know in decision-making positions – and let’s talk about the best way for you to introduce us!

As always, thank you to all my friends and clients and colleagues – this amazing adventure wouldn’t be possible without your continued support and referrals!

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Branding, Buzz, and Team Communication

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on November 5, 2010

How Magic Works In Corporate Settings
Part Five: Branding, Buzz, and Team Communication

One of my recent clients brought an interesting magic communication project for me to address with Message-Driven Entertainment: a launch of a new brand, but with an important twist.

Atlanta magician, mentalist and speaker Joe M. Turner delivers a magic-infused brand launch presentation.

Now I’ve been part of other promotional events and launch events before, but they were usually targeted to clients and/or consumers. Advertising and marketing campaigns, trade show exhibits – this is standard fare for the magic-enhanced edutainment presenter.

This client’s event, however, was targeted to an internal audience of employees, including developers, sales reps, marketing folks, and others.  The new brand identity – specifically, new logos and a new tagline – was being rolled out and these people would be the first to see the final results.

Internal and External Audiences

In a standard launch for consumers, there are some obvious advantages (as well as some risks, which Gap recently learned).  First, the external consumer audience is often a clean slate.  They have no idea that a new launch is coming, and largely have no skin in the game with regard to one design over another.  Furthermore, they are probably unaware of the leadership dynamics within the company, or any competing factions.  In the absence of a truly loved brand – and let’s face it, most brands are not truly loved – the details of the process behind the change are usually trivial to all but the most dedicated fans.  You can sell the new brand (the product) on its merits.

In an internal launch, much of that goes out the window.  Employees are not a clean slate – they know what happened, where, to whom, when, how hard, and for what reason.  They have relationships with other employees and leaders up and down the org chart, and if there are tensions, they know about it.  Everyone knows all the marketing messages, but they also know if there are any caveats or “yes, but” qualifiers behind those messages.  In this case, you still have to sell the new brand on its merits – but you also have to achieve some buy-in for the change.

Selling the Process

My approach for this event was to sell not just the product, but the process.  This client had taken the smart route, with numerous surveys and checkpoints with employees, customers, and other external sources.  This process had been fairly lengthy, though, spanning many months.  Employees had not all been privy to drafts along the way; they would be seeing the final result a long time after their contribution to the process had taken place.

In addition to simply unveiling the new look, I knew it was important to reemphasize for the employees that they had been a key part of the process, and even if the new look wasn’t precisely their cup of tea, they needed to be reassured that the end result had been reached with their contributions as an important component.

The opening of my program was a review of the process, reminding the audience from the very beginning that they had been part of the process.  This part of the program included terms like “How many of you remember…” and “As you recall…” and “Way back in April.”  The process was explained until all the pieces of the process visually and magically melded into a large print of the new brand.  It was not a sermon, just a quick reminder of the process.

Atlanta magician and mentalist Joe M. Turner at a branding event

Atlanta magician and mentalist Joe M. Turner uses an interactive illusion to emphasize a critical point at a recent branding launch in Atlanta.

Where To Now?

Once the new look was out in front of everyone, the rest of the program focused on helping everyone understand what the messages behind the logo were, as related to key benefits to the different customer groups.

I used customized visual and psychological illusions to reinforce the specific benefits that the client’s marketing team wanted to emphasize.  In the case of this product, those key benefits were saving time, saving money, and saving hassles by using a tool designed to facilitate regulatory compliance.

  • In the case of saving time, I presented a magical effect developed by Alex Elmsley that concludes with a “traveling back in time” moment.  By saving customers time, we are metaphorically giving them the ability to “go back  in time” and reclaim what would have been additional minutes spent on each transaction.

  • To emphasize saving money, I turned to a classic comedy routine in which a borrowed hundred dollar bill is burned and eventually restored.  Messages to customers: don’t burn your money on inferior products, time saved is money saved, and our product’s streamlined efficiency is reflected in our new brand.

  • Finally, the complexities of regulatory compliance were represented as a snare that entangles people and organizations, often simply by accident, due to the complexities and details of the law and regulations surrounding their industry. The client’s product enables customers to complete all the processes and stay compliant.  To illustrate, my wrists were bound with rope by two of the team members, and I escaped from the bonds with a comic flair.

The end result? The client had an engaged, attentive team who not only understood their contributions to the new brand, but who were fully equipped to discuss the key benefits with their customers. That’s a great place to be, but the bonus is that we all had a great time getting there.

Here’s how my clients put it:

“We are so lucky that we found Joe Turner! We wanted to give a creative twist to the re-launch of our new brand identity for our employees and we got so much more! Joe worked with us and did his homework to help us communicate our new brand and key messages in a very creative and memorable way. The employees loved it and will remember this event for a long time. We will definitely look for ways to work with Joe again.”
— Director of Marketing

“Joe is perfect for corporate events! Entertaining, smart, creative; all those things for sure. But most of all, we loved how adaptable and creative Joe was in tailoring his ‘show’ to fit with our marketing message! Excellent fit. We’ve had other ideas on how to use his talents and hope to do so in the future.”
— Senior VP and General Manager

Message-Driven Entertainment

The underlying point of the story is this: professional entertainment can enhance messaging, but it has to be handled skillfully. It requires more than just a cool talent or stage presence — it also takes someone who has been there and “gets it.” When choosing someone to integrate messaging and entertainment, you want someone with real-world talent and experience in both arenas. It’s a unique skill-set, but if you’re reading this blog, you’re connected to the right resource.

I treat your message with the same respect that you do. It is not trivialized, boiler-plated, or caricatured. When you select me to work with you on a marketing or branding event, I supply the showbiz talent and even change management expertise, but your message is the real star of the show.

Let’s work together to make your trade show, product launch, brand introduction, or other message-driven event a spectacular success!

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Illusions and effective messaging

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on May 5, 2010

If you’ve followed my work at all then you know that one of the key points I build my business on is this:  magic and illusion are effective at increasing attention and retention of messages, commercial or otherwise.

This video from KLM shows an effective use of illusion to generate interest.  Look at the reactions, then call me to discuss how we can put this kind of creativity to work for you and your message – at your next trade show, product launch, or other event.

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What companies really want from corporate entertainers

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on March 24, 2010

Corporate Entertainer - Speaker - Magician Joe M. Turner

Speaker/Magician Joe M. Turner entertaining and speaking at a corporate gala.

A somewhat frustrated colleague recently posed this question to me: “What do companies want?  What do companies out there want for their employees and from their providers when it comes to entertainment at meetings and events?”

Even though it may have been asked with an air of exasperation, the truth is that they have hit upon a vital question. The fact is that companies are sensitive not just to their event budgets, but to the perception of how they use their budgets.  Even if they have the means to do an over-the-top record-breaking event in their organization, in tough times there can be negative PR associated with that.

Here’s what I think. In good economies or bad, companies want their events to be successful, as measured by effectively achieving their objectives. That’s it. Those objectives may not always be defined well, but the people putting the event together have objectives for the event, and fulfilling them is the goal.

It is not a question of either entertaining customers/prospects OR communicating marketing messages OR inspiring the audience OR boosting employee morale. The target includes all of those things, and it has always been so.

Even in stronger economies, the purpose of having an entertainer or speaker at corporate meetings, or drawing traffic at a trade show booth, or at any conference or other event has always been more than just entertaining.  There is a lasting impact that quality entertainment can have on the attendees… they perceive and remember the event more positively and therefore remember the content with a positive perception, too.  A quality entertainer is a plus for any event.  But you can take it a step further than that.

In addition to basic entertainment, I sometimes integrate one or two of the main takeaway messages of the conference into my performance. Not in a preachy or heavy-handed way, of course… sometimes it’s almost a wink-wink laugh or an inside joke.  Maybe it’s just an “offhand” comment or example that somehow confirms or emphasizes something the audience learned at the conference.  Whatever the case, it’s not coincidence that it’s in there! It’s a subtle way to direct the attention of the audience back to the important messages and, when skillfully done,  it helps to lock those messages into the minds of the attendees.  (When working at a trade show,  of course, the integration of messaging is not as subtle, but it is equally skillful — the nature of the venue demands more overt marketing messaging.)

I often make at least one pre-event trip to meet with the producers of the event in person to discuss the messaging and how I can make sure my piece of the puzzle will help them to achieve their objectives.

It’s a good question — and worth considering by all meeting planners, conference planners, and other event planners.

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Successful fundraisers and trade shows, and a special trip to Hungary

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on February 20, 2010

Atlanta Magician Joe M. Turner Attracts Crowds for Biosound Esaote at a Trade Show in Orlando

Atlanta Magician Joe M. Turner Attracts Crowds for Biosound Esaote at a Trade Show in Orlando

The feedback from the trip to Orlando to perform for Biosound Esaote at their trade show was uniformly spectacular, and we are already working on details for another trade show later this year.  If you are planning a trade show this year, now is a good time to get on the calendar.

I enjoyed working with Lori O’Brien from Atlanta Special Events again in February — she’s a fantastic event planner and a wonderful entertainer in her own right.

My work with Family Entertainers of Atlanta has led to being elected Vice President.  I was also just appointed by Jack White, International President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, to be the TVP Counselor for the Territorial Vice Presidents of that organization located throughout the world.

Atlanta Magician Joe M. Turner - Performing at the Tongue & Groove Nightclub

Atlanta Magician Joe M. Turner - Performing at the Tongue & Groove Nightclub

One of my newest clients is the famed Tongue & Groove nightclub in Atlanta.  Now in a new location at Lindbergh City Center, I provide close-up magic and mindreading entertainment on selected nights.

This is certainly a more adventurous venue than my normal corporate habitats, but it is has been exciting so far!  I especially enjoy the opportunity to entertain at the VIP tables as I can go into a bit more depth with the guests and bring in some amazing but subtle experiences that would not be as effective in the more hectic areas of the club.

My next appearance is Thursday, March 18, from 10pm until midnight.  If you’d like to come, contact me and I’ll put you on my guest list for free admission if you arrive prior to 11pm.

Atlanta Magician Turner Headlines at Strand Theatre Gala

Atlanta Magician Turner Headlines at Strand Theatre Gala

Perhaps my favorite appearance in February was my appearance at the Strand Theatre in Marietta.  I was a featured performer at a fundraising variety gala show for the Humane Society of Cobb County. I headlined along with performers from the Atlanta Lyric Theatre and the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts.

I want to extend a public thank you to Steve Imler and Earl Reece, who got me involved in this.  I’m proud to announce that we raised approximately $25,000 for the Humane Society… an outstanding result from a truly wonderful event.

(One other note – the event happened on my lovely wife’s birthday!  She went with me and we had a great time at the VIP pre-function and afterglow events.  A fantastic night!)

Next up — my wife and I leave on Friday, February 26 for ten days in Europe.  I will be performing, teaching, and speaking at a conference in Sopron, Hungary for SHARE Educational Services.  Afterward, we’ll spend a couple of extra days sightseeing in Vienna, Austria.  I wish we had time to go over to the eastern part of Hungary and tour Budapest, but hopefully we can work that into a future trip.

Thanks for your support!  If you haven’t joined my Facebook fan page or my other social networking connections, please explore these links:  LinkedIn | Facebook | QAlias | Twitter

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January 2010 Highlights: Orlando trade show, San Diego meeting, Atlanta nightclub

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on January 27, 2010

This blog has been neglected for several weeks, but for all the right reasons!

Biosound EsaoteI traveled to Orlando to represent ultrasound equipment manufacturer Biosound Esaote at a trade show and conference. This group hired me for a trade show in Ohio last quarter, and as a result of this month’s conference they have already hired me for another event. Yes, we had the biggest crowds at the show, and in fact we had other exhibitors bringing their own customers over to the booth to see what was going on!

International Brotherhood of MagiciansI left Orlando to go to San Diego for the midyear board meeting of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. I joined the Executive Committee of this organization last summer and am serving a three-year term. San Diego was beautiful (if still damp from the heavy rains). It was great to see International President Jack White recovering well from his spinal cord stroke last summer. All the meeting attendees were treated to a visit to Jack’s fantastic museum of magic, which houses his amazing collection of props and memorabilia. IBM Ring 76 also put on a fine show to entertain us after dinner. Can’t wait to go back for the convention this summer!

Finally — I start a new gig in the Buckhead district of Atlanta this week. I’m now the resident magical entertainer at Tongue & Groove nightclub and lounge at Lindbergh City Center. Keep an eye on my Facebook status to see what nights I’ll be appearing. (By the way – thanks for helping me get more than 1000 fans on Facebook!)

My first night at T&G is tomorrow, January 28th, from 10pm to midnight. This venue certainly departs from my typical corporate fare… but then again, after December’s fantastic event at the Wynn in Las Vegas, I guess I’m up for the challenge. But don’t bother trying to corrupt me, girls (or boys!) — I’m happily married!

Tongue & Groove Atlanta

Tongue & Groove Atlanta

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Fourth quarter already?

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on October 29, 2009

I got back from performing trade show magic in Cleveland and looked at the calendar – the fourth quarter of 2009 kind of snuck up on me. I just finished jobs for NCR (now based near Atlanta) and Subnet Solutions (based in Calgary, Alberta), and other engagements are stacking up in December.

The schedule from now until New Year’s Eve is filling fast, but there are a couple of spots left. If your organization is planning a year-end event where I might be a corporate entertainment resource… call immediately (404 644 6791) to check your date. If I’m already booked, remember that my company also functions as an agency for other talented performers and speakers in various regions of the country. Let’s talk about what we can do for you and your event. (Here’s a fun option: Melody Knighton as Lucy or Dolly!)

Are you following me on the various social networking sites? If not, please do:
Connect: Atlanta Magician Joe M. Turner on Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter

I had a day off yesterday – a welcome breather in a week filled with 9 bookings! I took the opportunity to see two other performers “do their thing.” India-based mentalist Pradip Almadi spoke at a conference where I also performed. He’s in the country for a convention next week and happened to have an engagement in Atlanta. I also went over to Kennesaw State University last night to see Brian Brushwood, the ever-popular, freaky-fun magician to the college market.

Some upcoming performances:

TTU Judgment Day October 29Judgment Day, Tennessee Temple University, Chattanooga, TN. I’m part of a multi-day festival that is billed as a “Halloween alternative with an inspiring message.” Looking forward to being back in Chattanooga!
FBC Prattville November 1FBC Prattville, Prattville, AL – Sunday evening I’ll be doing a magic and mentalism show focusing on cult awareness and basic apologetics.
Marietta Business Association logo November 4Marietta Business Association Expo, Cobb Civic Center, 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM. I’ll be entertaining throughout the event as well as doing some MC work.
172nd Airlift Wing November 7172nd Airlift Wing, Jackson, MS – A repeat engagement for Family Day for the Mississippi Air National Guard!

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