Exclusive Features

Dressed for Success

Dressed for Success

Lighting manufacturers discuss some of their upcoming preparations for Lightfair 2019 and how they’ll be reaching out to distributors.


Where will you be on May 19-23?

If you’re like over 20,000 of your industry colleagues, you’ll be headed to The Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia for Lightfair 2019, the 30th annual iteration of North America’s largest architectural and commercial lighting trade show. Founded in 1989 and currently featuring some 500 exhibitors, Lightfair represents “the lighting and design industry’s source for all that is new and next” and promises to feature “brilliant solutions in lighting, connectivity, design, and integration.”

With lighting manufacturers busy at work putting the finishing touches on their product displays, booths, and messaging over these final six weeks before the big show, lightED checked in with several exhibiting manufacturers – from veterans of the show to a relative newcomer – for an update on their planned Lightfair themes, preparations, and outreach to distributors.


An Industry Tradition

“We’ve been showing our SYLVANIA general lighting innovations to the industry at Lightfair since the very beginning of the show,” said Wolfgang Mailaender, LEDVANCE’s head of Marketing for the U.S. and Canada, of the tradition that Lightfair represents at his company. “Our distributor partners are a key part of our success in the marketplace and each year we look forward to meeting with them at Lightfair to talk about how we can help them grow their business.”

For Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), which also has a long history at Lightfair, “the event provides a unique opportunity to engage with our customers in an immersive way by showcasing our products and technology to both existing and potential customers,” shared Anita Santos, U.S. chief marketing officer at Signify. According to Santos, “our company will have a large presence at the show this year with a booth focused on the journey to connected lighting systems and services.”

According to Kevin Heffernan, general manager, channel at Current by GE, “GE was a charter member of Lightfair and both the show and our company have been transformed over the last 30 years. As Current by GE begins a new chapter outside of GE corporation, we remain committed to being an active participant in the show and helping to shape the future of our industry.” Among the benefits of Lightfair, he added, “the opportunity to have meaningful dialogue with our channel partners about our engineering and technology advancements is incredibly valuable.”

While it represents a more recent entrant to the industry, Stafford, TX-based LED manufacturer Spring Lighting Group (SLG) fully understands and embraces the power of Lightfair. “After exhibiting at several trade shows, we’ve decided to focus our energy and resources on a select few and that, of course, includes Lightfair,” said SLG CEO and president Michael Wu. “Lightfair is a key trade show where we can connect with many strategic representatives, distributors, and potential customers, and we’re excited to communicate to our partners that SLG is here for the long haul and that we’ll continue to be a competitive, innovative, and trustworthy player in the commercial lighting industry.”


Highlights and Happenings

For Lightfair’s milestone 30th anniversary this year, Mailaender said that LEDVANCE is excited to be located at the front of the trade show. “LEDVANCE stands for advancing light together with our distributor partners in a connected world, and this year part of our booth will focus on our extended SYLVANIA indoor and outdoor luminaire portfolio, which includes many IoT-ready form factors designed to support distributors in being a resource for new applications,” he said.

“In addition, around Lightfair, we’ll be running a joint initiative with the non-profit ‘Be the Light Campaign,’ where we’ll invite people to nominate anyone who represents a source of light for those around them,” said Mailaender. “We want to recognize and reward those members of the electrical products industry who make their communities a brighter place, both professionally and personally.”

Among special events at Current by GE’s booth, “we’re hosting agent training and a fun session on May 21 at 5 p.m. that we’re calling ‘Geek Out with Current,’” Heffernan said. “It will be a high-energy, interactive session with technical experts explaining what you need to know to ‘talk the talk’ at LightFair, with prizes for audience members.”

At Signify’s booth, “we’ll demonstrate how we’re leading the industry in the transition to connected lighting and beyond,” Santos said. “Our Interact platform continues to gain traction in the market as customers are quickly realizing the benefits and value of connected lighting. We’ll also showcase exciting new innovations in light like LiFi, a technology which, for example, is experiencing increased adoption among our distributor partners, who are piloting our LiFi technology in their facilities,” she said.

SLG plans to create a similarly big impression with their Lightfair presence. According to Wu, “we’ve hired a top creative agency to design a brand new 40’ X 50’ booth that will highlight our existing and new product lines. We’re very happy with what they’ve come up with and can’t wait to welcome our representatives and potential customers to our 2,000 square-foot booth to see the new products we’ll be displaying.” While most of SLG’s previous products fell into the commercial outdoor fixture category, “we’re especially excited to showcase our new ‘Design Series’ for architectural lighting at the show,” Wu said.


A Distributor Focus

This year, our manufacturers report that their Lightfair product displays and messaging will place particular emphasis on distributors.

“Our main focus is the customer and we’re committed to our distribution partners,” LEDVANCE’s Mailaender confirmed. “During our preparation meetings, the key question we always ask ourselves is ‘how is this going to benefit the distributor?’ If the answer isn’t resounding, then we know it doesn’t make sense for us to have it as part of the show,” he said, noting that his team’s decisions also extend beyond just products. “It’s also about how we can do a better job marketing ourselves and our products to help our distributors succeed,” he said. “Distributors can feel confident that when they come to the LEDVANCE booth, they’ll learn how we’re going to take them to the next level this year and beyond with the future of connected SYLVANIA LED lighting products.”

As for the value Spring Lighting Group offers, “part of our appeal for lighting agencies and distributors is that we’re a manufacturer and not a reseller,” shared SLG’s Wu. In the spirit of being a good industry partner, he said, “we’re opening up our booth space for our representatives to use to meet with their distributors and potential customers so that they can share SLG’s brand, values, and capabilities.”

At Signify, “distributors play a crucial role in helping both customers and the industry navigate the shift to connected lighting systems,” Santos said. “Lightfair is a great opportunity to connect with distributors and demonstrate the latest technologies, products, and solutions available that deliver value in new ways. By collaborating closely with our channel partners,” she concluded, “we can map where the opportunities are today while sharing our vision for where the industry is going in the future. This will help drive mutual growth and ensure our collective success.”


Tagged with , , , , ,
Susan Bloomis a 25-year veteran of the lighting and electrical products industry. Reach her at susan.bloom.chester@gmail.com.

Comment on the story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *