In today’s world it would be easy to think that your online presence holds more importance than your offline presence – there are some pretty damn good Instagram feeds out there! But meeting someone face-to-face and creating a solid personal connection is still the fastest and most effective way to develop a professional relationship. This is why trade show displays are here to stay.
Trade shows are a fantastic opportunity for you do to just this. Not only does your business get exposure but you are surrounded by potential clients with the ability to generate new leads and nurture existing relationships.
Here are our top 5 ways to make sure that your exhibit stands out and holds a lasting impression, for all the right reasons.
1/ Keep it Simple
For your message to be succinct and eye-catching for your target audience, simplicity is key! This rule applies for everything – your branding, your key objective, your messaging and even the layout of the stand. Having your key messaging placed on the top half of your stand can be a great way to make it visible over the head of other visitors.
Think about the space of your booth and how you can take full advantage of it, in relation to the flow of the show floor plan. Don’t confuse prospects by sticking all your products on the stand. An uncluttered, well-lit booth with a clear focus will be way more attractive. Having some free space also gives people the opportunity to walk in or around your stand to interact with staff, exploring all aspects of your brand.
Don’t underestimate the importance of lighting either. Aside from allowing visitors to see your message and products clearly- good lighting can also be used to highlight key areas of your exhibit that you want to bring focus to. Next time you walk by a high end boutique (hello Chanel!) look at the lighting. There will be areas of light and shade to draw your eyes to key products on display.
2/ First Impressions Count – Have Great Staff
You only get one chance to make a great first impression and a bad one is hard to shake off. Remember these guys?
Exhibitions and trade shows are all about creating opportunities, networking and nurturing existing relationships with other real people. You can only do this when you show genuine interest in your visitors and aren’t just about the sell! Aussie’s, in particular hate being sold to but will go above and beyond for people they believe in.
Your staff are an extension of your brand so they need to bring their A-Game and ensure that they’re representing your company to the fullest by being engaging, warm, and most of all authentic. Start conversations, not sales pitches! And remember that it’s not all about potential clients. Connect and chat with other exhibitors – after all there could be opportunities to partner up.
3/ Hire Us!
Hiring a talented exhibit designer who understands your brand and key objectives makes a huge difference to the quality of your trade show display. They should be able to translate your brand essence into a creative bespoke 3D structure that grabs your audience’s attention.
Consider your target audience and how you want them to interact with your brand. This has a strong impact on how you use your space, e.g. consumer trade shows where the emphasis is on high volume sales might want a checkout type setup where people can queue up to place orders and pay. However in a B2B event this this type of setup can really block you from having more personal connections with your visitors.
4/ Fine Tune Your Strategy
A great exhibit designer will also help you fine-tune your strategy so your experiential elements compliment your brand and key message. Having an experiential element that actually means something to the visitor will make it far more memorable – they make the link, the connection.
We recently created a stand for a company that has developed the first ever kidney treatment for a condition called PDK. Up until now doctors have had nothing to offer patients. There’s still no cure, but this treatment has given hope to those suffering with the condition. The stand had an over-sized kidney display with a living garden inside to represent hope. Inside this garden were stick insects, which became an easy conversation starter with the doctors, before staff talked about their product.
We collaborated with the client’s agency, Designer Rice, to bring the kidney concept to life.
Memorable, yes. Linked to their key message? Hell yes!
5/ Try Not to be Gimmicky
Now we know this may go against popular advice out there but hear us out!
Giveaways, free food and pretty girls may grab people’s attention initially but it’s been done to death. If there isn’t a genuine connection to your brand or it isn’t useful or memorable to visitors then it can come across as a bit car sales-man-y. I’ve definitely seen it work at some conferences, but it’s also an expense. You just have to weigh up whether it’s worth it for you. Those that see great success with it have a strategy for speaking to people in the queue and maximizing their time with visitors. It’s no freebie!
If you want to create authentic and valuable connections with your audience then don’t try to lure them in with a free branded pen, Instead, smile,read their body language and engage with them on a human level. Providing exceptional customer service and genuine interaction will go much much further than a freebie. 80% of what people remember from an exhibition are their interactions with staff.
The design of your stand is crucial, whether you have a successful show or not, don’t forget that your messaging and branding must flow the way through every experience and interaction visitors have with you. Here are some more ideas to get extra oomph from your tradeshows. Want help devising the perfect plan for your next exhibition?
Get in touch with me for some free advice.
I live for this stuff but also really want to see you succeed 🙂
Yours in Exhibiting,