You’re registered to exhibit at a trade show and have been given X number of square feet to work with. Now what?
Oftentimes, due to budget and timing, the booth structure comes first. And the experience later. But let’s reverse engineer your trade show strategy for a moment.
What type of experience do you want an attendee to have while they’re at your exhibitor space? Do they need room to perform a particular activity? Are you going to do product demonstrations? Need a quiet one-on-one sales space? Do you have a lot of ‘stuff’ to distribute and need room to store that ‘stuff’?
Now that you know what the experience is going to be, you can start to design your footprint accordingly. Only now can you start to think about whether you should go with a pop-up or custom fab, or a modular or a hybrid design.
“Designing your consumer engagement is more vital than designing the booth layout,” says Regis Maher, our president and co-founder. “The colors, signage, furniture you use must reflect the user’s experience while they’re visiting your booth.”
We’re not design experts, we’re experiential marketing specialists. But here’s what we do know you need to consider when designing your trade show space:
- Budget: What can you afford?
- Ease of assembly: Is your sales team going to have to put this thing together?
- Ease of shipping: How do you crate this? How much will it be to ship to and from teh event?
- Re-usability: Will this design work for more than one expo?
- Products: How do your products fit within the design?
- Messaging: Does the design align with your overarching marketing messaging?
- Experience: Will the design support the attendee experience?
In addition to the structures used, details like lighting, flooring, partitions, music, scent and temperature all affect an attendee’s comfort level when deciding to ‘walk into’ a booth space. Too much contrast from the rest of the show’s environment can be downright scary. Yet, not enough contrast may risk your brand’s chance to stand out from the crowd. Consider how design can affect an attendee’s psyche. Make it an environment that promotes walkability.
One of the biggest benefits to exhibiting at a trade show is giving your audience a hands-on and up-close look at your products. Don’t hang up your products out of reach or enclose in a glass display if you don’t have to; attendees want to touch, hold, feel, experience your product. ‘Don’t touch’ signs are not appealing. Create the right amount of spotlighting and feature first and foremost the items that yield the largest profit margin.
Don’t have a physical product to display? Work with your experiential agency to develop ways to allow attendees to still ‘experience’ your product or service in a memorable way.
And don’t forget about designing your trade show booth for visual and sensory appeal. Visuals have to stand out and also be inviting. Don’t forget about the other senses. There’s a lot you can incorporate to fully immense someone into your brand while they’re in your allotted booth space.
Need help designing a trade show experience that will knock their socks off? Say hello.
We don’t always toot our own horn, but toot! The trade show exhibitor guide we’ve put together is another great place to start. And it’s free!