Be a trade show design hero!
Trade show industry research has repeatedly found that a tradeshow display
booth typically has about 3 seconds to catch the attention
of and communicate to a
potential customer walking by it at a trade show. Further, most
potential customers are not
mind-readers. They only know what they see, and only if they notice it and
understand it. Finally, your trade show display will probably be one of
tens if not hundreds of displays that your potential customers walk by
at the show. The key to stopping these potential customers is to
have EFFECTIVE graphics. With the above in mind, we suggest the
following 10 Commandments for Effective Trade Show Graphics.
I. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. Before you even begin thinking about
your trade show display design, you should understand the purpose of a trade
show display, and how it is different from your
staff. Your trade show display design should grab the attention of
people passing by it, and then draw qualified prospects into your booth.
Your display only needs to draw prospects in, it doesn't need to explain
everything your company does. Your trade show staff is there to answer questions and
explain things. Again, your trade show display's job is simply to bring
qualified prospects to your booth. Then your staff takes over.
II. KNOW YOUR GOAL. Also, before you start your design, you
need to know what your goal or goals are at the trade show. Why are you at
the show? What do you need to accomplish? How will you evaluate and measure
your success? You need to know your goal, and then develop your trade show
display design to support that goal.
III. KNOW YOUR PROSPECT. Finally, before you start your design,
you also need to know who your potential prospects are, so you can target
your trade show design at them. The purpose of your display is to draw in
potential prospects, and not just random attendees. You need to identify who
your prospect is, and then target them with your design.
IV. GRAB THEIR ATTENTION. Your display design will only have a
few seconds, or even only a single glance, to either be noticed, or be
ignored. If you are on a standard convention floor exhibition aisle, people
will walk down the aisle, looking from one side to another. You may end up
across from or next to another visually compelling booth. You need to make
sure your design stands out. Rather than have a lot of small pictures or a
drab background, consider a single large bright eye-catching image that
really pops and supports your marketing message.
V. STATE WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO. When prospects look at
your attention-grabbing design (see commandment IV above), they should see
your company name. Trade shows are about branding. If they don't already
know who your company is, you want to establish your name in their head.
Your company name should be big and prominent on your design. Don't hide it
or make people guess. You also need to succinctly state what your company
does, especially if your company name doesn't make that clear. People
looking at your design should almost instantly be able to determine who you
are and what you do.
VI. WHAT IS YOUR USP? You need to state your USP (unique
selling proposition). How can you help and/or benefit your prospect, and what makes you
better than your competitors (who are more than likely also exhibiting at the show). Your design should
clearly state what you can do for your prospect, and give the prospect a
reason to visit your booth. If your display design fails to give a passer-by
a clear reason why they should stop at your booth, there's a good chance
they'll ignore your booth (and any desperate attempts by your booth staff to make eye-contact or
engage in small talk), and the missed potential prospect will simply move
on. Your display design needs to state in big, bold, easy-to-read words why a
person should visit your booth!
VII. WHAT MAKES YOUR DISPLAY MEMORABLE? The most important part
of an effective design is that it covers the three points about, it must get
noticed and grab attention, it must communicate who you are and what you do,
and it should state a unique benefit you can offer the prospect to draw them
into your booth. But in addition, and this is a tough one, you should try to
think of something to make your display design memorable. If could be the
background picture you use, or the marketing catch-phrase you have, but you
should strive for a display design people will remember after the show.
VIII. KEEP IT SIMPLE. Attendees at a show are busy. They have a
lot of booths to see. They should be able to look at your display and absorb
everything on it in a very short period of time. Don't write a novel. Keep
the fine print for the literature you hand out. Also, don't use industry
jargon, or inside jokes, or hard-to-read funky fonts. Make sure your display
is easily and quickly understood by all of your potential prospects. Keep it
IX. CONSIDER YOUR BOOTH LAYOUT AND FLOOR PLAN.
Your overall booth space should be as uncluttered and unblocked as possible, and
should allow for you to stand and greet people, and for prospects to easily
enter your booth. It's best to avoid a table at the front of your booth as it can create a barrier to interaction. If you do have tables or
counters, consider where they will be located and if they will be blocking
part of your display. Also consider where your staffers will be standing and
if they may be blocking part of your display. Put your company name, your
marketing message (your unique selling proposition), and any other important
information near the top of your display, or at or near eye-level where it is
easily seen and read.
X. GET OTHER PEOPLES' INPUT.
After your design is done, show it to other people. Don't just show it to
your secretary who is obligated to nod approvingly and say it looks good. If
you can, show it to some of your customers and get their opinion. After they
look at your design, ask them what they think your USP is (and see if they
can answer correctly). The more outside input you can get, the better.