Can a single exhibit called Gravitee really be a game-changer when it comes to exhibit design aimed at flexibility and being user-friendly?
Let’s take a look:
“If you’re tight on time or budget, try Gravitee!”
So exclaims Rey at Classic Exhibit, the exhibit house that is putting Gravitee out to the world. It’s a system of building blocks that uses no tools and has no loose parts. The aluminum extrusions are designed to accommodate doors, SEG fabric graphics and direct print graphics. The ability to use the various building blocks for an exhibit design are literally endless. Wire management is built in. You have fully assembled panels – always – single or double-sided. Corners are pre-notched for seamless SEG fabric graphic installation.
Seriously, this is limitless flexibility with elements that stack, connect and align perfectly every time.
“Does your tradeshow exhibit evoke emotion in the mind of a visitor?” might be a funny question. The better question might be: “HOW and WHAT emotion does your tradeshow exhibit bring out in your visitors’ hearts and minds?” But by asking it, you’re pulling on the string of branding, high-impact motivators such as confidence, sense of well-being, protecting the environment, being who you want to be and a litany of other emotions that pull in one direction or another.
Let’s use one of our clients at TradeshowGuy Exhibits, Bob’s Red Mill, as an example. Their foods are mean to inspire good eating with high-quality grains, oats, cereals, mixes and more. Good eating equals longer life and better health. Better health equals a positive feeling. Hence, just seeing the Bob’s Red Mill exhibit can evoke an emotion that gives people familiar with the brand a sense of well-being and comfort. All without them even thinking about it. As long as the visitor has a familiarity with the brand and products, their brain will make a quick connection with a positive result.
Let’s try another brand, say, United Airlines. With the recent debacle of having a booked passenger dragged off the airplane with smartphone video cameras in action that spread quickly throughout social media and mainstream news outlets, many visitors to a tradeshow with a United Airlines exhibit might have a different feeling today than they did just a month prior.
According to Alan Zorfas and Daniel Leemon, writing in the Harvard Business Review, “On a lifetime value basis, emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers.” Gaining that emotional connection pays off in numerous ways as they buy more, visit you online or in your store more, are less concerned about price in favor of quality, and listen more to what you’re saying, whether on a TV or radio ad, in a magazine, or in a weekly newsletter.
When it comes to evoking that positive emotion when visitors at a tradeshow come upon your booth, your branding and costumer experience already has to be in place, at least to a certain degree. A visitor that’s familiar with your brand and has a positive feeling upon seeing your exhibit has internalized that – but beyond that, she recognizes the key elements of the brand successfully executed in the design and fabrication, down to the small details.
A visitor that’s not familiar with your brand will still experience a gut feeling upon seeing your booth. The accuracy of that evocation has everything to do with how skillfully your 3D exhibit designer and your graphic designer have understood and communicated the elements of your brand. Once they inhale that look, as it were, they’ll make a decision on whether to more closely check out your products or services. If all is done right, your visitor will get an accurate emotion of the brand that you’re hoping to disseminate.
This is all not precise, of course. You can’t just plug in a color or texture or design or graphic and provoke a predictable reaction. Even ugly and unplanned exhibits can still have a successful tradeshow experience, which may be due to other factors, such as the competition, the specific product, the enthusiasm and charisma of a particular booth staffer or some other unknown element.
But the better your exhibit reflects your true brand, the more powerful it becomes in the heart and soul of your visitor. And they’ll take that home with them.
The natural inclination for most exhibitors is to get the most money out of their booth, so it’s important to consider ways to update that tradeshow exhibit. What options do you have?
The first and most obvious is to change the graphics. Products and services change, and you can show that change with new graphics, and still keep the old frame of the booth.
Add to your exhibit by including things such as iPad kiosks, banner stands or interactive elements that previously were not there. The challenge, especially in smaller booths, is to keep from adding items that clutter up the booth but don’t really add to your overall effectiveness.
Rent something, such as a charging table and furniture. Your original exhibit may not have come with a budget big enough to do all that you wanted, so after using it a few times, instead of purchasing new items, you can rent them.
Add space. If you’ve been exhibiting with a 10×20, you could upgrade to a 10×30, which would give you 50% more booth space. Then, add something like a meeting area, a theater viewing space or something similar.
Hang a sign. If you’re in an island booth, or some other space that allows you to hang a sign from the ceiling, but you’ve never done it, this is one way to draw more eyeballs from a longer distance. And with the idea that perception is important, having a hanging sign gives you a big upgrade in people’s minds.
Custom flooring. One way to set your exhibit apart from neighbors is to add custom flooring. We recently did a custom booth for Schmidt’s Naturals of Portland, and as part of their exhibit, the flooring was custom. Several people in the company, as well as visitors, commented that the flooring really went a long way to set them apart from other exhibitors.
Hire a pro. Even in a 10×10, the presence of a professional presenter can draw a crowd, and really set you apart from competitors. In a larger space, having regular professional presentations is often a good investment that more than pays for the investment – without a single change to your booth other than making sure you have the space for the crowd.
List-making! In this episode of the TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, I take a look at the top 7 things I like about being a tradeshow exhibit project manager and owner of TradeshowGuy Exhibits. And I explain why making a checklist for your exhibit project is a very good thing.
Check out the Monday, February 13, 2017 edition of the TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, where I go over organization, accountability and structure. And a short list from Richard Larsen of Brandwatch: Ten Top Tips for a Successful Tradeshow Booth.
The One Good Thing I referenced in the vlog was night skiing, in particular at Hoodoo Ski Bowl in the Central Oregon Cascades. Lovely!
There are hundreds of styles and types of exhibits at tradeshows, but in my estimation you can reduce them to just a handful of ‘kinds’ of exhibits. Do you recognize these?
Super-Duper Over-the-Top Big Tent Exhibit. You know these kind. This exhibit has a hanging sign, a dozen or more people working the booth who are wearing matching tees or tops, are handing out samples and generally trying to be the ‘big dog’ in their niche. And with this kind or exhibit, they usually succeed.
Large Format Well-Branded Exhibit. Most likely an island, but you can tell in an instant who the exhibitor is. Highly professional. The staff is smiling, greeting everyone appropriately. Kicking ass and taking names.
Something New. Often an inline exhibit from a company that changes it up frequently. Some companies take the same exhibit year after year after year. There are some exhibitors, however, that bring a brand new look almost every year. These are companies that are challenging their competitors and the status quo.
Same Old Exhibit. Just referenced in last paragraph. The company that doesn’t even bother to change their sign from year to year even though a casual observer can tell they should probably do some updating.
The Kluge Exhibit. Creativity run amok, where a (usually) small company has a couple of creative folks who take bicycle parts, discarded barn wood or whatever and somehow manage to come up with an exhibit that knocks your socks off. What are they selling again?
Basic. Lots of companies start here. There’s not a lot of creativity, but simplicity is important and the message is clear.
The WTF exhibit. Poorly executed graphics with unclear messaging, bored-looking staffers. It makes you wonder WTF are they doing at the show?!
Next time you walk the show floor, see how many of each kind of exhibits you can identify! And if you can add to our list, feel free to drop a comment!
Hey, it’s time to do another wrap up of tradeshow exhibit design and promotion ideas. Let’s take a swing around the internet, shall we?
First, we stop at FitSmallBusiness.com for a look at over two dozen design and promotion ideas. One idea I really like is to walk the show floor prior to the doors opening to the public and introducing yourself and inviting other exhibitors to come by your booth for a freebie.
From the Tradeshow Advisor comes a look at how to use all the display elements at your disposal to attract eyeballs. Using lighting, motion, sound and smell, you can get attendees senses involved.
Pinnacle Displays offers the 10 commandments for designing effective tradeshow graphics.
Northwest Creative Imaging posted a great infographic that details the best practices for tradeshow booth design. It’s a good one.
Our old friends at Handshake.com offer several booth design ideas to help you stand out at tradeshows.
There are three phases to getting people to talk about your tradeshow exhibit. First, you’d love to get them talking about it before the show. Second, you want them talking about the exhibit during the show. And finally, you want to make it memorable enough so that they’re talking about it after the show.
Realistically, I suppose it’s hard to achieve all of those bits and pieces with every exhibit and every show, but as my old football coach used to say, “It don’t hurt to try, do it?”
Prior to the show, set some goals. Figure out what you’d like to accomplish at the show in terms of booth traffic, leads generated and sales generated. Having these numbers in hand will help you focus. Drive traffic to your booth starting a week or so prior to the show by teasing products or in-person appearances in your booth on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, making sure you use the standard show hashtag. If you do a pre-show mailing, you can increase your booth traffic by increasing a promotional product in that mailing.
During the show, the best way to get people to talk about your exhibit is to have all hands on deck. Your staff should be well-trained and well-prepared for the show. They should be dressed appropriately (uniforms, matching tees?). The electronics in the booth should be tested and working properly, graphics should be attractive and functional. On social media, send out time-sensitive tweets and posts that invite people to see something new or meet somebody, or interact with something in the booth that appeals to the five senses. If you can pull off a few of these ideas in a clever and memorable way, show attendees will go out of their way to mention your booth.
After the show, follow up with all leads generated in a timely manner. Post photos of your exhibit and visitors over the next few weeks on social media. Mention any press you many have gotten online or in a newsletter. If you’ve created a list of email addresses or phone numbers of booth visitors, reach back to them to ask their opinion.
Word of mouth is an effective way to market your business. And even though you’re at a tradeshow, getting people to talk about your exhibit and presence at the show can start prior to the show and linger afterwards!
Tradeshow Infographics, like any infographic, serve a very useful purpose. They give you a way to visually digest information that might otherwise be a little more difficult to grasp or understand. But an infographic, if done well, gives a reader a quick look as well as a chance to dig deeper into a topic.
With that said, we ran across three tradeshow infographics that illuminate areas of tradeshow marketing that anyone in the industry can easily use. Let’s stack them up.
The first comes courtesy the Northwest Creative Imaging Blog, with best practices for tradeshow booth design. Maybe more directed at the folks who actually design and assemble the booth, but certainly any tradeshow manager in charge of a new booth can appreciate the ideas contained here.