When planning to exhibit at a tradeshow or event, it is easy to get drawn into the idea of grand audio-visual displays and flashing lights. Inevitably you want to stand out from the crowd to attract swarms of interested attendees, but being overzealous with the gimmicks can be a turn off.
Setting a clear brand message and having visual uniformity sets an expectation from the brand and helps build a level of trust. It is essential for a brand to have a cemented style guide that is adhered to at all times. This will assure that visual messaging remains on target with the values your brand wants to portray.
Today’s audiences crave imagery, and research conducted by Xerox found that coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to engage by 80%. So, how can a brand draw in attendees to their exhibit but still remain true to, and visually consistent with, their brand?
When you secure a spot at a trade show or event, do not go in all guns blazing. Take a step back and create a campaign idea that represents your brand.
No doubt the tradeshow you are attending will have a theme, try and be compatible with this. Think about your business or specific product, the primary message you want to portray, and the audience you want to connect with. Then, think about how to engage your targets in an interactive and visual way.
Remember, regardless of whether you have a stand at a B2C or B2B show, people and companies alike buy services so it is worth considering your environment while in the planning stages.
Once you have solidified your goals and plans for your tradeshow stand, create all your pre-show collateral. If you are hosting an interactive experience at your booth, hint at this with visuals in your virtual press kit and on social media. Create hashtags and create a buzz. Are you going to have a mini drone flying around? Design media invites that look like a bird’s-eye view of the event space, or building itself if distinct enough.
Starting the show experience early and gaining buzz and excitement sets the mood before anybody even steps foot in the exhibitor hall and guarantees attendees will visit your booth.
Before anything is pushed through the pipeline, all your collateral and signage should match what is set forth in your brand style guide. Corporate imagery should also be kept the same.
Designers put a lot of thought into style guides for different brands for a reason. For example, certain fonts evoke certain feelings and give different impressions. Times New Roman can have an older feel, whereas Comic Sans is notorious for being the most unprofessional font.
Anything that is handed out at an event, from tote bags to USB sticks, will be seen by attendees throughout the event. The next time somebody sees your logo or company branding, it will be recognizable to them if they saw it on an item that is of use to them, many people use event freebies every day.
It’s also important to feature your company logo and high-level messaging at the top of your booth display to ensure it can be seen from a distance on the trade show floor.
If you are lucky enough to have an in-house designer, collaborate with them to create an exciting campaign. Running your event marketing ideas past them can help the creative juices on both ends and ensures you are both on the same page, upholding the brand identity as perfectly as possible.
If you don’t have in-house expertise, hiring a designer is a great option to help you develop a visual strategy. However, let them know all your design needs upfront so they know what graphics can be re-purposed across different channels i.e. social media, booth design, collateral, signage, marketing emails.
It can be tempting to download the necessary tools and have a go at it yourself. This is dangerous territory as having the correct software is only half the battle, you need to know how to use it correctly. If untrained, opt for expert help!
The human psyche can be shallow, and whilst visual is the key sense to target, keep all five in mind. Visuals will draw attendees to your stand, but engaging further through taste, touch, sound and scent will encourage them to stay. Harnessing all the senses can construct a complete and seamless experience for your audience.
It is imperative that your brand is at the epicentre of everything you do, especially for major events and trade shows. Much like human relationships, we remain true to ourselves to create genuine connections. In the same vein, it is important for your brand to be true to itself to create sincere customer interactions.
Create an interactive experience that is true to your brand, and you’re well on your way to a successful tradeshow or event.