What Makes a Booth Stand Out at a Trade Show?

How to Make Your Brand Stand Out at a Trade Show

How to stand out at a trade show

Despite the prevalence of online marketing, trade shows remain one of the highest-ROI (return on investment) marketing strategies for brands in certain industries. It’s an opportunity to show off your brand, including your latest product, and meet new leads—as well as scope out the competition to see what they have to offer.

Part of your success at a trade show depends on the basics of your business, including the value and price of your products and services. But the raw sales potential of this event is going to depend even more heavily on your ability to stand out from the crowd.

Why is this heightened measure of differentiation so important, and how can you achieve it?

Why It’s Important to Stand Out at a Trade Show

Let’s start by explaining why it’s so important to stand out at a trade show in the first place:

  • Visibility and attendance. Part of the advantage here is getting more visibility, which in turn means your attendance is going to increase. While some trade show attendees will make it a point to visit each and every booth, the majority of them will only spend time at the ones that seem the most important, or otherwise captivate their attention.
  • Memorability. Standing out also makes you more memorable. Even if a trade show attendee doesn’t get a chance to talk to your salespeople, if your trade show display shows off your logo or your latest products in a memorable way, they may keep you in mind when it’s time to make a purchasing decision after they get home.
  • Sheer competition. The importance of brand differentiation is compounded in an environment like a trade show. There are going to be dozens, if not hundreds of other businesses like yours, all competing for attendee attention, and most of them are going to be using conventional, predictable tactics. If you use those same tactics, you’ll merely blend in as white noise.

How to Stand Out at a Trade Show

So how can your brand accomplish this?

  • Visual trade show booth elements. Trade show booth visuals are your most powerful asset. If properly designed and place, they’ll help you show off the most important features of your brand and make your booth more attractive to prospective visitors even if they’re on the other end of the convention center. For example, a large backlit trade show display could add light and color to your booth without being too flashy, or a well-placed double-sided banner stand could help you direct visitors to your booth from heavily-trafficked areas. There are several principles to keep in mind here; you’ll want to stay consistent with your brand identity, but you’ll also want to play around with colors and designs that will set you apart from your close competitors.
  • Audio trade show booth elements. Every trade show booth is going to have some kind of signage, but not all of them will have audio elements. You might have to tread carefully here since some trade shows will have rules and regulations (and you also don’t want to be annoying). However, appropriate-volume or appropriately timed music can help your booth stand out to people who can’t even see it yet. You could also try incorporating sound effects, like a fanfare when a visitor wins something.
  • Dress. Pay close attention to how your team dresses for the event. The formality of the event and your industry will dictate the main factors you’ll want to heed; obviously, you want your salespeople to look as professional and event-appropriate as possible. Beyond that, consider fashion elements that make your team stand out, such as a wearable promotional item or a colorful touch to an otherwise plain ensemble.
  • Promotional items and coverage. Promotional items have a surprising amount of staying power, allowing them to advertise your brand to people long after they leave the trade show. However, they’re at their most powerful during the trade show, when people could wear or carry them to other areas of the trade show, spreading your brand like a virus. If your promotional item is desired enough, it could send flocks of people to your booth—and take precedence over your competitors’ promotional items. The keys to success here are to choose an item with real practical value and ensure it’s visibly tied to your brand.
  • Giveaways and offers. You could also differentiate your brand by making a better offer, or staging a better giveaway. For example, depending on your budget, you could collect attendee information for a chance to win a small gadget, or an expensive product that your company sells. Giving away something like this once every hour, or periodically throughout the trade show will keep people coming back—and will quickly spread the word about your booth’s existence.
  • Interaction. At the end of the day, trade shows are about meeting and interacting with people, so don’t neglect this important component. Your interactions with the other attendees, and even your competitors, will come to define your brand. You’ll need to go out of your way to interact with as many people as possible, allowing your salespeople to roam the convention center and truly getting to know the people who drop by the booth. Even if they don’t remember the name of your brand, they’ll remember your warm smile or that hilarious joke you told—and they’ll seek you out when they’re ready to buy.
  • Social media activity. Social media is a major gateway to trade show visibility since so many people attending will be using it throughout the event. Capitalize on any trending hashtags associated with the event, and involve yourself in discussion threads that cover things like guest speakers and scheduled events.

Standing out at a trade show is hard, but it’s a practical necessity if you want your brand to be remembered. If you need help planning your next trade show event, or if you’re ready to order the right trade show displays to help your brand make an impact, start a live chat with one of our project managers today!

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