Capturing attention on the trade show floor is not only a necessity… it’s the reason for exhibiting in the first place. Not every company has the budget for massive custom exhibits, but that doesn’t mean small exhibit spaces have to be ineffective.
A few examples will help illustrate the reasons a trade show exhibit would fail to capture attention. Of course, the photos have been altered to protect the innocent, but the illustrations are still relatable.
This example boasts unidentified, rather odd-looking gadgets on the table, which are presumably products. The products consume a fractional part of the display; the swag consumes far more of the table real estate.
The logo is displayed only once, at knee height. The logo may be on some of the swag, but it is difficult to see. The table-front signage does have three words under the logo, but they are non-descriptive nouns which don’t really help explain what the company does. The only graphic, a cubic design, does not serve to inform about the company either.
And, of course, there is no one actually at the display to talk with prospects. It is impossible to tell what the value proposition of this company is and most attendees will likely walk right by.
How this could be improved:
- Feature the company name, logo and slogan on top of the table. This can be done with a small banner stand or even replacing the generic white paper in the acrylic stand with a glossy printed piece in a nicer frame.
- Invest in display stands for the products, which will bring some height to the display and make it more interesting. Custom-fabricated displays would not be a significant investment to increase the visual impact. But if budget is really tight, perhaps there is something at the local office supply store suitable for the purpose. Displays should include short descriptions of what the product is and highlight the main benefit it offers the consumer.
- Add standard literature racks to bring height while infusing color and vertical real estate to showcase brand images and messaging.
- Reduce the swag to consume a smaller portion of the table space and bring the focus back to the products, replenishing as needed throughout the show.
- Ideally, a custom graphic backwall should be added to maximize messaging opportunities. Even a pipe and drape backwall with basic signage, as offered by the show organizer, would amplify noticeability while providing some additional real estate for messaging. The upgrade is usually a small, but very wise, additional investment.
Granted, this is a small table space, not a full booth. Many exhibitors who rent the smallest space available don’t think beyond a table and chair set-up as shown above. However, a lot can be done with a small space and some expert help. Rethink Brands hosted the 8’x10’ exhibit shown here. High impact, inviting and clear on purpose, this booth stood out far and beyond the neighboring booths which featured simply set-up tables such as the previous example.
The same principles apply but become even more crucial with larger spaces, as seen below.
At most shows, a 10’x20’ exhibit space requires an investment of several thousand dollars. This company chose to fill the bland gray space with twin banner stands, a low obelisk and a small table overrun with literature. This exhibit features nothing to attract the eye or pique the interest of show attendees.
The signage is confusing – the generic header sign and the obelisk feature the name of a group, presumably a holding company or parent. The identical banner stands feature an abstract graphic, a made-up word which is presumably a product name, a confusing tagline which seems to be promoting said product, and a website that seems to relate to none of these things.
The literature is impossible to read from the aisle, as it is lying flat. Passersby will likely deem that it is not worth the effort to see what it is about, rather than walk in to pick up some paper.
Two people are sitting at the table already, but they might just be show attendees who decided to take a break; their casual clothes make it unclear.
With the exception of process blue accents, color is non-existent in the space.
How this could be improved:
- If the two people are brand ambassadors, they should look the part. Booth staff should be easily identifiable, with a uniform of sorts. Jeans and casual boots are not it. Most companies elect a branded polo or button-down shirt with neat slacks to offer quick identification of brand ambassadors. At a minimum, the brand ambassadors could be wearing a name tag with clothing in simple neutrals or a color that is aligned with the branding. Keep brand ambassadors standing, ready to engage with attendees.
- An engaging element
of some kind should be incorporated into the booth, with the goal of drawing in
attendees. Some very basic ways this
could be accomplished:
- Simply offer branded swag or even a bowl of mints
- Provide empty chairs for show attendees to take a quick break
- Offer a small charging station for cell phones
- Host a product demo or sample, depending on the nature of the product
- Play a basic interactive game (wheel of chance, duck pond, etc.)
- Add a fishbowl business card drop
- Set up a backdrop and props for selfies, sharable on social media
- Make it clear what is being promoted. Clarify the relationship between the parent company, the website and the product featured on the banner stands. Or, choose just one to promote. The banner stands could read “Product X is a (description) from Company Y. Featured on WebsiteZ.Com.”
- Use that back wall real estate! A simple banner or poster with a product photo and short value proposition would have a big impact here. Even better would be a monitor scrolling written testimonials, product/service demos or related imagery. These could both add color and interest.
- Add stand-alone floor literature racks on the aisle periphery of the booth to fill out some of the empty spaces on the floor, creating zones around which booth staff can talk with attendees. This will also increase the visibility and accessibility of literature and messaging.
- Move the trash can away from the center spot in the exhibit.
This exhibit property from HemoCue is the same size rental space, a 10’x20’ exhibit, but it is the polar opposite of the previous example. The striking red color paired with accent lighting offers a real eye-opener. The vertical real estate features clear branding, a succinct value proposition and related graphic imagery. The front and right side counters offer areas for swag, while literature is easily accessed from these and several other points inside and outside the perimeter of the exhibit. These lowered front and side counters are thoughtful to show attendees, as they offer a welcome place to rest heavy bags while the product display on the left rear shelf or the video on the monitor are viewed.
Acer designed and built this exhibit (which admittedly lends a slight bias), which earns an A+ all around!