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Yup. You’re seeing that right. It’s a gorilla chasing a human-size banana around the perimeter of our parking lot. Award winning trade show exhibit design, fabrication and management is just one of our many talents.
You never know what’s going to happen when the 3D Exhibits team decides to celebrate.
George Furman won the costume contest by boxing and wrapping himself. The tag reads: “To women from God.” Only George…
George also demonstrated that a second career with Cirque du Soleil isn’t out of the question.
Hope you and yours had as much fun as we did.
Approached correctly, your custom trade show displays—or custom exhibit rentals—can accomplish a great deal for your company. Exhibit design can reinforce brand positioning, build credibility, and communicate industry leadership.
Likewise, failing to pay attention to design can hurt you—in ways you may not even be aware of.
I recently implemented an exhibit audit for one of our 3D Exhibits customers who provides resources to the accounting industry. As I surveyed our customers’ competitors one stood out. But unfortunately, not in a good way.
I’d been prepped to believe this company was savvy—a fierce competitor. The company’s exhibit painted the opposite picture. I saw mis-matched exhibitry (presumably from multiple different sets of exhibit properties) crammed so tightly together that visitors had to shimmy sideways to traverse between displays. The graphics came in a variety of sizes and shapes—printed in four or five different fonts. The counter tops were hidden under messy piles of literature and tchotchkes. The company appeared more like a flea market than a respected publisher.
Based on what I witnessed on the show floor, my perception was that this company was unorganized, unprofessional—and probably facing funding or cash flow issues.
At another show, a company which I knew was struggling represented itself with a small, but very organized and uncluttered exhibit. This exhibit, which communicated, “We have our act together,” helped the company attract a couple of key employees and a couple of new corporate customers. A year later, they had grown 20%.
What exhibitors and marketers sometimes forget is that seeing really is believing—especially on the trade show floor. The subliminal messages communicated by your trade show exhibit really will inform prospects’ perception of your company. In other words, you can tell people your company is innovative and cutting edge over and over. Or that you’re all about streamlined operations and dependability. But if what they see in your exhibit tells a different story, you will have undermined your own hard work.
This isn’t to say that every exhibit design has to be flashy or futuristic—or look expensive. Sometimes, those traits are exactly the wrong way to go. In many markets, gaining buyers’ trust is better accomplished with a more straight-forward design. But there is a difference between appearing together-but-frugal and channeling a pawn shop.
If your exhibit fails to demonstrate an image that parallels your prospects’ predetermined expectations for a supplier, they may perceive that you just aren’t quite up to the job of delivering what they need. This judgment happens instantly and somewhat subconsciously. The prospect will just keep moving down the aisle—right by your exhibit—and you’ll never even know that you’ve blown what could have been an opportunity.
The bottom line is that successful exhibits must convey the qualities your customers are looking for. Regardless of your industry, product or price point, your target audience wants to buy from someone who is:
- Streamlined in terms of operations and delivery
- Meets their commitments
The solution to creating an exhibit that reinforces this image is twofold:
- Partner with an exhibit designer you trust, one that really understands what your company is all about.
- Listen to his or her advice. Don’t overload your exhibit with product, properties, clutter and messages—and make sure that the various parts of the exhibit all share the same cohesive look and feel.
If you do, you just might find your exhibit a bit busier than it’s been in the past.
Here’s a trade show tip that will increase your trade show exhibit staff’s performance—and won’t cost a penny. An appointed Booth Captain, implemented correctly, can improve your staff’s body language and etiquette, elevate attendee’s perception of your brand—and relieve the exhibit manager from having to play the bad guy. The result will be increased performance of your custom, modular and rental trade show exhibits.
Here’s how it works:
1. Before the show starts, communicate your expectations for exhibit etiquette to your team (Go over the whole list: no unfriendly body language, eating, drinking, clumping, use of mobile phones, leaning, etc.). Use whatever combination of methods you like: pre-show memos, exhibit staff manuals, pre-show briefing and/or professional staff training.
2. Authorize one team member per shift (or per show) to act as the Booth Captain. Empower this person to take charge of monitoring all of your booth staffers—both to compliment staffers for doing things right and to gently redirect when they are engaging in unwanted behaviors.
The ideal Booth Captain will be a positive leader who can work with the team to ensure the best result. It could be someone from the management team or the exhibit manager. Ideally, your Booth Captain should be:
- Trusted and respected by your booth staff, even keeled, and not considered bossy.
- Bold enough to tell other staff members when they observe an opportunity for improvement. If your captain is timid about telling people what they need to improve, they aren’t going to create the desired positive impact.
- Tactful enough to make suggestions without offending or annoying the other booth staff members. If the captain embarrasses or angers your exhibit staff, they aren’t going to give the booth their best effort.
Examples of the messages your Booth Captain should be telling your staff:
- “Donna, great job engaging people from the aisle.”
- “Bobby, don’t forget to face toward the aisle.”
- “Betty and Angela, don’t forget not to stand in clumps.”
Have you ever assigned a Booth Captain to assist in improving your booth staff’s performance? If you have, how did it work out? Any tips you’d like to share?
For examples of bad booth etiquette, click here.COMMENTS
A great sales meeting is targeted, authentic and exhilarating. 3D Exhibits’ event partner, Plexus, knows how to create sales meetings, users group meetings and customer events that are memorable, motivational and that drive results.
Five tips to create engaging and memorable sales meetings from Joe West at Plexus:
- Match the content and tone of your sales meeting to the current business climate. How are things going for your company? Is it rough going, happy days—or time for a turn-around? Whatever the case, the tone and themes of the sales meeting or user group meeting and activities—from keynotes to team-building—should correspond.
- Respect the company culture. The ideal communications strategy will be a call to action that coincides with company culture. In other words, language like “ripped up and stomped on our competition” probably isn’t the right language for attendees from a company with a consultative, soft-spoken culture.
- Start with a big wow or laugh. Whether they admit it or not, pretty much everyone likes a little bit of a flash paired with a surprise. A great way to do this is to tie your opening video or live performance with your executive reveal. Think CEO flying in from the ceiling or appearing in the middle of a flash mob.
- Give attendees opportunities to be heard. Attendees will be more engaged if they feel they have a voice. Consider a “we’re listening” booth where they can share their suggestions and complaints. Or create a thought bubble or social media display where participant’s insights and ideas are projected where everyone can view them.
- Keep the momentum going after the sales meeting. Reinforce your messages by reaching out to attendees at least one more time after they have returned home. Send something fun—like an inside catch-phrase from the event or a video clip of the most poignant moment.
Custom trade show displays serve many purposes. In the hands of a skilled exhibit designer, your exhibit will express your brand image, communicate your messages, and educate your target audience. In other words, it will do a lot of the heavy lifting, in terms of messaging, for you.
On the other hand, a poorly designed exhibit has the potential of—at best, doing nothing for you—and at worst negatively impacting your target audience’s opinion of your company and costing you valuable sales leads.
So is your exhibit working? Here are some exhibit design evaluation tips, courtesy of 3D Exhibits:
7 questions to determine if your trade show exhibit design is working for you:
- Is it easy to tell who the company is? This one is simple. If people can’t tell who you are by looking at your trade show exhibit, you are going to have a hard time accomplishing your objectives.
- Do the colors, architecture, and ambiance of the trade show exhibit reflect the desired brand image? Themes and styles are all well-and-good—as long as they reinforce the same image as your website, advertising and other customer outreach. If you aren’t exuding consistency across all marketing channels, you are undermining your own efforts. This relates to the exhibit interior as well as the exterior.
- Is it easy to tell what the company does? Ideally, your trade show display makes people self-qualify—as in stop and think—“Hey, I need to check this out.” If attendees can’t tell what your company does without entering the exhibit, they are going to walk right by. Note: this one is unnecessary for companies that everyone in the industry already knows.
- Is the exhibit attractive to the target audience? Yes, you want your trade show exhibit to drive general industry awareness. But even more important, you want it to entice that smaller slice of the attendee pie—your prospects and customers. The most important aspect of this is that the exhibit messaging or visible displays let them see how they will benefit from visiting you.
- Does the space draw people to enter? Ultimately your exhibit is only as good as the number and quality of attendees you interact with. Regardless of whether your exhibit is wide open from the aisles or has limited entry, it can only succeed if some aspect of the space makes people want to come in. This could be through ambiance, by eliciting curiosity, or through a draw such as a game, key message, promotional offer, or graphic.
- Do the space and design support storytelling? What do people need to see, hear, do or feel to understand your message? The best exhibits provide tools and media that accomplish this. Or even better—the storytelling is integrated right into the design. It could be an interactive experience, a gallery, a theater, a hands-on demo, a comfortable place to converse with visitors—or something completely unique and unexpected. Whatever it is for your brand and product, the exhibit has to facilitate it.
- Can people navigate the space easily, find what they want with minimal effort? If people can’t locate what they want within a few seconds, they will leave. This navigation can be intuitive, visual (they can see the displays), graphic—or even with human guidance. But it has to be there.