Tips and Trends

Ask 3D Exhibits: How Can I Communicate My Message to Trade Show Attendees with Minimal Copy?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Trade show attendees are in a hurry—and overwhelmed. They sprint down the aisles quickly scanning each exhibit for a couple of seconds to determine whether to stop or keep moving. Unless you capture their attention immediately, they’ve moved on before you can even say, “Hi.”

This means your exhibit marketing has to make a connection instantaneously. Attendees need to understand who you are and what you have to offer them quickly and intuitively. Exhibitors who count on blocks of copy to do the heavy lifting are going to finish second behind companies who express their brands and benefits more creatively and concisely.

The good news is that communicating with minimal copy doesn’t have to be expensive—and can be accomplished regardless of your brand’s style and personality.

Here are seven of our favorite tactics:

1. Build a physical demo. Demonstrate your product’s durability and other attributes with a physical demonstration. This can be hands-on (such as a game or interactive experience where attendees try to damage your product) or visual such as the example above.


2. Employ a metaphor. A metaphor is a word, object or image used to symbolize something else. For instance, PolyVision demonstrated that it is turning education upside-down by hanging a cluster of old fashioned school desks upside-down over its exhibit. A little theatrical lighting added an ethereal glow that transformed this otherwise simple exhibit into a dynamic environment. (Exhibit design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits)

If you’d like to create your own metaphor, start by brainstorming: Is there an object, action or image that symbolizes your product’s impact on your customers? Create an eye-catching way to leverage that metaphor in your trade show exhibit marketing—and you’re on your way.


3. Supersize your product. Companies that have a signature product can capture the attention of attendees quickly and effectively with a larger-than-life model of their product. Kitchenaid accomplishes this with a giant aisle-side stand mixer that doubles as booth attract and photo opp. You can also suspend your model over your exhibit to double as a hanging sign. (Exhibit design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits)


4. Map it out. If there is a way to show how much space your product saves—or how many more pieces it can output per hour—put your money where your mouth is by letting attendees witness the difference for themselves. A few simple dotted lines prove that this tank-in-wall commode takes up a fraction of the space of a traditional design. 


5. Integrate Icons and symbols. Infographics have become extraordinarily popular for a reason. Simple statements clarified by symbols and icons communicate your message quickly and clearly. Simple solutions include upward arrows to show increases, downward arrows to show decreases and watches to show time reductions.


6. Turn it into an experience. Props, video and lighting can be harnessed to immerse attendees in ways where they can actually feel your message. For instance, when 3D Exhibits wanted EXHIBITORLIVE! attendees to Think Bigger—we didn’t just talk about it, we brought it to life. One entire side of our exhibit was a 20’-tall LED wall which displayed a variety of ordinary objects and scenes morphing from macro to mega before their eyes. (Exhibit design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits)


7. Leverage senses other than sight. Can attendees tell the difference between your product and your competitors’ product by touch, taste, sound—or even smell? If so, you can easily use that to your advantage. Implementing this strategy can be as simple as inviting attendees to touch a sample of your product.


Labriola Baking demonstrated the quality and appeal of its pretzel bread by flooding the exhibit hall with the scent of baking bread. Based on the crowd in their exhibit, it seems that smelling (and not just seeing) is believing. (Exhibit design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits.)


If you’d like to see more examples, check out:

How do you communicate your message with minimal copy? Email us at evpmarketing (at) 3DExhibits (dot) com. We’d love to hear from you.

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