Themed trade show exhibit environments are a great way to visually reinforce your message, create an immersive experience, and draw the attention of customers and prospects. Themes make your trade show exhibit more memorable and more fun.
Here are 7 tips to create themed trade show exhibits that maximize impact and ROO.
1. Let a business message drive. Themes only work if they integrate with and support your overall business objectives and message. And if they are consistent with your overall brand identity. Garden of Life chose a "We Dig The Garden" theme, complete with super-sized garden tools, because this theme articulated the company's passion for health and wellness. (Garden of Life exhibit design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits.)
2. Select a theme that enables storytelling. Everyone loves a good story. The best themes enable immersive corporate storytelling. Pluck told its message of how its products support every step of the customer journey by crafting its story onto a hiking trail map—and integrating a camping theme into its exhibit.
3. Integrate scenic elements. Themes communicated through graphics and messages are good. But it's the use of scenic elements as exhibitry that make a themed exhibit most memorable. Pluck accomplished this for its Camp Pluck theme via a tented area for private meetings and a campfire area for presentations. Of course, an artificial green surface replaced the traditional carpet. (Pluck exhibit design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits.)
4. Integrate your theme into all campaign elements. Maximize the drawing power of your theme by integrating it into communication elements beyond your exhibit. Think: ads, pre-show mailers, eblasts, banners, interactive games —and even guerilla marketing. CUNA Mutual Group did this to great success, weaving its Protect Your Turf football theme into ads, pre-show eblasts and an interactive quiz in its booth. (CUNA Mutual Group exhibit design, fabrication and marketing by 3D Exhibits.)
5. Make your theme immersive and hands-on. Attendees will really feel your theme if they take part in it. For 3D Exhibits' own Think Bigger-themed exhibit at EXHIBITORLIVE, we built a 16'-tall LED wall with a series of transitioning micro to macro images—a special effect that let visitors feel our theme. We also integrated touch screens into our demo tables and invited our guests to participate hands-on in the demos.
6. Integrate your staff. Your staff's participation will make or break your exhibit's success—especially when you are integrating a theme. Ensure a victory by prepping the staff to be part of the theme. Or go a step further by giving them a specific theme-related role to play. Garden of Life assigned its staff character roles to play that related to the garden ecosystem—such as compost, bumble bee and water. This worked as a great icebreaker when they interacted with visitors and made the exhibit more fun and engaging for everyone.
7. Details reinforce your message. Even the smallest elements of your exhibit can be a chance to reiterate your message and deepen the immersion. Think counters, demo-stations and even props—like the camping lanterns in Pluck's "Camp Pluck"-themed exhibit. In our own exhibit, we reiterated our Think Bigger theme as a graphic element on our custom flooring—and via the selection of refreshments we served. Visitors snacked on mini-Swedish Fish and mini-cinnamon buns when they registered for meetings on the perimeter of our space—then were delighted when they were greeted inside our exhibit with "Think Bigger" jumbo cinnamon rolls and mega-sized Swedish Fish.