Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
"The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge
and the dissemination of truth."

John F. Kennedy


Sarmistha Tarafder's Articles

Tired of Same Old Strategy? A Fresh Look at Exhibit Design
and Strategy


Return to Sarmistha's Webpage
 



GET FRESH EYES FOR YOUR EXHIBIT DESIGN.png

 QUCIK TRICK TO GET A FRESH A PERSPECTIVE ON ANY SUBJECT

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” 
― Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

 Doing the same thing over and over again makes us agents of mediocrity. "Complacency sets in and very soon we slip into irrelevancy."

It happens to all of us... sooner or later.

IF YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM THE LIFELESSNESS OF SAMENESS, TAKE A BREAK FROM EXHIBITING

You’ve just exhibited at the same trade shows that you always exhibit at, year after year. This can and will make you too easily fall into the “same old, same-old” mindset: same competitors, same booth staff, sameexhibit, same promotions, same city, same products, same trade show strategy, same social media strategy — a wealth of sameness at your disposal. 

HOW TO CONTRAST THE SAMENESS

To keep your edge, try to see trade shows with fresh eyes. Give yourself some time at your next few shows to get re-inspired.  All you need is your all-seeing critical eyes, the fortitude of your feet, and a stalwart spirit of inquiry.  

STEP 1. STOP EXHIBITING. GO AS AN ATTENDEE 

Going to a show as an attendee rather than an exhibitor can give you an entirely different view of how you and your competition are perceived in that environment. Walk the exhibit hall and strike up conversations with other prospects in attendance. Find out whose exhibits they liked, who they bought from, or whom they may do business with in the future. Most importantly: find out why. Ask how competitors’ products, services or prices compare to yours. While doing this may seem bold, many people appreciate feeling that their input could shape your company’s future offerings.   

STEP 2. STUDY THE BOOTH DESIGNS OF YOUR COMPETITION 

Slow down and look the nuances, of their booth and their booth elements.

Browse their literature to see the full scope of their product/service offerings, vs. which ones they have decided to feature in their booth. Ask about the small print: pricing, discounts, shipping, maintenance, etc. Check out, who they are partnering with on the exhibiting floor. We have seen the rise of partnership between smaller brands in an effort to forge new products and services.

After checking out their website and signing up for their e-newsletter, pay special attention in the subsequent weeks as to how they then re-target you with advertising on the web and on social media. 
 

booth design with digital partners

Something to think about — As you are finding excuses about why not to exhibit, your time will be better spent finding a partner who you, would want to exhibit with. To survive in the "COLLABORATION ECONOMY" partnership is essential for the survival of your business and your brand. 

Why? THE QUICK ANSWER is, as technology and software become the defacto standard of our trade and commerce, "many new companies entering the market can minimize marketing and sales costs by cleverly attaching to the marketing machines of more established vendors."

skybay_BUDGETING_AND_MEASUREMENT

 "RECENT RESEARCH HAS SHOWN, IN FACT, THAT COMPANIES THAT ARE ABLE TO CREATE NEW PRODUCTS OR SERVICES WHILE MAINTAINING A BASELINE OF OTHER CAPABILITIES ARE THE FASTEST GROWERS."

The way forward to experience hyper-growth is to partner with start-ups or incubators, which can give companies access to a larger pool of emerging innovations and technologies.

Recently, L’Orιal invested in Founders Factory, a global digital accelerator and incubator based in London. As part of the agreement, "L’Orιal and Founders Factory will invest in and scale five early-stage beauty-related start-ups and co-create two new companies from scratch every year."

THE RESULT: NAIL ART introduced at CES2018
 

UV SENSO TO protect from sun screens-2.png

"The in-house team of experts at Founders Factory, provides hands-on support and advice to participating start-ups. The strategy provides an early look at innovative technologies and business models that relate to L’Orιal’s core business." 

 STEP 3.

STUDY THE BOOTH STAFFERS, STAFFING THE BOOTH OF THE OTHER PLAYERS

 Walk your trade show and see who does a good job engaging you, and who ignores you — even when you walk into their booth! 

Who pays attention to all attendees as they walk by, and who is on the phone, even when you reach for a business card on their table? 

Who is friendly even at the end of the show, and who looks like they need a trip to the spa? 

Who offers a friendly engaging question and turns it into a meaningful conversation, and who says “Hi,” with no eye contact or conversation.

How does their product demo compare with yours. Are they holding the interest of the attendees.

WATCH, TAKE NOTES, NOW WATCH THE DETAILS AGAIN, MINDFULLY — You are will amazed by the amount of of information that you you can gleam simply by watching and listening.

STEP 4.

GIVE YOURSELF THE PERMISSION TO BE HYPER SKEPTIC

A skeptic questions and doubts the existing rational framework of belief system.  Walk down the venue isle and start asking these questions. 

What trade show booths are getting more traffic?  Why and when?

Which booths seem to not only attract visitors, and helps them to be at ease.

Look for booth staffers and visitors truly engaged in meaningful conversations — what did they do to get there?

What at-show activities are generating a crowd, and keeping the right people in the booth?

What new trade show exhibit catches your eye?  Is it their messaging, shape, color, products, or something else? Are they attracting other visitors or are they just walking by?

How are booth staffers dressing? Is there a specific theme to it?

Where in the show hall are the hot spots of traffic — and did that change during the day?

Follow some attendees (at a discreet distance!) and watch what catches their eye, and what they blow right past.  

STEP 5.

EMPLOY ALL THE ABOVE DATA POINTS TO DRIVE A DESIGN LAYOUT THAT WILL ENCOURAGE USER EXPERIENCE AND USER INTERACTION AT YOUR NEXT SHOW 

KNOW THE POWER OF THESE 6 EXHIBIT DESIGN LAYOUT

 

1. THE CENTERPIECE 
2. THE CONGLOMORATION

3. THE CLUB OR FORTRESS

4. THE PLAZA

5. THE THEATER

6. THE AXIS OR THE CLASSIC

THE MECHANICAL IMAGE DRAWINGS ARE FROM EXHIBITORONLINE.COM

    

THE CENTERPIECE 

 

ONE PRODUCT OR EXPERIENTIAL ACTIVITY IS THE STAR FEATURE OF THIS DESIGN LAYOUT. GO WITH IT WHEN YOU HAVE A MAJOR PRODUCT LAUNCH OR AN ELABORATE GIVE AWAY FOR YOUR GRAND PRIZE DRAWING EVENT.

 THE CENTER STAGE CAN BE ALSO USED FOR JUGGLERS, MUSICIANS,  SMALL-ACT SCENES THAT TIES TO YOUR PRODUCT AND YOUR BRAND, OR THAT YOU CHOOSE TO PARTNER WITH. A GOOD IDEA IS TO CHOOSE A BEVERAGE OR A SNACK VENDOR THAT WILL HELP REMEMBER YOUR BRAND VIA OLFACTORY NERVES.

  ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

booth design based on centerpiece layout
 

THE CONGLOMERATION IS IDEAL FOR THE ONCOMING COLLABORATION ECONOMY

IN OUR AGE OF ONGOING ACQUISITION AND MERGERS, CONGLOMORATION BOOTH LAYOUT WORKS VERY WELL PUSHING THE CONCEPT OF "LEARNING AT YOUR OWN PACE". 

THIS DESIGN HELPS VISITORS TO EXPLORE AT THEIR OWN WILL AND SETS THEIR COURSE TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR MULTI-FACETED OFFERINGS. THIS DESIGN CAN LOOK UNIQUE AND CUTTING EDGE, BECAUSE, IT IS AN ARBITRARY ARRANGEMENT OF SHAPE, ACTIVITIES AND ASSETS.

THIS DESIGN FUNCTIONS VERY WELL AS WE MOVE INTO THE COLLABORATION ECONOMY. 

 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

booth design based on conglomeration layout

   THE CLUB OR THE FORTRESS

TRUE TO IT'S NAME, THIS DESIGN WILL DETER ATTENDEES FROM ENTERING YOUR BOOTH SPACE. THIS DESIGN HELPS YOUR BRAND LAUNCH WITH STEALTH — THE GOAL IS TO KEEP PROPRITARY INFORMATION WITHIN LIMITED VIEW AND OR CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE BY INVITATION ONLY — GO FOR IT IF YOU WANT MAKE YOUR CUSTOMERS FEEL REALLY SPECIAL.

OFTEN TIMES, CLIENTS RENT 2 SPACES — ONE SPACE THAT IS ALONG THE MAIN ISLE AND THE OTHER, MORE TOWARDS THE BACK. THEY USE THE ONE UP IN THE FRONT, TO QUALIFY AND THE CLUB DESIGN IN THE BACK, IS USED AS AN HOPITALITY SUITE TO ENTERTAIN THE QUALIFIED PROSPECTS FROM THE FRONT OF THE SHOW HALL. 

 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 

booth design based on fortress layout

 

THE PLAZA
 

A BIG OPEN SPACE IN THE CENTER FOR CASUAL CONVERSATION AND RELATIONSHIP BUILDING WITH THE SETTING OF PRODUCT AND BOOTH ACTIVITIES AS A BACKDROP. WITH ALL THE STRUCTURES PUSH OUT TOWARDS THE ISLE, THIS LAYOUT IS CONDUCIVE TO CONSTRUCT YOUR BRAND OFFERINGS FOR THE PROSPECTS WHO ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAP — GO FOR IT IF YOU HAVE QUALIFIED AND SEGMENTED YOUR PROSPECT ON THE ISLE 

 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 

booth design based on PLAZA layout 

THE THEATER

SINGULARLY FOCUSED, THE CORE PURPOSE OF THIS LAYOUT IS MULTI-MEDIA PRESENTATION, PRODUCT PRESENTATION, CUSTOMER SIGMENTATION, AUDIENCE SURVEY ACTIVITY ETC. ALLOW FOR ISLE MONITORS SHOWING PRESENTATION SCHEDULE, SPEAKER HIGHLIGHTS AND INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS — AND OFCOURSE, PEPPER IT WITH PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS.

 IF THEATER IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR DESIGN, USE THIS OPPORTUNITY, TO BREAK DOWN COMPLEX IDEAS AND CONCEPTS OF YOUR SERVICES AND PRODUCTS IN YOUR PRESENTATION.  BE SURE TO GET SPEAKERS WHO ARE INFLUENCERS IN YOUR INDUSTRY SEGMENT. INVITE PRODUCT MANAGERS AND THE C-SUITES  OF OTHER COMPANIES TO GENERATE BUZZ  

 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

booth design based on theater layout

THE AXIS OR THE CLASSIC LAYOUT

IF YOU HAVE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT PRODUCTS OR PARTNERS OF EQUAL IMPORTANCE, A CENTRAL STRUCTURE ACTS AS AXIS WITH INDEPENDENT ELEMENTS AROUND IT. HANGING SIGN, DOUBLE DECK, {IF NEED BE} OR TALL TOWER FORM THE CENTER ENCLAVE

IF YOU ARE MANUFACTURER, WITH SUPPLY CHAIN PARTNERS THIS IS GOOD LAYOUT 

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

booth design based on axis layout

 Congratulations! You have made this far. This shows your grit and determination.

Yes, this is a lot of information to take in. Book mark it. Go slow. Absorb it in your own time and space. Hopefully, this will a good exercise for your raw intellectual horsepower.

Trade shows are complex environments, dense with information. To prosper in exhibiting you have to stay curious, start deliberate thinking and expand your field of experimentation.

Here is to your toil and aspiration!