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5 Ways to Stand Out at Your Next Trade Show

Thursday, May 23, 2019

You’ve done the research and found just the right trade show(s) for your client, or company, to attend. The next step is figuring out how to separate your brand from all of the others in attendance, both from an attendee and exhibitor perspective.

If your client has invested the money for floor space in the exhibit hall, it’s your job to make the most of it and get as many people into their booth as possible.

Here are five ways I’ve found effective at doing just that:

1. Pay Attention to Booth Position

Just like in real estate, location is everything. Do your research early in the year (or even the year prior) so you know which shows to attend and can sign up early for. The earlier you commit, the better your chances of getting a prime location. Yes, it will probably be a higher investment, but even so, the high-traffic spots are coveted for a reason.

Even if you sign up later, though, talk with the organizers about choosing where you are positioned. It’s not uncommon for them to select for you, but it’s always worth asking in case requests can be accommodated.

To that end, always ask who is going to be around you. This will help you better position your brand activation so it stands out and doesn’t blend in with the nearby booths.

2. Build Up, Not Out

You don’t need to have the most square footage to draw attention, just the most effective use of it. Multi-level booth construction provides many benefits. It will:

  1. Help your brand get seen from across the hall.
  2. Spark interest and engagement with the brand as guests walk up to explore what they can’t see from the ground level.
  3. Be memorable among a sea of one-level booths.

Creating an eye-catching design, like this 20-foot tree for La Poste’s activation at CES 2019, that will not only grab attention but intrigue attendees to come over and see just what you have going on there. Bonus: This is an Instagrammable moment that will expand your reach even further than the show floor.

3. Pre-Show Communications to Attendees

You most likely won’t be able to get the list of registrants until after the show is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with them beforehand. One of the biggest mistakes I see brands making is investing in a show, then never telling anyone about it.

Whether it’s posts on your own social media pages, emails to your list of clients and prospects, or targeted Facebook ads to anyone who “Likes” the show page, there are various ways to get in front of potential attendees before the show so they know to come look for you onsite.

4. Analyze Booth Performance

If you have been to this show before, then the successive year is going to be about making it better than before. If this is the first time exhibiting, then you'll need to collect the data to determine if it’s worth coming back.

How do you do that? Coming from France, I’ve used this software called Bziiit, which uses cameras set up on your booth and AI technology to analyze the passerby rate, how long people stay in your booth, how many contacts you collect and more. This information is invaluable to creating a good design that will bring them in and keep them there talking to your brand representatives.

Another option is to contact a videography company to set up a series of cameras or a single wide-pan camera to record the happenings at your booth and the surrounding area. This can then be watched after the event at a faster loop to manually evaluate the traffic flow and peak times, then applied to your next year’s activation.

5. Technology

Incorporating technology is a necessary part of any successful exhibition. That doesn’t mean you have to do it the same old ways that others have done, though. Find new ways to incorporate tech that will interact with your guests, not just engage them.

One way this can be done is through the use of a touchscreen with AI employed where an avatar will converse with them in based on a series of predefined questions they select.

I have also used robots wearing T-shirts with my clients’ logo to roam around the floor and draw people back to the booth. The robot was controlled by my phone so additional staff wasn’t needed and I could still follow what was happening while it was further away or manning the booth for my client.

Valerie Bihet has more than 20 years of experience in the management, design and production of special events that communicate and achieve her client’s objectives. Her event experience spans high-profile social occasions, nonprofit fundraisers, corporate meetings, conferences, product launches and incentive trips. In 2004, Bihet founded VIBE, an event design and destination management company, in Miami. Since then, she has grown the company to eight employees and produced more than 1,100 events throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, East Asia and South America.

Tags: event planning , trade show , live events industry , live events