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Trade Show Booth Design: The Art of Attracting Attendees

Marketing has gone through tectonic shifts, especially in the last decade or so.  We have made the shift from print media to online media.  We are witnessing the introduction of new tools (almost every day) that make our communication with potential customers more efficient.  We are in the organic valley of social media indulging in a relentless two-way communication loop.  As a result, our addiction to real-time communication is simply voracious and our attention to focus is scattered.  And, these are only a few of the recent changes that the marketing industry has gone through.

Given this technological dynamic, we as trade show marketers often question the viability of exhibiting at trade shows.  The short answer to this concern is: Trade shows have never presented a better opportunity for an exhibitor to get in front of decision makers.  Premium level decision makers now walk the show.  They are there because they have a need that is not currently being met.  I guess, technology has not yet managed to eradicate the desire for the high touch of human interaction.

Now that we know who our target audience is, let’s fashion a trade show booth that will attract their attention and sustain their scrutiny.  We have to become skilled in the art of attraction.

design tradeshow booth

Here are some pointers that always work!

Design with a Themed Purpose: In the illustration above, we designed a 50’s theme trade show exhibit with a flair for high touch modernity.  Nostalgic times in stride with technologically advanced products!  Don’t stop there.  Use high-appeal promotional giveaways.  It is all about perception.  How do you want to be remembered?  This should be the end game of anything and everything that you do.

Design with a Presence: Your graphics must always be larger than life. Your architecture must be self defining.  Always keep in mind of your target audience.

Design with a Flow: Keep in mind about the laws governing spatial arrangement in relation to the flow of energy.  Have ample areas for natural clustering.  Have a sculpture or perhaps a multiple screen projection that wows the audience. Again, you are going for memorability.  In the above illustration, the corner of the booth was highlighted with a car from the 50’s.

Design for a Motion: As Tony Robbins says: emotion is always moved by motion.  Movement attracts our eyes and turns our bodies.  Implant a juggler, blow bubbles or simply play with a yo-yo.  Integrate it with your value statement.

Design for the Limbic System: Our sensory receptors reacts to the stimulation from our environment.  Make clever use of this proven method for your booth design.  Lavish your space with texture, light, sound, smell and color.

“Colors answer feeling in man; shapes answer thought; and motion answers will.”

“There’s a collection of Zen koans called the Gateless Gate.  Among other things, koans transcend dualism.  The traditional sales process is fully dualistic – there’s a buyer, and there’s a seller.  We are witnessing the dissolution of the traditional sales role, as recommendation commerce evolves and storefronts become wherever you happen to be, doing whatever you are doing.  Which brings us to the Storeless Store and Saleless Sale.”  Valeria Maltoni.

And my friends, this is the new face of trade show marketing!

What's Working In ExhibitingGet more design tips along with ideas for budgeting, lead management, promotions and more in the What’s Working In Exhibiting white paper.  Click here to request your free copy of the 32-page guide. 

About the Author

Sarmistha Tarafder is the Creative Director and Choice Architect for Skyline Northern California trade show exhibits. She is the co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.

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