Do you have trade shows and sampling events in your marketing plan this year? If yes, then you know events can be expensive with the booth fee, travel, shipping, and product samples. You’ve seen high energy booths buzzing with activities and others that are duds, void of energy, and you walk by without stopping, not knowing if they might have the most amazing product. Develop a creative booth design that attracts attendees’ attention, and your events will yield a good return on your investment and an abundance of new brand fans.
Let’s get started with five marketing tips for creating an eye-catching booth that gets noticed and creates buzz for your brand.
Think Brand, Not Product
Of course you want to showcase your product or service, but be strategic and use your booth space to create a brand experience. Go beyond featuring your packaging and logo as many times as you can fit it into your booth. This is an opportunity to showcase your brand style and reinforce the brand’s core values.
What does the brand stand for? Do you have a healthy lifestyle brand? Do you have a community-focused brand? Are you a mission-driven company supporting other cultures and social issues? Show potential customers your brand’s personality and passions.
Does your food brand have a fun theme for the home chef? Create a kitchen themed booth. For the Natural Product Expo trade show, Stonyfield Organic built a barn themed booth that reinforced their brand values and commitment to supporting organic farmers.
Using your brand colors is important for consistency, but don’t stop there. Use bold visuals that tell the brand story. Maybe you want to show where product your ingredients are from or how they are lovingly prepared. Music can also tell your brand story. (Note: Some neighboring booths may not enjoy your live drumming as much as you do and prefer a quieter space for conversations with potential customers.)
Remember that what you wear in the booth also reinforces your brand. Maybe you go with a fun pair of printed pants, or aprons that match the product theme, or a traditional outfit for regional products. This shows brand personality and increases brand visibility as your team walks to and from the event area, as well as peaks curiosity to visit your booth. If you’re printing t-shirts, remember the back of your shirt is as important as the front of your shirt. Put a clever message on the back (and your booth number), and you’ll attract more attention.
Healthy products and natural foods are no longer bland and boring. Your booth shouldn’t be either. Think about how packaging needs to be distinctive and vibrant to catch consumers’ attention. At large consumer sampling events and international trade events such as Biofach and the Fancy Food Specialty Shows, there are thousands of competitor brands. Create a larger than life visual. Think outside of the box. For example, you can create one oversized version of your packaging that is lightweight and not expensive to ship. These unexpected sizes catch the eye of event attendees, as well as the attention of media and bloggers who are looking for a great visual.
Be sure to check if the show hall has any height restrictions. You don’t want to arrive with your amazing booth and find out that you can’t display it because it does not meet show rules.
Be Social Media Friendly
More than ever, event attendees are sharing new product finds on social media (including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, and LinkedIn). Inspire social media sharing, aka “Instagramable moments” (yes, bloggers say that), in your booth with clever signs and fun photo opportunities, and give away a branded copy of the photo. Also, actively follow the social media posts for the event, join the social media event conversation, and use the official event hashtag in your posts. Large events have lots of social media activity prior, during, and after the show where you can connect with buyers, media, and partners if you have an active social media presence.
Don’t forget to have your social media account name visible in the booth so people can quickly tag your brand in their post.
Lead the Way With Lighting
After you’ve created beautiful, interesting graphics, it’s time to shine the light. You can rent lighting, arrange for ceiling spotlights (at some shows), or bring your own lighting. Similar to a well-lit photograph, people are drawn into a well-lit space and it directs customers’ eyes to your booth and products.
If you bring your own lighting, remember to pack an extra bulb. You can’t pick up spotlight bulbs at the corner store, so pack an extra bulb and you’ll be all set in case one burns out during the event.
Create a Welcoming Space
Trade shows and sampling events are an opportunity to discover new brands, meet the makers, and have one-on-one conversations with key people in your industry, so don’t create a booth space that creates barriers to talking. Don’t completely block the front of the booth with a boring table.
Use table coverings that have a unique look and match your brand style. Consider a bar height table that elevates your products and takes up less space. Above all, promise that you won’t use the standard plastic table cover and polyester table skirt, especially at a natural products event.
When you see a booth that’s overflowing with people, you’re more likely to stop and check it out. You might need a large double or island booth if you’re preparing food samples and need space for meetings or demos. If you have a large space, create different functional areas. Note: Sometimes a large booth can feel empty if there’s not a lot of action in the booth.
Check out Pinterest for creative booth design ideas and marketing inspiration.
Maximize your investment
To create successful event marketing, you need to think strategically and creatively. Do you need help developing your event marketing and social media plans, and getting visibility for your brand? Would you like help with the detailed planning and implementation? We love events! And all the details that make events successful. How can we help you?
This is a great post thanks so much for sharing it. It has a lot of real value. Two additional tips for Social Media. Schedule a base of tweets for each hour of the tradeshow on Twiiter. Very easy to do with something HootSuite. Include the booth number and highlight all the features of your booth.
If you have the ability to hire or take your own teenager let them wander the show doing interviews. Make sure you have a branded t-shirt so your logo shows up in all the videos and selfies.
Hi Beth, thanks for sharing ideas. Scheduling a number of posts prior to the show is super helpful. See you on Twitter and at the next natural products show!
Thank you for these tips. At any time, we need to be aware of these aspects, so I am going to put them to good use at Nature Fresh. Larger than Life indeed!
Sue, good luck with your event marketing. Send a tweet to @JuteMarketing with your larger than life plans. Love seeing creative ideas.