Six Do’s & Don’ts for Creating Impact
The graphic elements of your trade show display are as essential to getting results as the paint on an artist’s canvas. There are many creative directions you can go with this idea, and many of your competitors will default to using the company logo for their graphic because it’s easiest. But this works best when you have firm brand recognition, like Apple Computer or a compelling, attention-grabbing logo like Target Stores, or you have a combination of both, like McDonald’s
But if you don’t have that concrete brand recognition yet, there are plenty of alternatives to effectively executing the use of your trade show display graphics. Here are some guidelines you should follow to give you the best chance at getting the results you want.
Think from the Customer’s Perspective – If a prospect knows nothing about your company, what would you first want them to know or understand about you? And how can you communicate that in your trade show display graphics at first glance? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – most of us know from Marketing 101 that if you don’t get the customer’s attention in a few seconds, you can forget it. So, don’t waste their time – make them feel grateful that they stopped to talk to you.
Have a Clear Goal for the Prospect – Know the result you want from the prospect before you even get started. Do you want the prospect to associate your product with fun, reliability or strength? Or, maybe you want to encourage the prospect to come to your sales staff for more information? Or do you want to go straight for the sale? It’s best to get clear before you even start brainstorming possibilities so that your message will not get buried under other intentions.
Keep Your Marketing Message Concise – Attendees have much ground to cover at trade shows and not a lot of time to accomplish the task. The more directly and concisely your message is communicated through your trade show graphics, the easier it will be for prospects to make a decision to stop at your trade show booth or keep going. The message should not require a lot of effort to understand – keeping it short, simple and to the point is best.
Test It – Run the idea by a handful of people who are not marketing-minded and don’t mind hurting your feelings if they don’t like or agree with your ideas. You don’t need “yes-men,” rather, you need people who will be brutally honest and clearly express when they like or don’t like something, understand or don’t understand it. You need honest, gut-reactions to your trade show graphics. It’s always a good idea to ask for feedback – no matter how informal the testing process – before running with it.
Clutter the Message with Details – Keep in mind that the graphical elements of your trade show display should be designed to get the prospect’s attention. Any specifics that you want to communicate can be effectively done with brochures, postcards and other marketing materials. Too much text that attempts to explain the graphics is futile – and if the graphic makes no sense when you remove the bulk of the text, then you need a new graphic.
Settle for a Concept that Doesn’t Work – If you find yourself struggling too much to make the trade show display graphics work, or you aren’t getting the response you intended when sharing the concept with others, don’t try to force it. Go back to the drawing board rather than wasting your energy to push something that does not work. Prospects will be turned off by such an attempt, and you’ll be driving traffic away from you and toward your competitor’s trade show booth instead.
Trade show display graphics are a crucial element in making your space attractive to prospects. Next to actually purchasing the display, your trade show graphics are the most essential element of the display. As you plan your presentation for your next trade show, take time with the specific graphical design elements because these are one of the details the prospect will recognize that separates you from your competitors.