Trade shows are a good opportunity to promote your brand identity, increase sales and build relationships. However, if you don’t know how to brand your company, then you won’t get the most out of the trade shows you attend. Perhaps marketing is unfamiliar to you because you’ve recently started your first company; or maybe it’s not and you just need advice. Whichever situation you’re in, you’ll learn how to effectively market your company.
Define your Brand Identity
Your brand identity is your company’s personality and Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your brand’s personality are human characteristics. To discover your brand’s personality, review your company’s mission statement and observe your company’s culture. Your USP tells your target audience why they should choose you over your competitors. To find your USP, research your competitors and find out the advantages you have over your competitors. Specifically, find out what your company does more efficiently, or what you can offer that your competitors don’t.
Designing Your Exhibit
Now that your identity crisis is over, it’s time to set your goal for the trade show. Common objectives are to increase brand awareness, generate leads and promote products and services. Knowing your goal and brand identity will help you determine your booth size and layout. Also, you’ll know which graphics, colors and booth accessories to use.
Booths come in various sizes and layouts, but the standard sizes are the 10’x10′, 10’x20′ and 20’x20′. Each size can fit a small, medium or large business, respectively. Booths also come in different layouts such as: the portable display, the island exhibit, the peninsula exhibit and the inline exhibit. Choose a booth with enough space for your staff, visitors and needed materials. You don’t want a crowded booth with people stepping on each other heels. So choose a booth design that allows traffic to flow freely.
Types of Graphics
Graphics are a good way to bring attention to your brand and convey important information. There are different kinds of images you can display at your booth, such as long-range, mid-range and short-range graphics. If you want everyone to see your brand name and logo, then choose the long-range. This graphic hangs from the ceiling and can be seen from over 100 ft. Mid-range graphics can be seen 10-50 ft. away, and these signs are meant to attract nearby people to your booth. Lastly, short-range graphics are placed inside your booth and can be seen from 1-10 ft. away. Typically, these signs display charts, graphs and infographics and require a more up-close reading.
Your graphics should convey your brand’s personality and your USP. To do this effectively, you have to choose the right colors because each one evokes a different emotion or quality. For instance, imagine a daycare center with little lighting and a painting of the Grim Reaper on the front. Many wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving their child there. Instead, the daycare should use calm or bright colors like blue and orange. Also, the color arrangement should be pleasing to the eye.
Your booth’s decor can be an expression of your brand’s personality. Booth accessories are tables, table covers, chairs, LCD screens and LCD lighting and literature racks. These items serve a functional purpose, but the style and arrangement of these accessories evoke a certain vibe. So think about how you want visitors to feel when they walk in. What’s the unspoken message that you want to send? If you’re a life insurance company, you don’t want a drab color arrangement. You want prospects to feel comfortable, not depressed.
Increasing Brand Awareness
Before the show, share the event on social media, and send out personal invitations to potential prospects. Provide a good incentive so prospects will accept your invitation. During the event, find a way to incentivize visitors to promote your company on social media. Promotional items could somehow be used as an incentive.
When choosing promotional items, make sure your items align with your brand image. For instance, if your brand image is centered on high quality, don’t give out cheaply made items. Also, the items you choose should be useful and therefore worth keeping. For instance, tote bags and t-shirts are classic promotional items that aren’t easily thrown away.
It’s important to choose the right people to represent your brand. If they are always rude, lazy, unenthused and aren’t knowledgeable about your products and services, then it’s time to give them the boot. Before the show, everyone should have an assigned role, which provides organization and shows professionalism. During the show, your staff should be listening to visitors and ready to answer any questions. They shouldn’t be mentally checked out and wondering what’s for lunch. Having a staff that doesn’t listen means missing out on crucial information that could improve your company.