DESIGNING AND BUILDING YOUR STORYTELLING TRADE SHOW BOOTH

Posted on 08/31/2022 | 5 minutes read

"The booth must tell your brand's story, but in a way that involves the consumer and makes them a part of it. You need to convey your company's mission statement and educate the consumer about your product line while entertaining them."

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Once you move along your business development path and fully integrate your marketing plan with your public relations, you need to attend conventions and conferences to conduct experiential marketing endeavours. You need to create something larger than your product packing and unboxing experience. You need a conference booth.



IMPORTANCE OF A TRADE SHOW AND CONVENTION BOOTH


Your booth won't just serve you at a single conference or convention. It needs to travel with you to tradeshows, too. You might use the travelling booth at standalone events, too, such as experiential marketing events you hold in malls or shopping centres.


The booth must tell your brand's story, but in a way that involves the consumer and makes them a part of it. You need to convey your company's mission statement and educate the consumer about your product line while entertaining them.


That might sound impossible if you have never attended a convention, conference, or standalone activation, as they're called. You may never have heard or read the term experiential marketing and not realize that it needs to comprise a valuable part of your marketing strategy, plan, and execution. It refers to marketing through interactive, in-person experience.


Some booth experiences only provide a snazzy-looking information window from which you distribute marketing collateral and promotional items. Others provide an integrated theme that ties in with the collateral, promo items, and event. Your collateral and supporting pieces need to address three points:



  • Your brand promise that explains the main benefits of your product and what makes it attractive to consumers.


  • Your value proposition, which is how the product solves a particular problem.


  • Your value description, which explains how the product or service improves the consumer's life.



Creating a booth can mean creating only one small, one-person booth, or it can refer to a multi-unit, stage set from which you work. You decide your theme, how you'll engage consumers, and the setting in which you'll do that. Your tradeshow booth design delivers it.


Let's look at two examples of tradeshow booth design before diving into designing them - SPIbelt and Boy Scouts of America. The former uses a single booth design, while the latter uses a multi-stage experiential set.




SPIBELT


SPIbelt uses a straightforward, austere booth design with a collapsible background that its promotional staff can hang a belt on by inserting hooks. The booth isn't fully enclosed, so visitors to the tradeshow or convention can approach it from various directions and walk into the area rather than up to it.


Typically manned by a two-person team, each promo model answers consumers' questions about the product. They can provide printed collateral, but typically direct the users to the SPIbelt website. They can sell belts from the tradeshow booth, or the consumer can order them online. A hideaway area lets the promo models stash a couple of boxes of belts where they can't be seen or easily reached, but when the booth empties, it puts them close enough to re-stock the background wall.




BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA


Boy Scouts of America (BSA) operates large-scale experiential marketing activations at long-term events, such as state fairs. These booths might run for one to two weeks at a time. This time length requires tough materials and a thematic design that ties together all the stations. BSA often uses tents for this process. Their activation also ties to their marketing, but their organization is their product. One of the booths may accept registrations for scouts or provide information on local scouting troupes. Other stations in the activation provide consumers opportunities for fun activities that link to the mission of BSA. This may include a photo booth with green screen that lets the individual seem to rock climb or hike in the wilderness. Some stations may include portable equipment such as a rock climbing wall, ropes course, or carnival games. The scouting organization revamps its experiential marketing activation every few years.




CREATING YOUR BOOTH


If you're just starting your business and have yet to attend a tradeshow or conference as a vendor, those examples may seem out of reach or far-fetched. You probably can't conceive of a portable rock climbing wall or a green screen photo booth, but they are out there. They exist and consumers find them really fun.


To get your brand to this point, you need to design with those three aforementioned points.



  • You decide on your theme.


  • You decide how you'll engage consumers.


  • You decide in what setting you'll do that.




1. PICK A THEME


Your booth's theme needs to tie in to the context of your product, exhibition, and overall marketing message. What do you want people to feel when they approach or enter your booth? You need to present your value proposition and evoke an emotional response from the consumer via your exhibit design.



2. CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT


Determine who your brand activation will showcase. Do you want it to focus on the company founder, employees, or your customers? While you will show your products, you should not completely focus on them. The booth is designed to get your customers and potential customers to interact with your product and experiences related to it. A phone manufacturer or cell service provider might create a game visitors can play on their latest model display phones. You might give away cupcakes or cookies. Another option is to provide promotional goodies like baseball caps or t-shirts, pens or drink coozies. These items pay you back with free advertising. When people use them or wear them, you earn free advertising.



3. CHOOSE YOUR SETTING


With today's technology, your brand experience design can transport your audience using an augmented or virtual reality (VR) environment. You can let them fly on your airline from your booth to experience first class or slip behind the wheel of your new vehicle model. You can use a VR wand that you design to look like your new rod and reel to simulate a fishing experience while the consumer stands in your booth. Your imagination and budget set the limit on setting. You can create a vast six to eight station experience like BSA or a simple, single booth like SPIbelt.




BUILDING AND DESIGN


Once you choose your angle and design your booth, you only have building it left before you can foray into the wonderful world of experiential marketing. Making it easy to construct and disassemble makes it easier to move from one tradeshow to the next, something your company representative will appreciate while on the road. Remember these four takeaways:


  • Your marketing plan needs experiential marketing included in it.


  • Your trade show or convention booth needs a theme that merges with your products, mission statement, and target audience.


  • Your booth should encourage consumer engagement with your products and provide a fun experience.


  • Your booth needs a setting, much like a film or TV show uses a setting and set.



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ABOUT ARC & CO. DESIGN COLLECTIVE


Arc & Co. Design Collective transforms your brand messages into engaging physical brand experiences that increase your brand's perceived value and loyalty with your customers. By utilizing our proprietary FOUR Dimensions Framework™, we strategize, conceptualize, innovate and design experiential packaging and brand activation spaces that will complement your business and keep you ahead of the competition.


Get in touch with us to discover how we can assist in integrating a physical brand experience into your marketing strategy.

TL ; DR NOTES

Your marketing plan needs experiential marketing included in it.



Your trade show or convention booth needs a theme that merges with your products, mission statement, and target audience.



Your booth should encourage consumer engagement with your products and provide a fun experience.



Your booth needs a setting, much like a film or TV show uses a setting and set.

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