5 Rules for a Trade Show Booth that Reflects Your Brand

October 4, 2016

Building a brand is labor of love. It’s a careful balance between the art of creative with the science of marketing.

Yet, this labor of love is also challenging. With so many elements involved, it’s easy for your brand to become muddled and inconsistent across different marketing channels.

Trade shows are no exception. Translating your 2D brand into a 3D trade show exhibit while staying true to your brand requires experience, focus, and some know-how. To get started, pull out your brand guidelines and follow these 5 essential rules for creating a booth that reflects your brand.

Rule #1: Identify the goal of your exhibit.

Why are you exhibiting at this show? There are many potential answers: to promote a product launch, generate brand awareness, and so much more. No matter what it is, this goal should be defined before you step foot in the event.

Identifying your exhibit’s goal is step one to framing an exhibit design consistent with your brand. It’s because your trade show goal should fall underneath your brand’s overall goal.

For example, say you’re a consumer technology brand. Your company-wide goal may be to become the number-one supplier of wearable technology in the world. To reach that goal, however, you may also need to be considered the top brand for smart watches.

Exhibiting at a trade show is a great way to help achieve this more specific goal. But, at the end of the day, it needs to align with that bigger target of being the go-to technology brand for consumers

Rule #2: Don’t just follow a visual strategy – follow a brand strategy.

Your brand is more than a logo and a color scheme. Therefore, your trade show exhibit design should be, too.

There are three essential elements to executing a brand strategy with your trade show booth. Start here:

1. Aligning with key stakeholders – Before jumping into a design for your booth, you should communicate with key members of your leadership, advertising, and PR teams to keep your overall strategy clear and focused.

2. Establishing visual and tonal guidelines – Use your pre-existing brand guidelines as a template for creating your exhibit. This way, your booth’s look, feel and tone will not stray from your brand’s established identity.

3. Translating your brand throughout your exhibit – This includes all of your trade show graphics, promotional marketing and collateral, as well as your staff (after all, they will be the advocates of your brand for the day!).

Rule #3: Say no to gimmicks.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of a trade show, you will have to compete with other booths for attention. And while it may be tempting to go over the top with your design and technology to capture that attention, it should not come at the price of diluting your brand.

Almost 9 out of 10 consumers will take action to reward a brand for its authenticity. To remain authentic, integrate technology and giveaways into your booth that make sense for your brand and for your consumer.

Rule #4: Keep your messaging focused and logical.

Logical messaging provides the blueprint for your brand to stay consistent throughout different campaigns. To keep your message focused (while also staying relevant to your brand), use the following template:

1. Brand Promise – What is the tangible benefit that makes your product or service desirable?

2. Value Proposition – Why does your product or service solve your customer’s problem?

3. Value Description – In greater detail, how does your product or service improve your customer’s life?

If you ensure that your messaging includes each of these three elements, your exhibit will clearly communicate why potential customers should consider your brand (all while staying in-line with your brand’s original identity).

Rule #5: To stay true to your brand, stay true to your customers.

By nature, branding is a little egocentric. It has to be. After all, a brand’s sense of self is what differentiates it from other companies. But one of the biggest mistakes made by brands at trade shows is becoming so focused on communicating their own message that they forget about their customers’ experience.

Above all, you need to solve your customers’ problems, make their lives easier, and provide them something of value. Beautiful and consistent branding won’t accomplish that. If you want to succeed at a trade show, start with a customer-focused strategy; from there, your branding will fall in line.

Ready to create a living, breathing representation of your brand? Contact us today, and let’s get started designing your next trade show exhibit.