Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Simplify Your Message

Don't leave your exhibit visitors guessing.
You might be surprised how often exhibitors do.

After exiting an exhibit, what message or memory stands out? Other than a booth being really interesting or innovative, is there a lasting message—and does it relate to the company’s products or objectives?

Exhibitor editor, Travis Stanton suggests practicing “The Postcard Principle.”  If you were about to mail a postcard with a breathtaking photo of the exhibit on the front, what would you write on the back? Can you boil the exhibit’s intended selling points down to just a few words?  Has the exhibit’s key takeaway been reinforced by not only the appearance of the booth, but also the attendee’s experience while at the booth?

Of course this is easier said than done.  Simple is never easy.  However, Stanton explains that although simplifying your trade show objective may be difficult, once it has been simplified, the rest of the planning falls easily into place.  Not only will your exhibit visitors leave your booth with a clear message, but seeing that message from the beginning can and should drive every other decision you make.

Smart exhibitors, who begin by examining their intended takeaway, reap the benefits of reverse engineering because that message should provide the inspiration for your graphics, booth layout & atmosphere, exhibit activity, product handouts and giveaways.  At the very least, the message should offer a foundation for the informal script you create for staffer engagements with attendees.

From Exhibitor’s monthly feature “Ideas that Work,” we have selected five exhibits to evaluate whether they meet the test of simple, unified and reinforced messaging that could easily be summed up on the back of a postcard.

What would you write on your postcard after visiting these exhibits?

AMERICAN EXPRESS - App for Matching Receipts to Statements
To be reminded of the constant frustration
of retaining receipts for company reimbursement,
attendees play a game of "Capture the Receipt."

  • While enclosed in a phone booth like structure, each attendee experiences the frustration of holding onto receipts while receipts are blown with strong fans around her. 
  • As receipts swirl around phone booth, each attendee has 30 seconds to grab as many receipts as possible for prizes. 
  • Prizes. T-shirts and gift certificates. 

FIRST CLASS SEATING - Luxury Event Chairs

  • Attendees sit in luxury seating in airplane setting to associate event chairs with the first class air travel experience. 
  • Staffers dressed as flight attendants explain the myriad of applications for the new event seating.
  • Airline-style snacks such as packets of peanuts. 

FIZIK BICYCLE SEATS - Ergonomic Bicycle Seats
Attendees play a game of tossing rings to
win an ergonomic bicycle seat.
  • Attendee is personally fitted for a Fizik bicycle seat enabling her to experience the comfort and performance benefits of a proper-fitting, ergonomic seat.
  • Attendees participate in seat-sizing activities which involve testing spine curvature. Once ideal seat is selected, attendee has the opportunity to win the seat in a ring-toss game.
  • Prize is personally-fitted bicycle seat.


  • Experience your caricature as part of a large cityscape caricature of the mountain-resort town of Ogden, Utah. 
  • While caricature is drawn, staffers discuss Ogden’s many meeting friendly attributes. 
  • Your personal caricature and photo of your caricature placed within 10 x 10 cityscape caricature of Ogden. 

ANTIY LABS - Antivirus Software
Attendees learn about the latest malware,
while playing their own card game of chance.

  • Attendees experience the random nature of malicious malware attacks by participating in a card game of chance.
  • Collecting whimsically-illustrated playing cards with each card providing the name and description of the latest malware.
  • Playing cards. With handy QR code linked to company’s website.

Simplify Your Message Without Starting from Scratch

DisplayStar can help you direct and reinforce your message.  The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch.  Often, the right banner or accessory added to your existing display is all you need.

Banners work great to update booths for new products or services—and sales promotions.  Adding the right accessory to your display can completely change the focus.  For example, counters are ideal for product demonstrations and slat walls are perfect for hanging apparel.

For presenting a more detailed message, add a monitor mount to hold a flat panel screen.  The screen can be positioned for maximum visibility in a crowded booth.  Or, convenient for an off-site presenter to attend shows via videoconference.

Adding Banner Stands to your display is a great way to
channel and reinforce your message.  

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