7 Blunders to Avoid with your Trade Show Display

Regardless whether you call them blunders, bloopers, or accidents, they can occur at any time at a trade show. Your trade show display is one of the most important parts of the show, so errors within it can really have a negative impact on the entire presentation. Sometimes these errors can not be avoided, but sometimes you can minimize the opportunities by avoiding these problems:

7. Risqué Material
Although risqué, inappropriate or offensive material appeals to some and may draw attention to a stand, the half-naked woman on a banner may also detract a greater number of people than it will ever attract. Before deciding on graphical components, off-color jokes, or even the proverbial “booth babes”, exhibitors should consider exactly who their audience is, and whether any members – especially any important members – of the target audience might be offended or turned off by the unexpected.

6. Not Proofreading
A trade show banner needs to be proofread prior to ever exiting location where it is made. A careless typographical error affects the entire message a company is presenting as well as the reputation of the business. For instance, if the slogan is, “The Importance of Proofreading” and a slight typographical error occurs, it could change the phrase into, “The Impotence of Proofreading.”

Or, if the slogan is supposed to read, “Assess Your Asset” and the there’s an “S” instead of a “T,” the entire concept of the slogan is ruined and in certain circumstances may become offensive.

Have someone that is completely uninvolved in the project proof read for you – the people working on it have read the words so many times they may not see the typo’s any more!

5. Translation Errors

Trade show displays are sometimes translated into different languages and the end result isn’t always pretty. The ballpoint manufacturer, Parker Pen used the saying, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you,” and mistranslated into Spanish. The ad that Parker Pen ran in Mexico ultimately relayed as, “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.” Phrasing should always be interpreted correctly and taken into consideration before entering into a foreign trade show. Ask a native speaker – or two of them – for help if you need to translate anything.

4. Not Checking Props
While checking the banner and the stand is a significant step in preparing for the show, the props associated with the presentation are just as important. A trade show regular will double check music, movies or any other additional material related to the presentation. A blunder like playing a child’s Sesame Street CD, rather than an informative lecture really weighs heavily on a company’s final product.

3. Not Developing a Checklist
Anyone who is a regular at creating trade show displays knows how easy it is to forget a prop or a piece of the display. One person from each display should be designated as the person to create a checklist. Additionally, someone should read over it a few times before leaving for the trade show and before setting up shop. And the checklist should be updated during and after every show – no need to keep making the same mistakes!

2. Improper Storage of a Display

Improperly storing an exhibit can possibly lead to theft, vandalism, as well as rust, warping and accidental damage to the exhibition stand. To avoid this problem, companies should store their display carefully, in protected areas – and should always double-check the entire display when packing it for a show. If an appropriate space isn’t available, use a professional trade show storage facility, since these places provide a staff to guard the stand and to conduct any necessary maintenance to it.

1. Not Planning Ahead

A few days is the difference between flawless trade show displays and a sloppy mess at your next trade show. Waiting until the last minute to prepare results in panic, chaos and leaves you paying extra for rush shipping even while you’re exposed and vulnerable to shipping mistakes and weather delays. Even rushing your graphics at the last minute can lead to typographical errors, forgotten parts and other blunders – plan ahead!

Trade shows are very effective marketing tools. They can be expensive, but the trade off is that you’re reaching a very large, targeted audience, which offers the opportunity for a great ROI (return on investment). Once you make the decision to attend a particular show, start the planning process – identify what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Track everything. That old business school adage with the 5 (or 6) “P’s” still works – Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance. (yes, we skipped the off-color version!)

If you made these mistakes, don’t let bad trade show reviews break you and to feel a little better, check out our article on the worst trade show mistake stories.

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