Apply Psychology to Craft an Irresistible Trade Show Display!

Trade shows are huge warehouses of information.  As everyone who’s ever been to one knows, the cacophony of stimuli becomes overwhelming.  If you don’t stand out in the crowd of displays – and more importantly, make it out of the crowd and into people’s long-term memories – you’re aiming too low!

The goal isn’t just to be there, but to be remembered.

Long-term memory is best engaged when people act or are affected in ways that are pleasant, unexpected, and distinct.

With a little creativity, you can build an absolutely irresistible trade show display.  Here’s 4 tips towards making the most of every minute at your next event:

1) Interactivity is the golden ticket
More than anything else, creating a fantastic trade show display means giving people the ability to interact.  One of the best ways to tap into a person’s long-term memory is by getting them to physically act in response to the information they’re receiving.

Think about ways that you can get people to creatively interact with your display:

  • Create a game that makes intangible information visual.  Make it big enough that people can see it when they walk by, and intuitive enough that they can play it easily
  • Make your product into something that gets people’s kids involved
  • Stage a drawing for a valuable product and capture emails – for newsletter lists, of course – as the entry feetote bags
  • Give away swag with your branding on it – preferably wrapped attractively, so they feel like they’re opening a gift.  A simple gift bag, or a ribbon tied in a bow will work just fine.
  • Re-create the setting, in miniature if need be, that illustrates a part of your process
  • Display a digital photo frame with a slide show explaining your business. Annotate the photos with snippets of information
  • Have a mannequin serve as a “volunteer”, and show people how to perform part of your process on it – make sure you offer to let them do it!

2) Employ colors, textures, sounds, smells, tastes…

Anything you can do to engage more senses puts you a step ahead in the game.  The physical environment at a trade show is a blank canvas – and your display is a little environment that you have to build from the ground up.

Everyone has a dominant sensory mode that triggers long-term memory.  The more senses you get involved with your trade show display, the more likely you are to effectively be remembered by a wide array of people.

3) Manipulate the light

If it’s possible, manipulate the lighting over your trade show display.  Most trade shows are held in enormous spaces, lit by LED or fluorescent light.  This light is harsh and unnatural, and over time it becomes an imperceptible irritant and a source of stress on people.

Changing the lighting over your display immediately reduces stress and creates a welcoming presence.  Whether you have an awning that diffuses some of the ambient light, or add some soft natural light displays of your own.  Setting yourself apart from the general atmosphere makes you immediately distinct, and therefore memorable.

4) Your brand should be conspicuous – and ubiquitous

As you create different display items, make sure your branding is consistent – and everywhere.  Once you have your trade show display set up, take a step back with a critical eye, and think about how a newcomer will approach the display out of a crowd.

Remember: when people confront a new experience, they look at the overall picture.  Once someone decides to engage, they start paying attention to details.  Make sure branding is front-and-center, and un-obnoxiously on as many surfaces as possible!

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