In or Out – Where To Go With Your Trade Show Displays
In terms of overall trends in design, trade show displays have been in flux for the last few years. As Internet technologies march ceaselessly forward, new ideas are born by the thousands every day, creating a sea of little ideas all fighting to be the next Big Idea.
At this point, after several years of seeing pretty much every postmodern trick that’s still possible on a Euclidean plane, about the only thing that’s been decided is that everyone is trying to be different and get noticed. That means coming up with a different look, not using the same cookie-cutter fabric popup that has been used for the last 15-20 years. However, opinions are varied on where to go from there.
Some like Audi at CES 2013 look to enclose the entire event and create a separate space of their own, a totally controlled environment. Others are looking to move outside, looking to make use of the great outdoors.
If you’re thinking about going one way or the other with your business’s next trade show appearance, but unsure, we wanted to take a look at the sort of impression each approach would likely leave on a visitor.
Which Direction To Take Your Next Trade Show Displays
I. Inside: The Allure of Control
If you believe your brand should be An Experience as much as it may be a business underneath, and you are focused and enjoy handcrafting an image tailored to very specific clientele, there’s a lot to be said for enclosing your expo displays and isolating them from the rest of the show.
Virtually any material can be used to separate out your trade show booths from the rest of the floor – even simple drop cloths will do. More expensive means could include truss displays and utilizing room dividers in your expo stands, or hiring contractors and being limited only by budget.
Once within, you’ve got your visitors inside a perceptual bubble where the rest of the convention is minimized. You can create an image and look entirely your own. Even better, you’ll be able to keep the competition (and some curious onlookers) wondering what all the fuss is about!
These enclosed spaces are also perfect for trade show exhibits & displays targeted at audiences that, for whatever reason, want to get away from the press and bustle of so many people for a few minutes. The mash up of electronic and physical interactions at trade shows can be exhausting to those unused to the frantic pace – an enclosed area allows you to create a little sensory oasis as well.
Of course, all this may seem a tad unfriendly to the uninvited as well, so this wouldn’t be the best approach for a company wanting to seem more approachable. However, for exhibitors who know their audience wants to have space and a controlled experience, enclosed trade show displays allow you to show off just how well you know your industry
II. Outside: Joining The Buzz
The opposite direction is also available: Moving to make yourself, your company, and your trade show displays more mobile, via wireless technologies. Collaboration is one of the hottest trends in all Internet ventures at the moment – companies looking to move outdoors stand to impress those looking to leverage the power of mobile communications.
Why remain locked up in a stuffy, poorly temperature-controlled trade show when most exhibit halls have green space and other outdoors areas around their complexes? Shared parks, outdoor walks, even the parking lot can be areas that connect to your overall trade show presentation. Your message can be as distributed as online file transfers, with a little creativity.
Outdoors solutions are for companies looking to push modern technologies. They’re looking to appeal to younger businesspeople, ones who are beginning to wonder if there’s any need for “an office” at all when online tools allow instant communication and collaboration with someone on the other side of the planet. They’re also appealing for eco-aware and ‘green’ customers who want to see companies showing more respect for environmental issues.
The other main benefit to an outdoors\exterior – focused approach is that it shows you as flexible and being ready to adjust to new trends in business as they come along. These new ideas in outdoor exhibiting, such as the networking gardens, make it clear that you know where trends are headed and you’re already moving to be ready for them.
If you can’t get outdoors for particular events, the next best booth design idea is to open up your exhibition stands and go green, using eco-friendly trade show supplies. Add to that an overall booth layout that allows easy access, with an uncluttered design that allows traffic to flow easily. You need the opposite of an enclosed space; perhaps a hub and spoke layout, or a design that frames your booth space but leaves all the walls open.
If you want to move outdoors, or create that sensation, focus on interactive and cooperative experiences. Try not to pit people against each other in more than the most friendly of competitions. Show off your ability to bring people together and create something out of the power of human collaboration. That’s the message sent by outdoor trade show booths right now.
Whether Inside Or Out: Make Your Trade Show Exhibit & Displays Stand Out
Of course, there’s no one right answer for how you should design your trade show displays. The single most important elements are simply to stand out and to provide a unique outlook on industry problems that your competitors haven’t thought of yet.
Don’t settle for the ordinary. Keep looking for new ideas to stretch your expo booth designs and try to reach out for the most possible visitors every time you exhibit!