Trade show Exhibit Design: “Think outside the box”
I have a friend who always seems to come up with a new, successful angle for every trade show. Recently, I asked her, “How do you do it?” The simple reply, “I always force myself and my team to think outside the box. I challenge everyone involved to do the unexpected and come up with new ways to attract attention and create excitement.”
I thought about this advice for a moment. It rattled around in my head. At first I thought, “I always think outside the box.” Then I started to really evaluate what this common expression means. It is an appealing concept, but is it the right approach for every company, for every brand? And did I really always “think outside the box”? Yes, or at least my goal is always to come up with new ideas and “out of the box” solutions. I just never used that expression to describe my efforts.
What is the “box”?
The trade shows “box” can be big or small. It can have lighting and dramatic banners. It is the expected trade show exhibit, staffed by smiling people representing a company trying to get leads, offering a free gift or a few sample or some sales material. The box is ordinary, stamped out, one after another just the same in different colors. The box is forgettable.
“Outside the box” exhibits
These are the exhibits that give an attendee a new perspective. These are the exhibits that make lasting impressions on the people who see them. To be effective they require more than just being novel, creative ideas; they need to be thoughtful and suitable to the target audience and the brand. Very few trade show exhibits truly rise to this challenge.
Should every company strive to do the unexpected?
As long as the exhibit is consistent with the brand position and brand values, and successfully promotes your products or services, the answer is, “Yes!” It is a real trick to balance inspiring creative with the hard-hitting sales message that this tough economy demands, but when you achieve it, the results can be stunning.
How to get “outside the box” ideas
The first step in creating a breakthrough exhibit is to build a team that shares that commitment. Once you have assembled that team, make sure that they consistently focus on really solving the marketing challenge that faces you in new and interesting ways.