KNOWLEDGE

Stop the Disconnect: Maintaining Brand Consistency at Trade Show Exhibits

Category: Strategy

Brand marketers invest a significant amount of time and effort into establishing a brand identity. From logos, brochures, and packaging to social media, public relations, and advertising, your marketing team is taking great pains to ensure that customers “get” what your business stands for, what the product is, and why they should invest in it.

Trade show exhibits should function as an extension of your brand identity, but with all the work and moving parts that go into building a successful exhibit, it can be hard to remain true to your brand message.

Think about it. How many times have you stepped into a trade show exhibit and wondered: what exactly does this company do?

Unfortunately, you’re not alone. With over 20 years working in the trade show industry, we’ve seen this disconnect at more trade show exhibits than you can imagine. Why? Companies treat trade show exhibits as individual events when in fact, they are an essential piece of your overarching brand communication strategy.

Trade show exhibits can be an amazingly cost-effective way to connect with hundreds – even thousands – of customers and prospects live and in-person. If you take the time to integrate your exhibit and your overall trade show marketing strategy into your larger marketing vision, you can supercharge your reach and get bigger, better results.

Here are four tips exhibit marketers can use to effectively maintain brand consistency within their next trade show exhibit.

 

1. Lead With Your Brand

Having a professional, engaging exhibit is essential, but it’s even more important to make your exhibit align with your company’s strategy and priorities. Before designing your trade show exhibit, revisit the key attributes that define your brand and then allow those values to guide your plan. Is your brand eco-conscious? Innovative? Dependable? Make those principles the primary inspiration for your trade show exhibit design.

Let’s take the eco-conscious attribute as an example. If your business prides itself on conserving resources and minimizing waste, your booth design should reflect that. Maintain brand continuity and integrity by using lightweight, eco-friendly materials such as recyclable aluminum or energy efficient LED lighting. Using earth-friendly materials like cotton for graphics, or video in lieu of printed marketing materials are also easy alternatives. Your customers will take note, and better yet, you can use your eco-conscious trade show exhibit as a talking point when chatting with potential clients.

 

2. Talk to Key Stakeholders Early

Engage your trade show exhibit partners well in advance of the show in order to align on overall strategy. Your team can help you determine the best way to let your brand shine. Be open about the key messages you want to convey and discuss ways that they can be brought to life. Strategy meetings should include advertising and public relations stakeholders to ensure that all messages remain consistent across communication vehicles.

 

3. Identify Your Goals

It sounds simple, but identifying clear goals is an essential part of any strategy. Are you looking to reinforce your company’s image? Launch a new identity or product? The answer will impact the design of your trade show exhibit, including overall structure, traffic flow and how attendees perceive your client’s brand.

For example, if the main goal is to educate attendees about a brand, the exhibit should include demo areas, product samples, and perhaps a theater for presentations. If your focus is on closing sales for a product, include an enclosed conference room for private conversations.

 

4. Use Effective Messaging

Many companies think the goal of a trade show exhibit is to get passers-by to say ‘wow!’

Well, yes and no.

While you certainly want your trade show exhibits to be visually impactful and unique, it’s critical to make sure your brand doesn’t get diluted in the process. Don’t say or do anything that your brand wouldn’t normally say or do. Even if it gets a reaction, it could sound inauthentic and confusing.

Instead, focus on creating clear, concise messages that support your brand’s attributes and resonate with the target audience. Also, don’t just focus on the technical features of a new product. Make it clear how those features benefit the attendee. When all is said and done, that’s what your customers really care about.

 

Trade Show Exhibits and Your Brand: Here’s the Bottom Line

When it comes to trade show exhibit design, looks are important, but using the booth to clearly communicate the value that your company’s products or services bring to the table is what will turn prospects into new customers.

The most successful brands are those that maintain a clear identity, offer powerful, compelling experiences, and deliver the right message to the right person. Taking these four steps to strategize and build consistency across your communication channels, including your trade show exhibits, will go a long way towards building the credibility and awareness needed to drive your business forward.

Need some help amplifying your trade show strategy? Get in touch with an MC² expert today.

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Caroline Meyers
Director MC² Corporate Communications