SHADES OF SIMPLICITY
If something looks simple, it feels easy. If it feels easy, the brain assumes it is simple. SIMPLICITY EMPOWERS YOU IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT YOUR EXHIBIT DESIGN TO DO
Once that assumption is made, the path of conversion becomes one of non-friction. That is why, Harmut Esslingen, the German designer who designed the iconic Apple products in the 1980s, followed the guiding principle that feeling follows form.
That is why, about 200 years before Harmut Esslingen, the German philosophizer, Arthur Schopenhauer, postulated “One should use common words to say uncommon things.”
Words that are simple to understand your brand offering are crucial for the decision makers who are pacing the show floor looking for solutions.
What does this all mean to you as an exhibitor?
Simply put, the faster we process information, the more postively we appraise that information.
When people can process a stimulus quickly and easily, they experience a positive emotion (Reber, Schwarz, & Winkielman, 2004). "When they experience that positive emotion, they mistakenly attribute those positive feelings with their opinion of the stimulus." (In this case it will be your brand and your exhibit design)
YOUR EXHIBIT DESIGN IS A THrEE DIMENSIONAL CALL TO ACTION FOR YOUR AUDIENCE
KNOW WHAT YOUR AUDIENCE IS LOOKING FOR
Know that they have to either sell your services of products to their Manager, or their Executive, their Peers, or Persuade a Broad Audience.
According to Nancy Duarte, "there are four audiences to whom people in the workplace bring recommendations: those who approve a recommendation (a manager or top executive) and those who execute a recommendation (peers or a broader audience). It’s important to understand the different ways to speak to each group." (See “Making a Recommendation? Understand Your Audience.”)
Today’s trade show floor is filled with a higher level of decision makers looking for solutions to their pain. Often working from a tightly formed agenda, if you are not on that list to visit, your exhibit has to grab his/her attention. Your graphic image and message play an important role in your success.
Try out some of these ideas. Let us know if it worked.
Design your booth as a tool of persuasion. Above, the big space dedicated at the RSA conference confidently engaged prospects in knowing behavioral intent signals. Make use of the persuasion model from above and entice your attendees to engage with your brand that is delightful and memorable.
According to industry research B2B purchase cycles are notoriously long, ye, they can be accelerated if an enterprise is appropriately equipped with the right intelligence on buying needs. Understanding your buyer intent can help your booth staffers understand what to discuss in a conversation, but knowing their funnel stage and priority are key to understanding how to engage with them.
An intelligent exhibit design should be able to differentiate between solutions seekers, purchase thinkers, information researchers and 'Show me what you can do' folks and design relevant games and interactives that will lead to a successful post-show talking points.
YOUR EXHIBIT DESIGN SHOULD CONVEY, WHY YOU AND NOT YOUR COMPETITION IS THE ONE TO DO BUSINESS WITH
Tell why you’re better: We’d all like to think our products sell themselves, and it’s tempting to think that once your products are on display, they will. Give yourself more visual proof by supporting your products with graphics that make your products’ benefit obvious. Do your products last longer? Do more, faster? Cost less over time? Take less energy? Tell your products’ story with graphics and/or AV tech.
Above, the verb anchors the noun and the brand proclaims their "creative difference." There are more outlets selling orchids that I can keep a count of. However, when the brand builds in the utility of their orchids in their name, it is effortlessly proclaiming their 'creative difference'.
FLIRT WITH SPECIFICS
Remember, you have 3-5 seconds to attract a prospective client’s attention – especially on a busy trade show floor. Who you are must be obvious and clear. And if you are part of a large organization, your division or region needs to be spelled out as well.
For example, GE is not as clear as GE Oil and Gas. GE is known, however, GE Oil and Gas is specific and helps prospective clients understand how you might fill a need.
Use action oriented words — words are powerful precursor to 'doing'. In a world inundated with mindless visuals, we often forget the magic of using the right words.
"The secret of being boring is to say everything."
JUST SAY IT — SAY, WHAt YOU DO
What You Do is the second most important message after your name. Does your tag line spell out that distinction? If your tagline can be interchangeable by any other brand, then it needs support to help inform attendees what it is you do.
For example, “Quality Service and Support” is not as strong as “Auto Transmission Quality Service and Support”.
"Solutions for Fintech Industry" is not as intelligible as "Sustainable Investments for Fintech"
OR, make the name and the visual of the brand say what your company does. Above, the brand logo rhymes with the visual — at a subconscious level — Crow is the visual in the logo here, and hence, the silent driver of the text 'Neon Row. Crows are common birds that we can find all around the globe. This means the brand visual is set to appeal to the global mass irrespective of culture, caste and creed.
DEMAND ATTENTION WITH BULLETS OR, LURE THE MISTRESS OF MYSTERY
Further define your message with 3-5 bullet points, not paragraphs. Your prospective client should be able to scan them quickly and answer the question as to how you fit into their world. You are helping them to qualify themselves before they ever step into your booth space.
Bullet points bring distinctive features in view
Bullet points bring order to your otherwise disjointed messaging
Bullet points lay down an hierarchy of your product benefits.
OR, say nothing. This is specially the case, when you are still giving shape to your company and you are doing market study on the variety of products that you are about to offer.
OR, elude to something mysterious. This is specially the case when you are the brand that moves markets and transform audiences. Above, Deloitte Digital exploring the the term 'ELEVATE'.
Immediately, the verb triggers questions like, Elevate What? Elevate Who? Elevate When? Elevate How? A brand that existed for over 175 years can dare to go down the path of mystery and evoke curiosity. Because, evoking curiosity helps the brand to stretch it's offerings to that which itself is not aware of it yet. It shouts out loud and clear that what Richard P. Feynman says,
“I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we're here. I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.”
A Picture is Worth 1000 words — STORY TELLING, STORY BUILDING AND STORY VISUALS
You have heard it your whole life and you know it to be true. Yet, it is the most difficult thing to implement in your exhibit design. Use images that will help your prospective clients to make decisions.
The images should INSPIRE your prospect with the feeling that the image represents. The idea of keeping it simple a applies and becomes an arduous exercise in conveying your brand essence.
Images pertaining to empowerment, sustainability and environmental essentials are great conversation starters and puts your brand in a positive light.
Build a set with story telling visuals: Create an environment similar to where the products will actually be used, whether it’s with the architecture of the booth, images on graphics, or additional props beyond your products that help signal to the buyer that they are “home.”
Weaving a story with technological imperatives and cinematic visuals
“There either is or is not, that’s the way things are. The colour of the day. The way it felt to be a child. The saltwater on your sunburnt legs. Sometimes the water is yellow, sometimes it’s red. But what colour it may be in memory, depends on the day. I’m not going to tell you the story the way it happened. I’m going to tell it the way I remember it."
SIMPLICITY GAINS TENACITY WHEN YOU BUILD STORIES IN LAYERS.
IT IS NOT THE LATEST TREND THAT GIVES TRACTION TO YOUR BRAND.
IT IS THE TENACITY THAT BUILDS THE DISTINCTIVE VOICE OF YOUR BRAND AND LENDS TRACTION TO YOUR OFFERING
Intelligently Designed Visuals helps in de-cluttering your brand message and gets the point across across with minimum effort on your ever distracted brain owner.
Many exhibitors feel like they must include all of their marketing messages and graphics in order to connect with their targeted audience, or they simple parrot the ideas of other designers and just go with a 3D logo on the wall.
Often times, this can work against them by delivering a final exhibit that looks overwhelming and without a clear marketing message or an oversimplified back wall. If there are too many words and too many pictures, you look disorganized, on the other hand if you merely have a jazzed up logo without the clout of Google and the likes, you have simply wasted your money.
Above, one word leads us on a quick journey. Under 3 seconds the message is clear and invites the attendee to ponder, inquire or move on. They have learned something of contextual relevance.
For the attendees, who are interested, take them through a story building phase. So, what is a story build phase? It is simply articles, or sub-articles, that serve as memory aids, instruction maps and moral compasses. As, you see below, the continuation of the story 'WASTED' — building a story based on the effects of food waste.
“Stories are our primary tools of learning and teaching, the repositories of our lore and legends. They bring order into our confusing world." Think about how many times how you can use stories to pass along data, insights, memories or common-sense advice.
WHY 3 SECONDS MATTER?
Your connected customers expect instant information and experiences that “wow” them. If they have a question, they want to do a quick search on their phones and get an immediate answer. "If they’re buying concert tickets, they want to see seating options, the view from their selected seats, and the best place to park—all before hitting the buy button. If they’re B2B customers, they want seamless contracting, procurement, and supply chain processes. In this instant-access economy, brands are challenged not only to deliver the right information over the appropriate channel but to give consumers relevant, personalized experiences in the make-or-break moments that matter."
YOUR PRODUCT IS A NON-SENSICAL DEVICE WITHOUT THE CONDITIONAL FACTORS NEEDED TO MAKE SENSE
Your best bet is to choose a large mural image and use no more than 5 words to describe who you are what you do. Your message should only be a brief outline of your best descriptors or even a short testimony from a customer. Once you get the attendee in the booth, then you can expand your message.
CONSISTENCY IS THE CRUX OF YOUR DESIGN JOURNEY
Keep the feeling consistent with your other marketing materials. If you have a thematic exhibit design, you auxiliary marketing materials should be in alignment with your theme. The first thing a new prospect does after a successful visit to your exhibit is gather more information about your company. If what they learned does not match other marketing materials such as your website, business card, brochures, etc… then your credibility goes down.
Mixed messages, various logos, or a multitude of different looks raises concern about your stability in the minds of prospects. Think about how you make decisions about a new venture. Your clients are you.
If this is not your organization’s strong suit, utilize the skills of an artist that specialize in trade show graphics. The design meeting should focus on your goals and give the artist a clear direction to help you achieve those goals. It will be some of the best money you can spend.
Here’s to your successful exhibit program!
Sarmistha Tarafder, www.skyline.com and world wide web