In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. ~John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers," 1866
A poetic declaration of the world that we carry within us. Ask any scientist and he will tell you, "Out there is a chaos of energy soup and energy fields. Literally. We take that and somewhere inside ourselves we create a world. Somewhere inside ourselves it all happens."
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1994, he recognized there were far too many products and SKUs in development so he asked his team one simple question:
Instead of being everything to everyone set out to highlight those products that you are really good at. Designing graphics with too much information hinders the processing speed of the brain. Your target audience will fail to comprehend the offer. Design your booth that upholds the benefit statement and design intentionally for your audience that will benefit the most. This will make for a more targeted and effective value proposition. Sub-consciously your brand will be perceived as dependable, consistent, and worth betting on because you know exactly what you’re focused on.
Once you are in agreement as to what you do best, go ahead and give your brand a personality. Personality is what differentiates your brand from your competition. The strongest brands are those with the most well-defined personalities. These brands have differentiated themselves by the way they relate to consumers as well as the way they conduct their daily business.
Some brand personality traits are universal and respected across genders and generations. Trust is the most coveted trait that any brand should aspire for. Another great attribute to shoot for is; the factor of desirability. Or, like BMW, DoCoMo, El Cortes Inglés, or Emporio Armani, you may choose to emphasize both.
If you are exhibiting internationally, give your brand a global personality check. Consider the culture in your brand’s country of origin and that of the country to which you’re marketing. BrandZ is a great tool to identify the brands that fit well in the specific cultures and study them before you decide to market globally.
Desirable and Trustworthy are the two traits that are high on the brand bonding chart. Desirability, which epitomizes qualities such as allure, status, and exclusivity, is particularly associated with aspirational brands that have emotional resonance. Apple (being a mass manufacturer) has managed to achieve this. Trustworthiness, is that characteristic that underpins a consumer’s belief that a brand will deliver consistent quality. Volvo would fall in this category. We, as business consumers and personal consumers are highly moved by these two traits. We like to bond with brands with messaging that fits how we see ourselves. We buy things, in part, to express our identity and to reinforce it (Escalas and Bettman, 2005).
However, a recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that the most effective messages relating a brand with consumer identity were ones referencing that identity without defining it. In this study, the researchers compare two marketing messages for DirectTV. The first is a statement that draws a visual picture of a destination for all the sports fan. DirecTV. All the sports you love, all in one place.
The second message defines the identity of the consumer based on their choice of purchase. If you call yourself a sports fan, you gotta have DirecTV! Now wonder, this message backfired.
Moral of the Story: Don't define your clients and prospects from the perspective of your brand. Instead, allure them with visual clues and clever copy that makes a strong impression in their sub-conscious.
Research states that people percieve products or solutions to have high value that help them achieve a certain goal. (Markman and Brendl, 2000.) Now, if you are exhibiting at trade shows, you are in an ideal situation to help your clients and prospects move from one point to another, thereby assisting them in their journey towards achieving their goals. According to CEIR report, 92 percent of trade show attendees say, they are looking for new products and 94 percent have purchasing power. Perhaps, this is the reason why 66 percent of senior management view exhibit and event marketing essential or important in the marketing mix. (Corporate Exhibitor Trends Survey)
Your trade show booth is a platform where you engage your prospects to try something new. Inspire them with innovative solutions and provide them with an experience that is unique to your venue and limited only to the attendees of the show. Flourish them with Ideas, concepts and giveaways that they can immediately put into action. Give them highlights of your products that are in the developmental state. Seek their ideas and incorporate the best of them in the release of your product. This way the conversation carries on beyond the walls of the show hall and your attenddes become your co-creators and co-conspirators who in long run turns out to be your band ambassadors and brand advocates.
We all are, in some form or shape in the business of buying and selling. In doing so, we are looking ways to simplify the buying process. Hence, we resort to different tactics that present products in order to maximize sales. (e.g right assortment, persuasive advertisements). Research brings to light, the potential promise of a new class of tactics designed to shorten the buying process. Findings indicate that conditions that promote preference fluency often leads to a faster decision to buy the product.
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."
Your attendees will prefer things that they can perceive or apprehend easily. So, your job as a trade show marketer is to foster an environment that helps your prospect make a positive preference about your brand.
Keep your offering simple. Sudies have shown that many variable present in the exhibiting environment, such as number of available options, loud music and cognitive overload (needing to perform a secondary task) can and will affect attendees' choices.
Design your exhibit with allure. Make it inviting. Make it distinctive. Make it memorable. It all attributes towards the processing fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure, a theory that explain why people find an artwork beautiful. The fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure with the sociology of taste by Pierre Bourdieu all states that individuals within a culture or social class develop similar tastes and feel pleasure towards the same artistic objects.
Moral of the Story: Learn your audience. Speak their language. Design towards their likings.
As you start exploring the trade show marketing arena in 2021, keep in mind that your exhibit design is not the sum of everything that your product does or services that it promises. It is a commanding platform where you are expected to give a phenomenal performance. Above, all it is an arena to propagate your story and glorify the stories of your most valuable asset... your customers.
You are what your audience perceive you in their heads. Find ways to create a remarkable impression!