5 tips for future trade show engagement

Remember trade shows?  It’s almost a year now since any large scale, indoor events were allowed to go ahead and we know that many of our customers are really missing the buzz and the invaluable networking opportunities that only a trade show can provide.

Many events have gone online in the past year, leading to speculation that the entire trade show format could be at risk in the long term – but we disagree.  The very reason trade shows have stuck around so long is because they offer something digital just can’t – an opportunity to see and interact with both products and the people behind the brands.

We firmly believe that trade shows will bounce back bigger and better in 2022 – and when they do, businesses will need to be ready!  The economic fallout from the pandemic means consumers will be cautious for some time to come, and that means even more competition for their attention.  Here are some smart ways to attract attention at your next big event (whenever it may be!)

  1. Create a relaxing atmosphere

Trade shows are busy and noisy, and delegates often spend hours and hours on their feet as they browse the stands and talk with exhibitors.  You can attract more people to your trade stand by making it somewhere they can grab a few minutes of respite, whether that’s by offering refreshments, or a place to take a load off!  We have it on good authority that massage chairs are a top way to get visitors to stop by!

  1. Get your branding right

Creating visual impact in a sea of trade stands can be a tall order.  The companies who do it best are those that consider the whole stand in the overall context of their brand.  This means selecting displays that suit their aesthetic and paying attention to small details such as the style and colour of additional furnishings, staff attire and even stationery.  Individually, these things might not seem important but together, they can help create a cohesive appearance that grabs attention.

  1. Go big

Supersized things are always intriguing to the human brain.  We see this technique used a lot in retail – for example, those giant Lego sculptures in toy stores – and it can work extremely well at a trade show.  People simply can’t resist the urge to take a look at something that’s bigger than it should be – a giant replica cellphone or computer, an enormous stuffed animal or a larger-than-life food sculpture will always reel them in.  Think about items your brand could supersize for display purposes and watch your visitor numbers soar!

  1. Make it interactive

Most trade stands are a fairly passive experience – there are things to look at and people to talk to, but nothing to do.  Adding an interactive element or activity is a great way to boost engagement.  There are endless ways to do this, from the use of virtual reality technology, to playing games and contests, encouraging social media interaction and even getting people involved in the design or creation of a product.  Make the ‘show’ in your trade show a verb, not a noun!

  1. SWAG it up

An oldie but a goodie, SWAG is an acronym for Stuff We All Get – in other words, the free stuff trade exhibitors give away to visitors.  Every buyer that’s ever attended an exhibition has a drawer overflowing with free pens, lanyards and bottle openers so to generate a bit of buzz, you need to think outside the box.  For the times we’re in, you might consider a branded touch tool for opening doors and pressing keypads without using your hands, or a reusable coffee cup to save on waste to landfill.  Bonus points for any product people will find useful in and around the exhibition – the more people see your swag in use, the more they’ll want some too!

Planning ahead for trade shows in 2022?  Frontline can help – drop us an email to [email protected]