A tradeshow display is a terrible thing to waste

February 7, 2014By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

by Jenny Kosek

If you’re going to a trade show or a large-scale buyer’s meeting, you need to set a scene that tells everyone what your product is, what your brand is about, and what sets you apart from the competition in seconds. How? With a great display.

Approach your trade show display from a theatrical perspective: imagine yourself as the director and your booth is your stage. What elements need to come together to create a big impact? Do you need lighting? Do you need sounds? Do you need samples – is your product best experienced to be believed? Most importantly, think of your “set”: your trade show banner(s) or backdrop. What do those need to look like to inspire attendees to learn more about your brand?


Whether you go with a dramatic 10-foot or clean series of simple 3x6 banners, what your backdrop looks like and says can have a huge impact on how your audience receives you. trade showAnd more is not always more.

Consider the following:

Should I put product images on my trade show banners?

Generally, this is a bad idea, for three reasons: 1) products come and go 2) product packaging changes and 3) trade show banners ain’t cheap! Well-designed banners could last you for years to come, but if you picture your product on display and then change its look in 6 months, you’ll be buying a new trade show exhibit to match.

Put live product on display instead. Displays of your product will attract passersby to stop in and interact with it, opening the door for conversation and sales.

Should I put people on my banners?

If you have a health and beauty product, you might be tempted to put pictures of your target users on your banners. But potential buyers might be inclined to dismiss you early on if those people don’t look like the shoppers coming into their stores.

How much messaging should I include?

As little as possible. Your brand name and tagline should do the job, when paired with striking colors and imagery, to drive home who you are and what you do. If that looks good, people will be drawn to your booth. Save the features-and-benefits discussion for the one-on-one dialogues you can engage attendees in at that time.

What size banner should I go with?

10 foots can be real showstoppers, but they can also prove problematic. They can be cumbersome to transport and tricky to set up. A series of smaller banners can add depth to your display, convey more detail about your brand, and offer a greater return on your investment with their flexibility. Work with your graphics team to design them interchangeably, so that you can use one or several depending on the event and how much space you have.

As the cliché goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Work with a team you trust to help you put your budget and branding to their best use as you prep for your next trade event.

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