The tricks used to get your brand noticed and stand out amongst your competition is not that different across the retail and exhibiting environments. Whether you are in a shopping centre, at a trade show or even browsing on-line, the ‘hooks’ to get you interested and engaged with a product or brand work pretty much the same in every environment.
It’s really all just psychological mind games. Brand marketeers are trying to make consumers think, react and respond in a certain way. When done well it can be hugely effective and create brand loyalty for life. (…..of course, on the flip side, a badly thought out campaign can be disastrous!)
The aim is to make a person think a certain way without letting them know they have been manipulated. The larger players in the brand marketplace have always played with our subconscious using subliminal messages in their advertising. Ideally, they want to get to the stage, where senses and reactions are triggered by the simplest of symbols and signs. A logo or icon for instance, which creates, not only instant recognition, but evokes positive emotions in their target audience. This method of advertising relies on the theory that most of the decisions we make are subconscious.
Subliminal messages draw attention to displays without shouting about the brands…..and more importantly without having to shout about the brands.
Brands and stores want to turn shopping into an immersive and feel-good experience. After all, they’re competing with on-line shopping in the comfort of your own home. It’s no longer just about affordability and applicability, it’s about identifying and aligning oneself with a certain perceived image or ideal.
A huge trend at the moment is personalisation – think Vegemite, Nutella or Coca Cola. Allowing people to own their very own version of something has been an inspired idea. Even if just temporarily – it makes a person feel more connected to the brand if it has their name on it!
Another trend we’re beginning to see more often in advertising is the use of technology such as holograms. Made famous in the “Back to the Future” franchise – it is now becoming a reality. Nescafe recently used this technology to showcase the ‘modern art’ of making coffee. Throw in a smell of freshly made coffee and it’s pretty hard to ignore!
Other in-store gimmicks include vibration-activated shelf lighting that’s turned on when a product is picked up.
Large grocery chains have experimented with romantic mood lighting and even varying temperatures.
So what does all of this have to do with exhibiting at trade shows?
The point is we can borrow and steal some of these ideas:
- Personalise your giveaways. Something as simple as a pen or glass with a quick engraving would be easy to achieve. It feels more like a personal gift than just a generic giveaway, and people will be more likely to remember where they got it.
- Shelving or displays which react when a product is lifted will engage your audience, creating an interaction between product and customer.
- Keep graphics simple. Use subtle, subliminal messaging rather than shouting about your products with over-the-top signage.
- Use back-lit graphics or displays for highlighting a product or message.
- Utilising all the senses including smell and taste if / where possible is always a great way to attract passersby.
- Use of lighting to create a certain mood and evoke emotions is a crucial part of a well-designed exhibition stand.
- Holograms are becoming much more common in the display business and there are many companies in every city supplying a service to create holograms for brand logos or products or even people.
Next time you’re out shopping, have a look around at what the big brands are doing; see what draws attention, what showcases a product well. Look at lighting, shelving, advertising – and don’t be afraid to ‘borrow’ some ideas which could enhance your exhibition stand at your next trade show.