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Attract more visitors to your exhibit by ‘borrowing’ some tricks from the retail big brands

Attract more visitors to your exhibit by ‘borrowing’ some tricks from the retail big brands

Sony Store in Christchurch, NZ – by Exhibitionco

The tricks employed to get your brand noticed and remembered ahead of 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 marketers are trying to make consumers react, think and respond in a certain way. When done well, this kind of ‘mind manipulation’ 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 of the game 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. 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 hologram 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 which is turned on when a product is picked up.

Large grocery chains have experimented with romantic mood lighting and even varying temperatures to entice shoppers.

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.
  • Engaging 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.

Or, as always, give us a call on  02 9972 1900 and challenge our creative team to come up with some great ideas for your next exhibition stand.

A few key tips: Pre marketing and interactive ideas for your stand


Create an ‘experience’ and make it about networking, not selling – make sure you’ve done some research into your clients’ requirements and expectations, make it about them and above all make them feel welcome.

Before the event:

  • Reach out to attendees at least 6 weeks before the show.
  • Send personal invitations to your current contacts that entails a ‘client journey’ to unlock a special feature on your stand.
  • Buy your BEST clients a ticket to the show – make them feel important.
  • Set up a strategy across all of your social platforms for lead up to the show 4 weeks, 2 weeks, 3 days to go!
  • Use the supplied organiser marketing logos/tags on your email signatures and note your stand number as soon as you get the information from your exhibitor manual.
  • Have a great offer ready to deploy at the show. Clients will be more inclined to give you their details there and then if there is ‘something in it for them’. (a time limit on a special deal is also a good motivator)
  • It is imperative you have your best sales people on the floor. They should be aware of your company’s strategy and goals for the event and also be completely comfortable within your stand and be informed of any features, special offers or giveaways. They are representatives of your brand at all times during the event.
  • Make it fun for your team ….maybe even run a competition for them, so they get a reward in return for going the extra mile.

Some Interactive Ideas:

  • Exhibition halls are stimulating – create an ‘experience’ using as many senses as you can.
  • Offer food and drink if it’s a viable option – with a place to rest and re-charge.
  • Graphics can make the design –  look for a distinction which sets you apart. For example; create an optical illusion. It’ll be memorable ….and a great conversation starter!
  • Make use of innovative lighting displays.
  • Create some kind of ‘theatre’ – consider hiring a ‘spruiker’ if necessary.
  • Offer samples or giveaways that are branded.
  • Run a competition.

Offer up some form of interaction which showcases your brand and makes it memorable:

  • Hire touchscreens with interactive effects.
  • Consider the use of Holograms, Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality.
  • Involve a feature that client has to move/press/touch to get a reaction or some kind of reward.
  • Create a photo opportunity on your space.
  • Have a #tag that clients can have fun with and repost… you can even use this on a social media screen/wall on your space!
  • Run a Social Media competition using the #tag.
  • Give your visitors the ability to interact with your website or download your app during the exhibition for extra features.

Don’t forget:

  • Learn from your competitors – take the time to walk around the show and see how others are doing it. See who’s attracting the crowds …. and why. (make notes for next time)
  • Trade Shows are not just about making new customers but also networking with others in your industry. Take the time out to connect with influential brands or businesses you may be able to benefit from or team up with.
  • Follow up with your contacts sooner than later – turn those ‘hot leads’ into sales!