Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 1: Ideation
Exhibiting at a trade show is a big decision — the time, effort, and monetary commitment are all things that you’ve taken into consideration and you’ve decided that this a worthwhile investment in your company’s future. Now that you have the green light to exhibit at the show . . . what’s next? It’s time to design and create your dream trade show booth that will highlight all of the aspects of your company that set you apart from the competition. A well-designed and executed booth is an amazing opportunity to make your mark and establish yourselves as major players in your industry.
In this four-part Creating a Trade Show Booth series, we’ll review the different stages of booth design, creation, and installation to guide you along the process.
Set Your Budget
The first thing you’ll need to outline is your budget. Having a clearly-defined budget before your first meeting with the exhibit design company will allow you to make smart decisions when it comes to certain elements you want included in the booth. A firm budget will also give your exhibit design company clear parameters to work within so that you both can make the most efficient use of your time. After all, the deadline to ship the booth to the show will be here before you know it!
TIP: When establishing your budget, there are a couple things to consider. First, will this booth be multi-purpose? If your booth pulls double-duty as both a place to display products and to hold meetings, then you won’t need that extra conference room you’ve reserved and can put that extra money toward your booth design. Second, will this booth be single- or multi-use? If you plan to reuse this booth over multiple shows, it might be best to give more wiggle room in your budget for a booth that is able to evolve with your changing needs for each show.
Consider the Space
Now that you know what your trade show booth budget is, let’s start thinking about the physical space you’ll be occupying at the show. If you have a 10’x10’ space, simplicity is key; you’ll likely have a lot that you want to cram into a small amount of square footage, but resist the urge to go overboard. A smaller booth that is stuffed to the gills with product samples or distractions will hinder your company’s ability to clearly define itself to the passers-by.
If you have a larger amount of room to work with, for example a 30’x30’ or bigger, then you can start to get a bit more creative. Does your exhibit hall allow for two-story booths? If so, you might be able to place a meeting space on top of your booth to make the most of your footprint. A larger booth space also allows for on-site storage of catalogs, employee personal belongings such as bags, giveaway items, etc.
Before your first meeting with the exhibit booth design company, give some thought to what you want to include in your booth space from a practicality standpoint. Do you want storage? What about lockable displays? Is meeting space crucial, or is your booth purely to display products? Having a clearly-defined wish list before your meeting will help your exhibit booth design company to understand exactly how to meet your needs.
Trade Show Booth Flow
If you have an in-line 10’x10’ or 10’x20’ trade show booth space, flow isn’t something that you’ll need to consider as much because attendees likely won’t be physically entering your booth. If your booth has depth to it as with a 20’x20’ or larger, you’ll need to think about the path people should take when entering your booth. Do you want to clearly define an entry and exit point so that they travel through the booth on a path, or would you like for them to feel comfortable milling about and taking their time perusing your products?
A defined path is a good idea when you want attendees to follow either a development process or timeline — for example, if you want to show them the different iterations a product went through to arrive at the final result. You can also use this flow method if you want attendees to start out at your more entry-level products and move through up to your higher price point items. Booths with entry and exit points or a defined path require a lot of thought and careful execution, as they can create pinch-points and traffic jams when the show is at its busiest.
A free-flowing booth has a fairly open construction that allows the attendees to enter and exit the space from numerous sides of the booth and is great for companies who want to create a space with a “come in and stay a while” feel. High-top tables where sales people can walk clients through this years’ catalog or a picture wall for attendees to pose with products for Instagram are elements that you can consider incorporating into a free-flowing design.
Remember the Why
Finally, let’s think about the biggest reasons that made you want to exhibit at the trade show in the first place. Is this your company’s big entrance into the market? Have you been in the industry for quite some time, but want to really make a splash now? Do you have a new product that you want to unveil?
Make a list of your top three to five reasons why you want to attend and what your goals are for your trade show booth, and then keep referring back to them as you move through the booth design process to ensure you’re keeping your eye on the prize and focusing on the “why”.
Keep an Open Mind
As you meet with your exhibit design company, keep in mind that they’ve likely been doing this for decades and have learned the tricks of the trade along the way. When you present your initial list of wants for the booth, they might offer a different viewpoint or have some suggestions. Remember that they are offering this input to make your trade show attendance as successful as possible. By combining your dreams with the exhibit design company’s experience, together you can create your ideal trade show booth design.
Ready to get started or have some more detailed questions on the booth design process? Give us a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.