Display graphics – keep them captivating and compelling

The display you choose for your trade show booth is your canvas – the background on which you’ll create one carefully-crafted message that tells passers-by why they should care about what you have to say.  To be effective, it needs to do two things: capture the attention of distracted prospects, and let them know in seconds why they need to pay attention.

Captivating – the mind of each prospect who passes your booth is in overdrive.  He/she is recapping what the last booth staffer had to say about their new and improved widgets.  What company was it that handed out the yardsticks?  Where is the restroom?  These are not the best shoes for this hard floor.  Should I call the office?  All the while, glancing at the passing booths and dodging oncoming traffic.  Only those messages that break through the noise will even be considered. 

This is hardly the time to expect the prospect to stop and walk into your booth to study a dozen 8” x 10” photos with captions in 12-point type, describing features about your product.  To overcome the clutter, rely on one or two large, central graphics, easily seen from a distance, that show someone enjoying the benefits of your product.  Something so bold and dramatic, that it’s irresistible.  Give it a simple headline, no more than about 8 words in a standard font.  Consider a full-height photo-mural for bigger-than-life visuals.  Or video monitors, scrolling banner stands, and irresistible demonstrations.

Only when you stop them and make them want to learn more will your message stand any chance of being noticed.  Leave the details to your staffers and handouts.

Compelling – if the message is not appealing to the prospect, it will have no chance of being transferred to the prospect’s long-term memory.  Make sure and present your story as a benefit from the prospect’s point-of-view (something that will solve his/her problem or improve his/her condition).  Give your booth a theme that’s consistent with your company’s overall brand strategy.  Make sure your giveaways support that theme.

If your display puts your brand into the prospects’ long-term memory, and makes him/her want to know more, it’s done its job well.  The rest is up to your staff, your handouts, and your follow up.