Trade show displays are true investments. The money and effort you put into them up front will reward you for years with trade show traffic, brand awareness, leads, and conversions for your business. In fact, the average trade show exhibit lasts anywhere from 3 to 7 years. As time goes on, however, even the best displays wear out or lose their usefulness and must be replaced. Following are a few signs that it may be time to buy a new trade show display.
Wear and Tear on the Old Display
Your display’s appearance is vital in capturing the attention of trade show attendees. In fact, when you designed your display, you and your exhibit company likely spent a great deal of time creating a look that would stand out on the exhibit floor. Because your display’s appearance plays such a large role in convincing trade show attendees to visit your booth, anything that detracts from that look can potentially harm your trade show success.
This is why signs of wear and tear on your display signal a need for a new trade show exhibit. While some things (such as burned out light bulbs) can be fixed, other kinds of damage (such as stains, dents, and scratches) become permanent parts of your display. And, a damaged display can call your professionalism and expertise into question in visitors’ minds. As a result, if you notice wear and tear on your display that cannot be easily fixed, you may need to consider replacing the display.
New Products and Services
Chances are, your current display is focused on specific products and services offered by your company. This focus is a smart marketing choice, because it allows you to inform visitors about the specific benefits they can gain from your company. People will naturally be drawn to a display that represents new, innovative, and unique products and services that they can take advantage of.
However, if your business releases new products and services, your display may quickly become outdated.
An outdated display is a reason to purchase a new one, because it is an inaccurate representation of your business. By using it, you will miss out on customers who could use your new products, and you may attract visitors who are looking for something you no longer offer. As a result, consider a new display anytime your company’s offerings begin to differ from what is represented in your display.
If done correctly, your trade show exhibit should reflect your company’s branding and personality. Logos, colors, and overall feel should all accurately represent what your company is about. If your branding changes, therefore, it is likely that your display will need to change as well. There are a number of reasons that your branding (or messaging) might change.
For instance, occasionally, businesses will undergo a rebranding that introduces a new logo, changes the colors or styles of the original brand, etc. In these cases, your old display will quickly become outdated. In addition, you may occasionally find yourself with a new marketing message that can change the overall appearance of your display.
You may also find that your branding changes when your business undergoes major changes, such as mergers and acquisitions. These changes mean that your business becomes part of another business. It may adopt the branding of the other business, or receive entirely new branding that merges your company’s brand and the other company’s brand. In these cases, your display will need to change in order to reflect these shifts in your brand.
Even if your booth is up to date and reflecting your most recent products and services, you may still need a new trade show exhibit if your old display is not meeting your marketing goals at trade shows. In particular, you may need to consider a new display if you find that your old display is being ignored in favor of your competition’s booths.
If you notice that your competitors are regularly bringing in noticeably more business, visitors, and attention to their booths at the same trade shows you are attending, you may need to revamp your own display in order to better compete with theirs. You can do this by using an exhibit company’s design services to create a new display that incorporates and improves upon many of the features that make your competitors’ booths stand out.
Finally, you may need to consider replacing your current trade show display if you find that it is inconvenient to transport, install, or dismantle. For transportation, drayage, and other trade show expenses, pricing is often based on weight. The heavier the display, the more you will pay. If you want to cut down on the expense of getting your trade show exhibit from place to place, you may want to consider a new display that is lighter and easier to move.
In addition, set up time can cost you money (and stress) on the exhibit floor. If you find that your display is taking a long time to set up, or causing headaches during installation and dismantling, you may need a new trade show exhibit. Exhibit companies today can create relatively lightweight and portable displays that can make your set up and tear down experiences much less stressful.
If you think you might benefit from a new trade show display, consider hiring an exhibit company to help you think through the possibilities for a new display. Whether you choose a rental exhibit, a portable display, or custom exhibits, obtaining a new display can help you to better meet your marketing and trade show goals.
Custom exhibits can be eye-catching presences on the trade show floor. Visitors may be impressed with their ability to sit down at tables, or talk with you in a separate meeting room. Double decker displays can ensure that your business is seen by everyone at the trade show. Once the show is over, though, and you are faced with the task of breaking down, packing up, and storing your display, you may start to wonder where to put it. To help you navigate trade show display storage, following are a few common questions (and answers) about the process.
What should I look for in custom exhibit display storage?
When you store your custom exhibit display, you want to make sure it will reemerge in the same excellent condition. As a result, you need to find a storage facility that is free of anything that could harm your display. Following are a few of the most important qualities to seek in your storage location.
Large swings in temperature can harm your display by continuously shrinking and expanding the materials. These changes can lead to the breaking down of the material in the display. Shifts in temperature may also degrade laminates and glues. As a result, seek a trade show storage unit that is temperature-controlled.
Mice, termites, and other pests can easily destroy a custom exhibit display. As a result, be sure that you store your display in a location that is guaranteed to be free of pests.
Wet conditions can quickly destroy a custom exhibit display by eating away at the wood and other materials. As a result, it is essential that you store your display in a location that is protected against dampness or flooding.
Your custom exhibit display represents a significant investment of time and money. As a result, it is important to select a storage location that provides enough security to protect this investment. You may also want to choose a storage facility that gives you the ability to track your inventory.
What are the benefits of storing my custom exhibit display with my exhibit company?
You have a number of options when it comes to storing your custom exhibit display. You can store it yourself, provided you have the right kind of space available. You can use a self-storage facility. Or, you can store your display with the exhibit company that built it. This latter option is usually the smartest choice for most businesses. The reason is that exhibit companies work with displays every day and know what is required to keep a display safe. As a result, the storage they provide will be specifically designed to keep your display secure and undamaged in between trade shows.
In addition, when you store your display with your exhibit company, you enjoy easy access to their other trade show services. For instance, you can ask the company to update or inspect your display before a show without needing to pay for transportation from a separate storage facility to the exhibit company. In addition, you can more easily use the exhibit company’s transportation, drayage, installation, and dismantling services. The result is that you may be able to get your display to and from your trade shows with very little effort on your part.
What are some mistakes to avoid when storing a custom exhibit display?
Regardless of where you decide to store your custom exhibit display, there are some mistakes you need to avoid in order to keep your display safe between trade shows. These mistakes can put your display at risk, or add cost and inconvenience to your display experience.
Failure to Inspect the Storage Facility
Because it is important to store your display in a safe environment, you need to know what the facility provides before you allow your display to be stored there. Confirm with the storage company that the area is secure, temperature controlled, dry, and free of pests. Once you know what the space is like, you can more confidently entrust your display to that space.
Failure to Buy Insurance
In the case of accidental damage to your custom exhibit display, you will want insurance to help cover the cost of your investment in your display, especially if the storage facility does not cover the cost of damage caused by catastrophes such as flood or fire. As a result, proper insurance can save you money in the case of an unforeseen problem.
Failure to Preview the Display
Finally, failing to inspect your display before you move it to your next trade show can mean surprises on the trade show floor. You want to know if there are any problems with the display while you can still fix them. Otherwise, you may only notice problems after the display has been assembled in the exhibit hall. Often, exhibit companies will offer you this inspection as part of their storage services.
Properly storing your custom exhibit display can be the difference between being able to use your display for years to come and encountering a damaged or unusable display the next time you have a trade show. As a result, choosing the right storage facility is important for guaranteeing your display’s safety. Next time you need to store a display, consider going beyond your exhibit company’s design services to also use their storage options. By doing so, you will be more likely to achieve safe storage, access to other trade show services, and a more convenient storage experience.
Purchasing a trade show display can be a significant investment. In addition, because these displays are responsible for making positive first impressions with trade show attendees, their design is extremely important. That is why it is essential that you select an exhibit company that offers you comprehensive services to support every stage of the design and display process. If you use a company that offers the following services, you will be far more likely to receive a stunning and effective display for your next trade show.
In order to obtain a trade show display design that works for your business, you must be able to clarify your design needs for the exhibit. Often, this can be difficult to do on your own. If you do not have exhibiting experience, you may not know what design elements will support your goals. Even if you have exhibited before, you may not be aware of the latest developments in exhibit design. In addition, you may not know what options are available within your particular budget, or whether or not certain elements can be modified to make them affordable for you.
This is why it is essential to find an exhibit company that offers design guidance as part of their process of creating custom trade show displays. For instance, at Imagecraft, we sit down with you in a discovery meeting to help you flesh out your vision for the display. In this meeting, we learn about your goals for your exhibit, and we offer design suggestions that might work for you. The result should be a clearer picture of what you need in your display so that the trade show display design we create meets your needs.
Each business’ display needs are different. Sometimes, they need a stellar design on a shoestring budget. Other times, they need a unique meeting area or are dealing with a difficult display space. Addressing these individual needs requires creativity. As a result, you should look for an exhibit company that is capable of innovation when it comes to meeting your specific design needs.
For instance, if you find that a certain material is too expensive for your budget, the designer should be able to create a solution that works for your budget and for your overall design. If you need a lightweight display, the designer should be able to locate materials that look stunning without weighing too much. It is the ability to creatively solve problems and manage budgets while delivering a stunning display that sets the best exhibit companies apart.
Another service to look for in an exhibit company is an array of budget-friendly options for your design. Often, especially in today’s marketing world, businesses find themselves working with tight budgets. At the same time, a trade show exhibit must have a compelling design that will allow your business to meet its marketing goals. Finding the sweet spot between meeting a budget and meeting your marketing goals will require an exhibit company that is creative and flexible when it comes to its design options.
For instance, you may want to consider using a company that offers options such as custom rental exhibits or modular displays. These types of displays often allow you to customize their look without costing as much as a custom trade show display. Alternatively, you might consider a custom design that has been carefully crafted to minimize expense and maximize impact. Regardless of the choice you make, finding an exhibit company that can meld style and budget can make the entire design process less stressful.
Transportation and Storage
Once your trade show exhibit has been designed and built, you will need to undertake the sometimes-mammoth task of getting your display to the exhibit floor. Custom exhibits can be heavy, and you typically need to arrange for two types of transportation: From storage to the exhibit hall, and from the exhibit hall to your display space (called drayage). In addition, you will need to have your display installed and dismantled, and you will need a place to store it once the trade show is over.
While you can arrange for these services separately, some exhibit companies offer transportation services, trade show services, and storage for your display. This means that they will oversee your display’s transportation and drayage, help you set it up and take it down, and provide you with a safe, long-term storage area. The advantages of selecting a company that offers all of these services include convenience and peace of mind. The best people to handle your display are the people who built it and know what it needs to be safely transported, set up, dismantled, and stored. In addition, when you keep your display in the care of the company that built it, you may find it easier and less expensive to perform maintenance on it and to make tweaks to it, because it does not have to be transported back and forth from the exhibit company.
There are many qualities to look for when choosing an exhibit company. When it comes to the particular services a company offers, however, it is important to pinpoint a company that provides design guidance, innovation, budget-friendly options, and transportation and storage services. By doing so, you can be sure that your exhibit company is equipped to offer you a compelling design and convenient services to make your next trade show a more successful event.
Museum exhibits are a powerful way to take a topic and make it visible and tangible for museum visitors. A successful museum exhibit design will enthrall visitors with rich information and a compelling display. While there are a number of qualities that define an excellent museum exhibit, perhaps the most important is an engaging story. Weaving the elements of your design into a fascinating narrative allows you to capture visitors’ attention in a way that no other technique can do. Following are a few of the ways you can use your museum exhibit design to create a compelling story.
Organize your story around a single objective
Effective storytelling in a museum exhibit is focused storytelling. The narrative you create should have a single purpose around which it is organized. For instance, it can encourage visitors to act, emphasize a particular aspect of your company, or recount historical events from a certain perspective. In order to determine what to focus your exhibit on, ask yourself what the central message is that you want to convey to museum visitors. What do you hope to accomplish?
For instance, say you want to create a museum that tells the history of your company. You could choose from among objectives such as emphasizing your company’s ability to innovate, teaching visitors about your philanthropic goals, or focusing on your business’ longevity and expertise. Each of these objectives will result in a slightly different museum exhibit design. Once you know what the organizing principle of your design will be, you can more easily create a compelling narrative.
Visually highlight the most important parts of the narrative.
Organizing your story around a single objective is only the first step in creating a compelling museum exhibit design. Once you know how you want to organize your story, you will need to visually highlight its most important parts. By allowing certain elements to stand out (through techniques such as larger text, technology, etc.), you allow visitors to quickly understand the basics of your narrative, no matter how briefly they stay.
The parts of your story that are the most visible in your museum exhibit design should be the broad points of the narrative (i.e. major company milestones). This does not mean that you omit the details that enliven your story. These details can be included in layers (such as longer presentations and smaller text) for visitors who want to spend more time exploring your display. This technique allows visitors to quickly grasp the broad outlines of the story if they wish to pass through quickly, or to take time to delve into the more detailed narrative if they want to learn more.
Create a logical flow.
Any story you tell needs to have a logical beginning, middle, and end. In addition, good stories all contain the essential elements of a plot, such as rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. The story you tell through your museum exhibit design is no different. Each element of your design should contribute to a logical narrative arc.
For instance, if you want people to quickly pick up on the story’s progression, you might consider dividing your exhibit up based on the beginning, middle, and end of your story. In order to help visitors understand the arc of the story, you can use lighting, technology, and graphics to convey the rising action, the climax, and the resolution of the narrative. The key is to make sure that your exhibit is arranged logically so visitors can easily follow the story as it unfolds. When moving through this type of exhibit, visitors will be more engaged, delve more deeply, and remember your story longer.
Engage visitors’ senses.
One of the most important elements of a museum exhibit design is that it provide a stimulating experience that captures visitors’ full attention. While there are many ways to do so, one of the most effective is to engage visitors’ senses. A story that is only conveyed through writing may be interesting for visitors who enjoy the written word. However, it may lose the attention of others who are more tactile, or aural, or visual. In addition, visitors who have certain disabilities (such as blindness or hearing impairments) may not be able to enjoy the story if it is only told in one way. As a result, the most effective museum exhibits engage all of the senses.
For instance, instead of simply writing down information on a placard, consider adding compatibility with a screen reader, or provide technology to have the information read out loud to the visitor. Add elements (such as millwork or statues) that can be felt or manipulated by visitors. Include interactive technology (such as kiosks or mobile apps) that will interest more technically-savvy visitors. By creating a museum exhibit design that engages all the senses, you will create a truly immersive, and accessible, experience for all of your visitors.
Use compelling graphics.
Finally, never shy away from using quality graphics in your museum exhibit design. The graphics (such as placards, signage, photographs, and images) are the elements that bring the story to life. They are the elements that explain and interpret the artifacts and objects that are on display. As a result, they need to be high-quality, clear, and compelling in order to create a museum exhibit that will effectively tell a compelling story. For instance, the basic elements of good graphics include clear, readable fonts; relevant and stunning images; plenty of white space, and a balance of complementary colors. In addition, your exhibit company’s design services should be able to guide you regarding the exact graphics that will best represent your story in your display.
A museum exhibit is a unique opportunity to tell a story that people need to hear. Using effective storytelling techniques can make it easier for you to convey your story in a compelling and memorable manner. By organizing your narrative around a single goal, highlighting the most important parts of the story, creating a logical flow, engaging visitors’ senses, and using compelling graphics, you can tell a story through your museum design exhibit that visitors will remember for the long-term.
One of the first things trade show attendees see when they look at trade show displays (whether custom displays or rental displays) is the text. The message conveyed in this text is often what will convince them to explore a trade show exhibit further. As a result, the text you choose is an important element in creating an effective display. Following are a few of the steps you can take to create powerful text for your next trade show display.
Keep your text short.
Trade show attendees typically only glance at a display for a few seconds. If they encounter a cluttered display with lots of text, they will likely ignore it in favor of one they can read more quickly. As a result, one of the keys to creating effective text for your trade show displays is to keep it short. Ideally, your messaging will consist of a single phrase or sentence with a maximum of six words. When you keep your text brief, you enable attendees to quickly understand your message, even if they only spend a few seconds looking at it. The result should be greater interest in your booth as more people read your message.
Send a single message.
Because your text is one of the first impressions trade show attendees have of your business, it can be tempting to put multiple messages on your exhibit. However, as mentioned above, visitors need to be able to read and understand your messaging in a matter of seconds. Trying to communicate two, three, or more points at once can leave attendees confused about your main point and frustrated with the time it takes to read your text.
As a result, it is important to convey a single message through your trade show exhibit. What that message should be will depend upon your business. For instance, some businesses may want to emphasize their low prices, while others may wish to emphasize their experience. Focus on the message that best captures what you want your booth visitors to know.
Create memorable text.
Brevity and focus are key ingredients in effective trade show display text. However, a short and focused message will do little good if attendees find it boring. As a result, it is also important for your text to be memorable. The uniqueness and power of your message will not only encourage trade show attendees to enter your booth, but also help to keep your brand in the forefront of their minds after the trade show is over.
There are a few ways to create memorable text. For instance, you can employ clever writing to state your message in a catchy and unique way. You may also choose to write about an element of your business that is unique. In addition, you should try to avoid jargon and clichés in your text, because these will immediately make your text less interesting. Instead, focus on telling your message in a new way.
Highlight your brand and products.
One of the main goals of your trade show displays should be to increase awareness of your brands and products. This means that trade show attendees should learn, simply by reading your text, something about what your brand can offer them.
The best way to do so is to choose brand values or products to highlight in your text. For instance, if your brand focuses primarily on customer service, then you should create text that communicates this information. If you have a new product to offer, you may choose to put this product front and center on your display. The result should be a message that gives visitors an idea of what they will get when they interact with you.
Make sure your text is easy to read.
Regardless of how short, focused, interesting, and branded your text is, it will do little good if trade show attendees cannot read it. As a result, all of your trade show displays should possess text that is easy to read from a distance.
Your exhibit company’s design services should be able to help you figure out the best way to maximize your message’s visibility. In general, however, it means that you will need to use fonts that can be read from afar. Use these fonts in place of fancy text that may not be as readable. In addition, make the font large enough to be read easily. The result should be text that attendees can read quickly, even at a distance. By doing so, you should reach more people within the crowded exhibit hall and, subsequently, enjoy more visitors to your booth.
Be prepared to provide more information.
Finally, be prepared to back up the message on your custom exhibits with more information inside the booth. Your text, by necessity, will be limited to a single, brief, message. However, that message will be sufficient if it is engaging and readable enough to get people into your booth. Once they are there, you will have the opportunity to give them as much additional information as they want.
As a result, make sure you have a savvy and knowledgeable sales team in place to answer questions and pitch your products and services. In addition, have literature to hand out, and technology with which visitors can interact. These employees and informative material can help ensure that booth visitors maintain the interest in your brand that your trade show display first sparked.
Creating powerful text for your trade show displays requires creativity and thoughtfulness. By keeping your message short, focused, memorable, branded, and readable, and by providing more information in the booth, you will maximize the impact of your trade show exhibit.
There is little doubt about the effectiveness and profitability of trade show booth displays. Up to 49 percent of trade show attendees plan to purchase a product or service from one of the exhibits they saw at a trade show, and 48 percent of attendees engage seriously with exhibitors while at the show. These statistics mean lots of leads and a favorable ROI for many exhibitors. However, in order to enjoy these benefits for your own business, you first need to locate an exhibit company that can help you create an attention-grabbing, profit-building display. Following are a few of the steps you should take as you search for the right exhibit company.
Start researching exhibit design companies early.
The process of researching and choosing from among exhibit design companies can take some time. In addition, you will need to leave enough time to design and build your trade show exhibit after choosing a company. As a result, you should begin your search for the right exhibit company well ahead of the start date of your next trade show. The amount of time you allow will depend upon the type of exhibit you want. A large display may require 12 to 18 months of lead time, while a smaller display requires only 6-12 months of lead time. By leaving yourself enough time, you will be able to carefully consider your options and choose an exhibit company with whom you can have a successful working relationship.
Confirm that the exhibit company you choose offers the services you need.
An exhibit company can only serve you well if they offer the services you need, so research each company’s abilities before you hire one. For instance, if you want completely custom trade show displays, eliminate from consideration those companies that only offer rentals. In addition, restrict your search only to those companies that can handle a business of your size. If most of their other customers are larger than you are, you may find that the company will not prioritize your needs. If most of a company’s customers are much smaller than you are, you may find that the company is not equipped to handle your needs. Finally, ensure that the companies you consider can meet your budget and time frame. The best way to do so is to be upfront with each company regarding your budget and deadline. By doing so, you ensure that your project will be completed to your satisfaction.
Consider the exhibit company’s experience.
Another step you should take once you begin the search process for a trade show company is to consider the experience of each of the companies under consideration. Experience is an important attribute in any area, but is especially important in the trade show display field. For instance, an exhibit company with many years of design services experience will possess a thorough knowledge of the trade show industry that will give you an edge in designing and building your display. In addition, the best exhibit design companies are comprised of teams that have been working together for a long time. By choosing a company with long-serving teams, you benefit from the team’s cohesiveness (which leads to a smoother design process) and their creativity (from which you can draw as you brainstorm your trade show exhibit design).
Research the exhibit company’s references.
Once you have narrowed down the list of exhibit design companies to those with the most experience and the longest-serving teams, you should obtain and follow up on references from each company. Doing so will give you a good idea of how satisfied the company’s former customers are. Speaking with former customers also allows you to pinpoint how experienced the company is in the particular design services you require, how closely they can follow a budget and deadline, how they handle issues that arise during the design process, and what kind of customer service they provide. This information will give you a clearer idea of how efficient, professional, and capable the trade show booth design companies you are considering are. Choosing the companies who have the best references will help you to obtain a positive experience for your own business.
Choose a company that offers excellent customer service.
Finally, you should choose a trade show company that offers you excellent customer service. As the customer, you should never feel as if you are irritating or unimportant. Instead, the exhibit company you choose should make you feel as if your business is valuable and that they are willing to work with you to create an attention-grabbing display that meets your needs. You should come away from your initial meetings with the right company feeling as if they take you and your ideas seriously and will be easy to work with. As a result, the ease with which you find yourself connecting with the company, as well as their friendliness and helpfulness in the face of challenges, should play a significant role in which company you ultimately choose.
Selecting the right exhibit company does not have to be a guessing game. Instead, by starting your research early, making sure the company offers the services you need, selecting an experienced and highly recommended company, taking advantage of comprehensive services, and looking for excellent customer service, you can more easily find an exhibit company that will help you meet your trade show goals.