If you’re a foodie like me (not to mention a huge pop culture fan) than you are no doubt following along with two of the best cooking shows to hit the airwaves in decades. I’m talking about The Next Food Network Star and Top Chef both taking place on separate networks each and every week. Each show features a group of chefs competing in a variety of cooking contests designed to weed out the best and send home the rest. If you look beyond the competition and focus on the basics of the cooking though, you may be surprised to find lessons that relate directly to trade show success. Below is a recipe for a successful trade show and it starts with knowing what you want your end result to be. Like cooking you need to have a loose idea as to what you are making. What do you want your display to accomplish? Do you have a specific design in mind?
1 Dose of Preparation- What type of display works best for your product? Would a literature display be best or do your needs point more towards a computer kiosk? Indoor or outdoor? Pop up or environmentally friendly? What design best matches the types of events you attend? Who are you marketing to and what gets their attention the most?
1 Dash of Creativity- The use of color is a great way to get a persons attention. Try to be unique while at the same time don’t be too extreme as to alienate yourself from other vendors.
1 lb of Follow Through- Make sure you keep up the relationships you make while at an event. The moment you return from a trade show, shoot out an email or call your new contact just to thank them for taking the time to speak to you.
1 Ounce of Prevention- Know what it is about your product that discourages people and come to an event prepared to offer solutions to their concerns. If a customer is concerned about the cost tell them you understand, that others you spoken to have also felt the same way, and that you were able to help them through the use of a payment plan.
Mix With Special Ingredient- Every great chef knows that to truly be successful you must take the ordinary and turn it into the extraordinary. A kiosk is not a kiosk when it features a custom logo along with your companies name emblazoned in the center. By taking the idea of a trade show display and molding it to fit your idea of what the customer is looking for, you are essentially giving them something they are familiar with yet have never seen before.
Like the perfect recipe, the key to a successful trade show exhibit is repetition. Don’t be afraid to try new things and make changes until you achieve a display that fits your needs and creates buzz amongst customers.