Get your show on the road

If you are a regular exhibitor at a particular show, the chances are that there are a number of clients and fellow exhibitors who expect to see you there year after year. Perhaps you occupy the same stand - and people know exactly where to find you. All of which is good news. Now wouldn't it be great to build on that base, and take things up a notch.

Imagine how you'd feel if you had clients so excited about seeing you at a trade show that they were calling up and booking appointments in advance? Wouldn't it be excellent if they were telling their contacts that ‘you have to go and check out the (your company) stand ‘cause....' Think of the benefits of having this kind of pre-show chat building up on twitter.

If you want that sort of attention you need to give your clients something to get excited about, something to talk about. Of course there are many ways to achieve this, but today I wanted to focus on one particular idea: having a theme for your stand/your exhibition each year.

By announcing a theme each year you immediately give yourself a ‘story' to share with your clients and run across your own social media and promotional channels. A story that is far more interesting and engaging than merely announcing that you will be at the show - again.

Think of the Oxford Street Christmas shop windows: they are an event in themselves, and have become part of the Christmas shopping experience. People make a point of going and checking out the windows. They are a source of speculation and chat.
Having a annual theme also has the (very important) added benefit of energising your sales team at the exhibition: putting on a new show means they have a new angle from which to communicate. It keeps things fresh and exciting. And can be developed to gain greater traction with the non-attenedant audience who will follow the show via the live feeds online. (Don't forget these guys are your potential customers too)

When choosing your theme, you will essentially be doing two things - choosing a ‘meta' theme - an overarching theme that is in keeping with your brand story, and that it is aligned in some integral way to your products or services. The 'meta' theme then generates your annual theme.

Here is a very simplified example of what I mean. If your company produces shampoo, your overarching theme could be ‘Classic Cuts.' Each year you then focus on one 'cut' as your theme (or celebration) for that year - bob, flick, curly locks, fringe, the perm, sideburns, shave and shorn. Once you have your theme, generating material and story for your show is the fun bit.

You could explore themes that are:
• Product related
• Topical
• Celebrating an anniversary
• Celebrating a hero in your industry
• About an issue that is relevant to your brand
• Based on the seasons
• Favourite songs
The possibilities are quite literally endless.

Exhibitions can be such an important and exciting part of a company's annual marketing plans. We hope you are enjoying planning yours. And as ever, are always here to help you.

Posted on April 17th 2012

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