How Trade Shows Can Help Your Branding

Trade shows have always been regarded as an opportunity to grow a company directly through the proliferation of business meetings and a strong pursuit of direct orders and sales leads at the same time. It’s easy to see why this is so. A hefty portion of your marketing budget makes its way into funding a business trip to an exhibition or a convention. You need to make sure that there’s a short to mid-term return on investment. However, it’s this thinking that clouds your understanding that trade shows are valuable from a branding perspective.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t be chasing customers at the event, but we’re emphasizing that as an exhibitor you should be playing towards increasing your brand awareness through everything else you do while there. Trade show marketing can be split into two categories – active and passive marketing. Arranging business meetings and joining in matchmaking sessions is a form of being proactive in getting your name out there, but we’ll launch into the two types in depth.

Passive trade show marketing

This is all about the physical space that you take up at a trade show. One way to capitalize on this type of marketing is to go for a bigger booth. The most space you literally take, the easier it is to stand out on the show floor map and serve as a marker for trade show visitors. The extra space is beneficial to approach the booth construction and design in a unique way, which places you in a stark contrast compared to everybody else around you. Combine this with a bold vision and you’re able to achieve a high graphic impact, which makes your logo and name instantly recognizable.

For best results, you want to tell the right message. You want there to be a purpose to what you’re designing as your booth and the visual materials you incorporate. This more or less ties with your goals for the trade show and allows you to focus. Brands work best when they stand for something or work towards something or are about something. What do you want to say? This can be further boasted by the press releases you submit to the event organizers and other press materials you’re set to bring.

Active trade show marketing

Going to trade shows is in itself a form of active marketing, because you’re going where a high concentration of potential clients is going. You’re lining up your products to showcase and often demonstrate in demo zones and arenas. Product launches are the bread and butter of most formats. You saturate the professional audience in your industry with your logo, color scheme and slogan. The more shows you attend, the more you strengthen your brand’s position and gain interactions face to face. There’s nothing quite like the clout generated from exhibitions and conferences.

We also talked about having the right message – this ties in with merging trade show marketing with other forms. One of the best combinations is to tie your business travels with social media channels to create a narrative and give opportunity to promote services and products. Trade shows are also the best incentives to run promotions or special campaigns. You want to create an event from your brand and the hint of exclusivity and time sensitivity are keys to drive up interest. Only at our booth during this event! There’s no better call to action to drive foot traffic to your booth. Another approach in terms of active marketing is to get audience participations – special giveaways and games are time-honored methods to engage with passersby! Sign up as a stop for a guided tour – that’s also a very legitimate way to gain attention.

We’re not saying to abandon your proactive strategies to seek out prospects, but you’ll reap a lot more benefits once you learn to corral all your marketing efforts under one bigger strategy to raise brand awareness.