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2021 is Full of Changes and Your Exhibit May Need Some Changes, Too


We’ve all recently experienced a break from live events, and aside from the stress of businesses and exhibitors dealing with many canceled shows, the lost opportunities for face-to-face interactions have taken a toll. According to EXHIBITOR Magazine, which surveyed over 1,000 corporate exhibit managers and suppliers, the inability to market face-to-face has had a negative impact on many businesses’ sales and important relationships.

That’s why exhibitors are ready to hit the ground running now that trade shows are rescheduling and preparing for a fresh start. One positive take away from the downtime of in-person events is that it’s provided businesses with a chance to reevaluate their trade show marketing plans, goals, and expectations for the year ahead.

As many of us had no idea when we would get another chance to step back on the trade show floor, this ‘off-season’ timeline likely looked different for many. But regardless of how your business has used its time off from exhibiting, trade shows are coming back as we speak and they’re not waiting for anyone.

With buyers itching to get back to in-person experiences and interactions as soon as they can, there’s no better time than now to show up and stand out at trade shows.

If you’re ready to step back onto the show floor with a loud and proud presence, then read on for this one huge tip that we believe will help to set you apart and prepare you to meet your goals.

CHANGE THINGS UP! Update your exhibit and make changes to reflect your current marketing messaging.This might look very different for different businesses based on budget, business size, industry, and the size of trade shows being attended. However, there are many ways to update your exhibit that will be extremely effective in making your brand stand out to your attendees.

Improve on last year’s efforts by implementing smaller updates.If your exhibit marketing plan is stagnant, then it’s likely that your results will stay the same as well. Find ways to go above and beyond your previous efforts with elements like updated branding to provide better in-booth experiences.

Adding components or updating graphics is a great option to make your booth stand out. If you’re wanting to come out onto the trade show floor with a stronger presence in 2021, here are some ideas for updating your existing exhibit:

  • Get inside the head of your CURRENT ideal client (not your pre-Covid era clients). Things have changed, and you’ll want to stay current to continue being relatable for your audience. Think about how people’s mindsets may have changed, which values may have shifted, and insert those ideas into your branding, offerings, and display. What would be a memorable, relevant item that they could win or receive from your booth? How do they currently enjoy spending their time? Create similar experiences in your exhibit.
  • Add digital displays to capture attention and tell your brand’s story. There are so many ways that digital displays can be useful in an exhibit space, such as creating movement to draw attention in and changing up messaging from show to show without buying new components. There are plenty of options, from visual storytelling to sharing information on new products, showing product demonstrations for larger products that can’t easily be brought to the show to displaying real-time social media posts.
  • Don’t overlook the generational traits of the audience you’re targeting. Does your target market consist of Millennials? Gen X? If you need to hone in the feel of your exhibit on a specific audience type, do that! The more relatable you are to your audience, the better. Here are 5 great tips for a more focused branding experience!
  • If you don’t have any backlighting components in your exhibit yet, it should be considered in your future exhibiting plans! Backlighting is a must for any exhibitor looking to stand out on the trade show floor. People are drawn to bright and shiny objects, and trade show attendees are no different! With an LED-backlit display, attendees will notice your booth across the show floor, pushing them to want to come check it out for themselves and generating more awareness of your brand. Most existing exhibits can achieve desired illumination as well – no matter the size of the booth, backlighting can be implemented to make most any exhibit shine bright.

Consider going bigger.Let’s face it, bigger isn’t always better, but it can definitely be more noticeable. And if you can combine stellar branding in your display with a larger presence, there’s no doubt that attendees are going to notice you. This isn’t saying that you need the biggest exhibit on the trade show floor because it’s not just going to take a larger booth to wow your exhibit guests. Smart branding, engaging experiences, and a great trade show staff are all pieces of the puzzle as well. When you have a solid plan for all of these aspects, you’ll be on the road to a very successful trade show.

As for going bigger, there are many exhibit components that can elevate your exhibit. Hanging structures are one way to make an exhibit emerge from the crowd – and be sure you are seen from across the show floor.

Another upside of going bigger is that not only will it be a more visible exhibit on the trade show floor, but attendees may just feel slightly safer when entering. Since COVID-19 has naturally made us all feel the need to be a little more spread out, this type of exhibit might be more inviting to those who are at high risk – or are still being on the extra-cautious side. Since island exhibits are much more open than your typical inline space, guests will notice the ability to move around freely without feeling crowded. Still, it will be important to make sure your exhibit layout flows well and prevents areas from getting congested.

New trade show dates are popping up one after another, and they aren’t virtual (hooray!!) That means that the benefits of face-to-face marketing will again be at our fingertips – don’t let this new year of exhibiting pass your business by! It’s important to make these necessary changes to your exhibit because things have changed, your business has likely changed, and people in general have changed!

As trade shows start back up, buyers will be ready to jump at new innovations and technologies. So, be sure that you’re prepared to stand out in front of these eager buyers with an exhibit that your business is proud of and assists in obtaining your exhibiting goals. Skyline Exhibits is here to help make that happen. Whether you think it’s time to upgrade in size or structure or are just looking for some fresh design ideas to consider, reach out to us today!


Better Branding & Booth Design Digital Book

In this book, Skyline Exhibits has compiled 29 articles originally published on the Skyline E-Tips blog. These posts combine valuable information about booth branding, booth design and integrating technology.

This book is available to download for free. Just complete the form below and we will send you a copy today! If you have any questions, you are always welcomed to contact one of our expert Exhibiting Consultants at one of our authorized dealer offices around the globe.

About the Author

In her experience at Skyline's corporate office in St. Paul, Minnesota, Briquelle Neyens immersed herself in trade show research and the ins and outs of exhibit sales firsthand. She also engaged with Skyline's wide-array of products and services from an insider's perspective. Her blogs portray her expertise on what it takes to be a successful trade show marketer. She enjoys generating information that will help all trade show marketers in their decisions to become successful on the trade show floor.

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