Beyond The Booth Thinking: A Holistic Approach

An exhibit stand is often the centrepiece of a brand activation strategy at an industry event. It’s all some brands spend their money on at a show, though they’re wise to use their own marketing channels and for sales or marketing teams to promote their presence. But, for companies that can invest further, most industry events will happily sell all kinds of additional promotional opportunities.

The approach, inside and outside the booth, needs to be seen as a chance to show creative flair. Looking at a show floor presence as an opportunity to create an experience for prospective and existing customers, think of it as a playground rather than a traditional booth.

Check out the garden space Smyle created for Salesforce at the Mobile World Congress.

It’s crucial for an event team to not just ‘order from the menu’ by using the event prospectus (provided by organisers) as a single source of truth when making investment decisions. To extend the metaphor, it’s helpful to see who else is in the restaurant, ask others for suggestions on what to order, and, most importantly, talk to the chef. In this case, the chef is the event organiser. They should know the event and audience better than anyone and provide consultative guidance to help develop a strategic plan for the event.

Activations outside the booth tend to fall into three key areas:

Brand awareness and traffic drivers:
For companies that are not market leaders, tactics like event signage and enticements to visit the stand are worth considering. The brand may not be well known, so these sponsorship elements make sense to change that paradigm.

Hosted networking:

For brands that are market leaders, an investment in hospitality activities may make sense. These give the brand a chance to show love to customers and hot prospects and are less dependent on getting people into a booth.

Thought leadership:
Speaking opportunities can build awareness and drive traffic to the booth. We hate paying for speaking slots, but paid or not, they can be very effective if you’ve got great speakers.

Brands can do many other things to get the word out, from sponsoring digital elements to promotional items given out to all attendees – although it’s important to note that promo gifts aren’t usually aligned with sustainability goals.

The point is to consider where the brand sits reputationally in the industry. Evaluate competitors, identify how you can stand out, and consult with the organiser to make a plan that includes a range of activities. Consistency is essential. You should tell related stories across all activations, from the key messages to the visual identity.

Whichever route you pursue with your brand activation, having strategic suppliers, a clear set of key messages and well thought-out visual identity will help you hit the mark. At Smyle, our teams have worldwide experience activating across every sector, from pharma to finance. Get in touch to see how we could work together on your next industry event.