Orchestrating a cohesive marketing plan in 2016 is like composing one of Bach’s classical masterpieces. Okay, maybe it isn’t that difficult but it does require each segment of your marketing efforts to work together like the instruments of an orchestra to produce one harmonized composition. Additionally the number of marketing “instruments” these days is ever-increasing with new social media platforms being added, the shift towards inbound marketing and the traditional marketing methods like print ads, direct mail and trade shows. It is important to remain consistent across all areas so that one does not misrepresent your branding or messaging in a way that throws off the overall sound of the song.
Our focus here of course is the area of trade show and event marketing. Here are a few ways that inconsistencies show up in this area:
Companies rebrand, or have updated product offerings, but don’t make those changes on their trade show graphics. This results in business cards and brochures painting one picture and the booth painting another.
Disregarding brand position
Unfortunately, if you’re a big company you have to have a large presence to support your brand position. Sometimes I will see a well known, big brand show up with a tabletop display while their smaller competitor comes in with a custom 10×20. They might not have the brand equity of the larger company yet, but attendees will feel more appreciated by the company coming to gain their partnership instead of just showing up.
Forgetting the image
A company’s brand tells a story about what they do, what they stand for and who their employees are. Since the economic downturn the focus of many has been quick and easy, cost effective displays. If a trendy, high-tech company shows up with the quick low-tech booth, same as the not-techy-at-all company next to them, it hurts that image for them.
Easy ways to maintain consistency:
Enable your booth to stay up to date
Utilize displays that are designed to allow graphics to be swapped out easily. You can also use monitors to allow for varying content that can be updated on the fly.
There are levels to customization of a trade show display that can be used. Of course, you can build a completely custom exhibit designed to each unique spec you desire. If that isn’t in the cards though, there are simple ways to tweak standard displays to give them a more custom appearance. For example, if your logo is round use a round backwall display as opposed to a square or rectangle. If you are an IT company, incorporate monitors for demos.
Focus on a booth promotion
A good booth promotion will drive home your brand and corporate identity. See last month’s blog for some examples Use Pre-Show Promotion to Reel in Attendees.
Think outside of the box
We have some clients that are excellent about putting themselves in their ideal customer’s shoes, and developing a booth that works best for their clients using “brand” complementary displays and furniture. For instance, let’s say your company sells coffee beans. You could show up with a table with bags of coffee beans on it and a large graphic behind you saying “COFFEE BEANS”. Or instead, you could create what looks like a small coffee shop and allow the attendee the full experience of your brand.
The object is to just apply your messaging inside your trade show or event space the way you would on your website, brochures, advertisements social media etc. Keep it cohesive in all areas, and don’t jump into an area without having figured out how to maintain the overall image. This helps further the brand with the targeted customers and shape their opinion to what the marketer wants it to be as opposed to confusing that customer and making them sort it out on their own.