The “Strategically Applied Imagination” Approach to Trade Show Booth Design

Share This Post:


I recently walked into the offices of a prestigious local accounting firm, the kind of place where all the furniture is polished wood and all the CPAs wear tailored suits. And there, in the firm’s tastefully decorated lobby, I saw something that surprised me: a dozen plastic solar-powered toys, bobbing and dancing on the reception desk. They just didn’t fit.

Many companies’ trade show displays are the same way. We’ve seen traditional, serious companies with whimsical-looking booths. We’ve seen innovative tech firms with decade-old graphics. And we’ve seen multi-million dollar firms with cheap, flimsy displays. The booths just don’t fit the brand.

That’s why FrontLine Exhibits developed the Strategically Applied Imagination process, which allows us to create trade show displays that match your company’s brand identity and support your primary marketing goals. “Instead of selling a stock design, or basing it on trade show-specific goals, we want to understand the client’s marketing in total,” Senior Account Manager Chase Howells explains.

We learned long ago that if we simply ask our clients, “What do you want your trade show booth to look like?”, we won’t get the right answer. “Blue,” people say. Or, “Whatever will help us stand out in the crowd.” Or, “I don’t know.”

So we developed a proprietary questionnaire that helps us really put our finger on who you are and what you need to accomplish. It includes questions about:

  • Corporate culture: Buttoned up or casual?
  • Target audience: Who are you speaking to?
  • Brand identity: What’s your company’s personality and voice?
  • Plans for the show floor: Are you holding meetings? Selling a product? Doing demos? Or simply building brand awareness?

“We want to help create a total experience for someone that’s consistent with their brand,” Howells says. Sometimes, brand elements can be incorporated in unexpected ways. For instance, the trade show booth design for a client that sold construction equipment had to feel structural and sturdy, supporting the brand’s core values.

Is all of this really so important when it comes to trade show booth design? Yes! Often, Howells says, “People are really not evaluating their show campaign properly. They’re going because their competitor goes.” But showing up isn’t even half the battle — it means nothing to just be there unless you make your brand presence felt. With a thoughtfully designed display, you can show up and blow your competition away. Ask us about what the Strategically Applied Imagination process can do for your company.