Current industry thinking says you have around 3 seconds to make an impact with your trade show stand and within those tiny 3 seconds, your potential customer is weighing up whether to set foot on your stand.

Holy cats…3 seconds! That is less than the time it takes for me to decide what heels to wear (patent black with shiny buckles if you are interested)!

So let’s look at what makes a trade show stand memorable.

1. We all like pretty!

This means all sorts of thing to members of the mob but in general terms, think of an exhibition stand’s aesthetics like a ideal date partner: clean, well put together,considered and unique. You are highly unlikely to visit or remember a stand that looks messed up and weird…and weird in not a good way. As with all things in life that matter, put your best high heeled foot forward.

2. Tap that emotional gauge

Now when I mentioned “unique” above, this might also be interchangeable with whimsical, powerful, quirky, bold and so on. The key thing here is connecting the look of the stand with making your ideal customer feel something.  Emotions are intense markers, if you elicit something in your audience that prompts a raised eyebrow, a smirk, a sense of wonder, you are barking up the right trade show tree.

3. What did you just say?

One of the biggest single killers of memorable is the twin threat of mixed messaging and many messages. And I hear you, this is so hard to keep it tight when ever single brand manger insists that they must have a messaging statement.  With supporting graphics. With a plasma screen showing a scrolling presentation. And supporting copy.  Siemens faced a similar type of challenge with their trade shows. In previous years we had a cavalcade of text and graphics that totally overwhelmed at the visitor.

Siemens @ ASMMIRT 2011 – The Display Builders

Now, with the support of key members of the Siemens marketing team we have got out the pinking shears and trimmed the messaging overgrowth.

Siemens @ ASMMIRT 2012 - The Display Builders

Siemens @ ASMMIRT 2012 – The Display Builders

I partner with The Display Builders on a number of trade shows, including those of Siemens.  See more of our work here:

4. Different….and unusual!

So yah, you do trade shows all the time and it’s working OK for you.  But what if you could do one thing differently than you normally do? What if you were a car manufacturer at a motor show but you had this crazy-awesome lighting and projection where it seemed like the car was actually moving on the stand? I project managed motor show stands for yonks and for the life of me I could not work out why something designed to move you was presented so statically.  Or what about, you sold wallpaper and you were exhibiting at a design show and you employed a wallpaper installer to continually re-wallpaper the stand walls throughout the show thereby ensuring visitors returned to your stand again and again to see the latest change? So many options, so be brave.

5. I’ll call you!

We are made so many promises: “this is good for you”, “I’ll pick your daughter up at eight”, “The fridge will be delivered on Tuesday”. We are so used to little or no follow through, we are thrown and also hugely impressed when someone does what they say they will do. So when you are talking to your customers on the stand and telling them you will send the email with the PDF brochure, or you will ask one of the sales reps to deliver the promised samples or call them with that piece of information that they really need…then just bloody do it. Your word is your promise so follow through and become instantly memorable.

If you like what you have read here and think we might be able to create something memorable, please get in touch:

In keeping with our memorable theme, I’d like to share this music video to illustrate point 4. Those garden variety treadmills were elevated to memorable through clever choreography and a natty shirt selection. Remember if you like the song, buy it and see you next week!