Humans are visual creatures. We're moved by colour, attracted to beauty and inspired by the phrases we read. Naturally, when it comes time to create a remarkable display, the first thing that comes to mind are the graphics, words and lighting.
However, there's so much more.
A truly impressive, memorable trade show experience appeals to all five senses. Sight might be first on your list when you start planning, but what about the other four?
Providing the total experience
One of the greatest advantages of exhibitions and other marketing events is having your audience right there in front of you. That's what sets the occasion apart from other advertising campaigns or outreach efforts: Your physical presence with your potential customers or clients.
Therefore, you certainly don't want to waste this opportunity to attract your prospects on all levels. Visitors come to see new products and services, but they're also increasingly looking for an interactive, engaging, immersive experience. Here's how to give it to them.
Tapping into all five senses
There's a concept in marketing called sensory branding. It's exactly what it sounds like: Crafting brand perception through multiple sensory elements. For instance, some retail stores have a signature scent that shoppers walking through the mall will instantly recognise. Other brands may leverage sounds or smells to evoke nostalgia or pleasant associations.
These efforts aren't just stabs in the dark. Indeed, there's a method behind the madness – and science to back it up. Researchers have spent decades exploring the senses, discovering fascinating links between these aspects of the human experience and our ability to recall facts or reminisce.
In particular, smells have an extremely powerful connection to emotion and memory, according to the American Psychological Association. Studies have revealed that people perceive images longer when they're accompanied by scents. Other research has focussed on the way that music and lighting can improve recollection.
You can put the power of senses to work for your brand in a number of ways. Whether you're using building an exhibition stand or putting on your own trade show, the five senses have plenty of potential to enhance your display.
Most marketing is still highly visual and it's certainly the foundation of every stand. From choosing the right colour palate to creating an effective sign, getting the visual elements right can help you grab visitors' attention, convey your message and stick in their memory.
Lighting, symmetry, contrast, size, balance, positioning and more all contribute to the overall way guests see your company.
Many people learn best by doing, which is why interactive, hands-on experiences are a key trend in the events industry. If possible, provide attendees with options to touch, hold and play around with your products. Rather than telling them about your cool new features, hand them a device and let them explore.
Feeling a soft, fuzzy teddy bear or enjoying the chill of a revolutionary new fan – these types of encounters can't be replicated by descriptions and images.
Music can contribute to your brand perception – are you a hip new company? a high-class, luxury vendor? It also influences your visitors' mood.
Even at very subtle levels, noise can have a strong impact, so choose wisely for the sound effects of your presentation or the multimedia elements of your display.
For your display, it's worth exploring ways to add a touch of the right scent. Perhaps you could set out a flower arrangement or plug in an electric air freshener to draw visitors. Essential oils with bamboo sticks are also an excellent option.
Just remember not to overdo it: Smells can be overpowering and a subtle touch is often more powerful here.
If you're selling consumables, this is a no-brainer: Offer some samples!
For other companies, providing a tasty snack, especially something distinctive, can set you apart from other exhibitors.
No matter which strategies you choose, keep in mind your target audience and develop an integrated, polished approach. That way, you'll be memorable for all the right reasons.