When your company has a long track record of developing innovative products, it's natural to want to leverage that history in your trade show booth. So at the 2016 National Retail Federation Convention and Expo, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, a division of Toshiba Corp., created a "Hardware Bar" to show off its long history in the retail space. With the help of Tucker, GA-based exhibit house Exhibitus, Toshiba covered a 6-foot-long counter with a 3-inch-thick resin block. Designers embedded iconic products from earlier eras, such as typewriter keys that spelled out Toshiba Global Commerce and old floppy disks, in that surface, and backlighting from within the display offered a subtle design touch. The clever countertop showed off Toshiba's storied presence in the industry while providing the perfect backdrop to display the company's current point-of-sale computers.
Simply laying out products in your booth does little to demonstrate what they will look like when installed on a home. So to help attendees visualize its wares in action, Eagle Roofing Products, a division of Burlington Industries Inc., built a miniature house-like structure for its booth at the 2016 International Roofing Expo. The prop was covered with a smattering of the company's roofing tiles, and each end featured the Eagle Roofing Products logo. Staffers escorted interested attendees to the miniature house ‐ situated smack in the middle of the booth ‐ to touch and feel the products before launching into their sales spiel. Now that's one effective strategy for show and tell.
Sometimes all it takes to make your press kit stand out is a good sense of humor. And PaperFreckles delivered with a kit full of wit at the National Stationery Show. The Richmond, VA-based maker of wholesale greeting cards, paper goods, and gifts housed its press kit inside a simple 12-by-9.75-inch cardboard envelope. A large kraft-paper sticker on the front of the envelope read, in part: "This is our shameless self promotion kit (aka, press kit). It says lots of nice things about us and every word of it is true... Some things may seem too good to be true, so you'll just have to trust us." Additional text promised "objects of a fantastical nature" inside and closed with the company's name and booth number. Inside the envelope, recipients found a product catalog, company fact sheet, and a free set of greeting cards. But it was the envelope's exterior that best conveyed the brand's personality, proving that sometimes you can judge a kit by its cover.
A Glowing Recommendation
Claiming a product repels water is far less convincing than demonstrating its effectiveness. So Chauvet & Sons Inc., a provider of high-performance lighting products, devised an aisle-side demo in its exhibit at Live Design International. To illustrate the waterproof qualities of its Freedom Par Quad-4 IP light fixture, Chauvet set up a Plexiglas box filled with two of its lighting elements. Despite a steady stream of water pouring down from the interior, the fixtures projected varying shades of yellow or blue light in a glowing display that verified the product's claims and attracted attention in the dimly lit exhibit hall.
Working within a small 10-by-20-foot space at GlassBuild America, Magnaline Systems Inc. devised an ingenious exhibit to highlight its folding doors and slide-and-stack door and window systems. In effect, the entire exhibit was a large box with the company's folding doors positioned along the front side of the aisle, offering easy access and visibility into the interior. Meanwhile, one end of the exhibit adjacent to a main traffic aisle featured a solid wall with an inset window display. Continually manned by a staffer, the display looked very much like a drive-through window at a fast-food restaurant. The clever concept caught the eyes of passersby who strolled up to the window to collect an order of product information.
Strght, a maker of hand-carved skateboards, kept things natural in its booth at the Magic trade show in Las Vegas. Rather than use humdrum fixtures, the Vista, CA-based company scoured local forests for fallen trees, fashioned that timber into notched posts of varying heights (ideal for showcasing several of Strght's wares), and then attached a circular base printed with multicolored graphics. The clever ‐ and Green ‐ displays communicated the brand's artisanal spirit at a glance.
Most exhibitors simply use their booths as backgrounds for showing off their core capabilities. But at EXHIBITORLIVE, Chisel 3D, a division of ID3 group, turned its 10-by-10-foot booth into an Aztec-inspired scene to highlight its custom-fabrication skills. Faux stone caked with moss, sculpted pieces reminiscent of ancient ruins, creeping synthetic vines, and flooring from Brumark Total Flooring Solutions, an Exploring Inc. company, printed to look like a cobblestone pathway converged to create a convincing scene. Subtle inclusions of the firm's shield-shaped logo in various carved elements branded the space and showcased the company's proprietary "3Dimensioneering" techniques. Moreover, Chisel 3D generated brand-building buzz, sales-worthy leads, and countless social-media posts about the space.