Many companies attend industry trade shows, conferences, and other events throughout the year in order to network with colleagues, meet the press, and interact with prospective clients or the consumer public at large. These forums provide them with a platform to wheel and deal, announce upcoming product launches for the year, and basically spread their brand name around. However, such events also tend to feature a host of other companies doing the exact same thing, which means you have to shout above the din in order to be heard (sometimes literally). And if you don’t have the biggest and loudest display on the block you could easily get lost in the shuffle. This, of course, is bad news for small businesses that are trying to compete with the massive coffers funding their corporate brethren. But even if you’re no match for the Goliaths of your industry, you can still find ways to make your mark and attract some attention for your business at major promotional events. Here are just a few way to get the brand recognition you crave.
There are two things to remember when it comes to promoting yourself at big, loud events. The first is that actions speak louder than words. Have you noticed that when people speak quietly or infrequently, others pay more attention to what they’re saying? There’s bound to be a lot of noise in whatever auditorium or convention center is hosting your event, so just concede that you’re probably not going to outdo your neighbors on this front. This goes right along with the second principle you should adhere to: a picture is worth a thousand words. The idea here is to use visual tactics to catch the attention of passersby and bring them into your event space (generally a booth of some sort). Skip the shouting match and the tent covered in text explanations and find ways to mount a creative visual display.
You’ll want to start by making your products or services larger than life somehow. If you’re putting all your eggs in one basket with a focus on visual medium you need to make sure that it’s big enough to catch the eye of those attending the event. So if you’re doing demonstrations, for example, you should mount flatscreens in and around your booth to show close-ups on the action. Or if you’ve hired a company to create promotional videos for you, it behooves you to ensure that there is either some kind of spectacle involved or else a humorous aspect that can be conveyed visually. Viral marketing campaigns of the past can give you a springboard here. Just think about Samsung’s LED sheep art video, or the Blendtec “Will it blend?” series (both can be found on YouTube). You might even build out your booth as a larger-than-life model of whatever your latest product is so that viewers can actually go inside your product for a closer look. The sky is the limit (depending on your budget).
Another tactic that many companies employ is the use of booth babes, or actresses and models hired as virtual eye candy. In most cases they wear outfits bearing the company logo and hand out informational pamphlets. But you may be able to go the extra mile and have them act as spokesmodels for your company or even do some kind of performance intermittently throughout the day. You might not hire a troupe of tumblers or rent a fire breather, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box and find creative ways to attract attention and promote your brand at major industry events.