Using Our 5 Senses To Morph Boring Trade Show Displays Into Something Unique

by Aug 11, 2015

The key to maximizing your company’s presence at a trade show lies in the customization of your trade show booth. Below are 15 key ways to attract potential clients by creating a unique trade show booth display. 


Conventions and trade shows in nature are highly visual events. Taking potential customers out of the common work or hobby space and engulfing them in a new dimension of the commonality they may be bored with is a large part of what experiential marketing is about. Hence, sight (or the visual element) of trade shows should be a primary concern.

1. If Budget allows, choose the tallest display permitted by exhibit organizers. If the top of your display is visible from any location within the exhibit hall, you will maximize your company’s presence. Couple this with an announcer or performance on the second floor and you have something incredibly unique.

2. Consider a rotating trade show display to capture the attention of attendees. Ideally, a tall tower-style display with 360-degree rotation will greatly enhance your booth’s visibility.

3. Select a flooring color that will make your products “pop”. If your products are all black in color, you may wish to use white or light colored flooring. Plush carpeting or flooring planks will also help make your booth stand out from the concrete or thinly carpeted floors found in most expo halls.

4. Include flat-panel monitors set above the 6-foot mark to feature products or services in your booth. Monitors can also be an effective demonstration tool when spatial constraints of the booth prevent the inclusion of certain items.

5. If applicable, use graphics to advertise your ability to speak another language. Set yourself apart from other vendors who do not have multi-lingual staff by advertising this advantage on your display and convention materials.

6. Utilize lighting to draw attention to anything you want to stand out. Lighting can give life and luster to an otherwise drab display. If used strategically, it will direct attention to key products. More times than none, the brighter the better.




Sound is perhaps the second most powerful sense to appeal to. Do you watch TV on mute? Neither do we. Sight without sound is only partially effective at home or at the show. Don’t believe us? Walk around the show floor just after the doors close.

7. Music or audio options should be culturally sensitive and appropriately played if the convention draws a multi-cultural crowd. If it is a music convention like SXSW, pretty much anything goes (within reason…). The inclusion of music and audio materials can be effective if they are relevant and not overpowering.

8. Use an emcee, DJ or announcer to draw in anyone that can’t see your booth. Like a siren drawing in its prey, a vocal demonstration of your offering will draw in attendees that could have missed you by one isle.


touching9. People often step into a booth not only to check it out but also to get away from the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. Configure your booth to permit entry from every possible angle and avoid bottleneck designs. People should be in and out of your booth (with a purchase in hand) as fast as possible.

10. If interaction is your and hands-on demos are your goal, avoid the placement of tables around the perimeter of your booth space, as they can create a barrier between attendees and booth staff.

11. Include comfortable seating to encourage product interaction and purchases. Plush seating can entice leg weary customers, high-profile clientele and VIPs into sitting down in your booth and experiencing more of your products and socializing.

12. Place catalogues and literature toward the center of your booth to encourage entry. This will help prevent people from grabbing swag as they pass by your booth instead of actually entering your booth space.

13. Transform your space into a mock venue to illustrate how your products are used. For instance, a company that manufactures golf clubs may have a booth design that resembles a popular putting green with free demos (leave the long range drivers home!).




Conventions such as TPC, Natural Products Expo or Philadelphia Flower Show have a huge need to attract to the smell or taste sense for obvious reasons. Most times it will be unavoidable to not have a smell associated with a food or smoke show but for taste some careful considerations should take place.

14. Ensure that any food or promotional materials are culturally appropriate. This is especially important if you are exhibiting your products overseas or have foreign companies exhibiting domestically. If you think your product may be offensive place in a low traffic area and rely on booth staff to make it apparent to anyone that may be interested.

15. Specialized product displays for food or beverage shows are required so that attendees are attracted to your product without being nervous of contaminants but can still experience the product.



 A Final Word of Advice

Don’t forget large conventions like ComicCon International or PAX Prime have a multitude of attendees, many which are impaired. Any trade show booth that makes a conscious effort to accommodate them will be considered an incredibly unique display by not only attendees but the competition as well.

Take a small lesson from this. A booth designed to appeal to everyone possible will most likely be successful but unique, memorable, epic? Probably not.

Standing out from the crowd is just that. Observe the competition. What are they missing, what isn’t working? What failed you last year? Can you do without it this year? Make your booth unique by taking everything into consideration including all five senses us humans have been blessed with. 

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