Your conference sponsorship fee might have been expensive, but it's not your entire investment. You’re competing with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of brands on the exhibition floor. And to make it worthwhile, you have to spend between 25-50 percent more to create a unique experience that actually drives conversations.
If you’re only using what the conference provided as part of the sponsorship, you’ll inevitably look and feel like everyone else. So, how do you ensure your booth stands out? Create memories — memories that will stick with your visitors far after they leave.
To create those memories, you have to first understand how humans create memories. Consider these four things:
1. People remember feelings
People won’t always remember how you communicated or what you said but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.
Think about what emotion you want an attendee to feel when they get to your booth. Will they feel inspired? Will they feel excited? Will they feel understood?
When you start the conversation, avoid launching into a product pitch or ordinary questions like, “How’s the conference going for you?” I’ve started conversations with openers as absurd as “Is an avocado a fruit? And if so, is it the best fruit?”
Make your booth a special and inviting place. Introduce booth attendees to other booth visitors. Rent comfortable furniture and cushiony carpet. Encourage relevant, contextual conversations by ensuring your booth staff knows about the content and session schedule for the day.
2. People remember surprises
It’s a scientific fact: encountering the unexpected actually creates memories in your brain.
Think of what you can bring to the booth that’s completely out-of-the-box. For example, indulge all five senses by exposing attendees to a specific scent, giving them something textured to hold or offering unique foods. Provide entertainment that will shock and delight your booth visitors, such as having food prepared by a local chef, who leads visitors through a unique tasting of grilled cheeses paired with different types of tequila.
You can even incorporate the power of surprise by giving booth visitors special “exclusive access” or a “key” to your satellite events hosted after the conference in a cool location with a surprise performer.
3. People remember simplicity
When people read, they function on short-term memory.
Avoid complex language. Ensure your messaging is simple, clear and easy-to-remember – your booth should talk. Your signage should qualify your booth traffic, so you don’t have to. The overall experience should give you and your team more time to spend with people who are actually interested.
4. People remember repetition
Repetition is crucial in pre-event communications. Ensure you’re targeting your audience with the same messaging across invites, social messaging and ads. That way, they’ll remember you before they’ve even met you.
Keep the repetition going after the booth. If you have the luxury of having a few days to ramp up your conference presence, give yourself at least two days to qualify booth traffic and ramp up networking. If you’re at a four-day conference, schedule a VIP dinner or big satellite event on day three. Then, invite those people to your events when they’re at the highest point of engagement.
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