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Tips From the Best of Show Judges

Staff Can Make or Break Your Exhibit

85% of your success at a trade show is dependent on the staff. No matter how pretty your booth is, it can’t have a conversation with visitors, only the staff can. They can make or break your success.

  • We love energetic staff who
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    appear “show ready”. What’s show ready you ask? Staff that are ready and present to work the event. From the moment the doors open, staff that stand out are those that are happy to be there, with a big smile on their face and standing at or near the aisle ready to make eye contact and greet visitors.
  • Employees who avoid chairs unless meeting with a customer are key. And, of course, being aware of non-verbals that can be off putting to a visitor-like texting, eating in an exhibit, backs to the aisle and chatting with one another.
  • We love matching “uniform” type clothing that gives a polished look. Those that incorporate colors or themes that match their marketing campaigns make for a great integrated branded look. We saw something fun and unusual this year with one exhibitor’s staff that all wore brightly colored shoes that definitely made them stand out from the rest-great job everyone who embodied these behaviors!

Stand Out in the Crowd

The show floor gets very crowded, so it's easy to get lost in the crowd. Take advantage of these tips to make sure attendees are drawn into your space:

  • Open Booth Space – Remember that keeping your booth as open as possible really makes your exhibit stand out and shine. We realize what a challenge this can be if you have a lot of product in your exhibit or you're preparing and serving food. However, we have seen it done really well by some, so look around and see what creative ideas you can come up with. Placing tables and products along the sides and back makes this a much more appealing exhibit and creates a space in front for your staff to stand and interact with visitors vs. forcing all your traffic to the aisle and creating an unwelcoming barrier between you and your customers.
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  • Lighting –Lighting truly sets your booth apart in a sea of exhibits, particularly in ballrooms where there may be bright areas but also dark spots. Without good lighting to highlight your company name or messages, you might get lost in the crowd. We saw some fun new lighting ideas in the exhibits this year, including some fully back-lit displays that caught your eye and made the graphics pop.
  • Flooring Options –Think about using a piece of carpeting or other unique flooring material as an important finishing touch.  Standout exhibits used this approach as a way to make the whole space feel more like a separate and unique environment that coordinated with their overall look and fell.

Message Hierarchy

Communicating who you are and what you do through your graphics and messaging is so important. The absence of any messages at all leave a visitor walking by to wonder, “Who are they?” “What do they do?” Your visitors should be able to tell in 3 seconds or less who you are and what you have to offer. Those that add a question or tagline that again represents your company’s mission or vision are effective ways to stop traffic and begin a conversation. Remember, it’s important for your company name to be prominently displayed towards the top or your back wall so it’s easy to find and see. Focus messaging on short benefit statements. Don't use too many messages—that’s what your great sales reps working the booth are for.

2019 Best of Show Winner

Best of Show Finalists

  1. Coastline Family Farms
  2. Taylor Farms
  3. Church Brothers
  4. Fresh Origins
  5. IPR Fresh
  6. JicaFoods
  7. CanAM Pepper Company
  8. Owyhee Produce
  9. Good Farms