Generating experiences and engagement in a commercial audience is becoming increasingly important in the customer relations process and in the business relationship lifecycle. Fairs and exhibitions are a perfect way to generate mass experiences. Making them experience what you sell is the key.
Therefore, for the industry as a whole, organizers, agencies, exhibitors, etc., being able to create unique experiences around an event for the community of a certain sector is a “must”, and our proposed trends for 2018 are based on this.
#trend1.- YOUR STAND IS THE STAGE OF A THEATRE ON WHICH THINGS ARE ALWAYS HAPPENING
Imagine that your company’s presence at an event means that for a certain number of days your company’s headquarters move to the place where the industry’s most important commercial event is held. Your stand is the space where you build a theatre stage with a non-stop programme and content that constantly interacts with your audience, whom you make part of the show. Your stand is not merely a few square yards where you sell your brand. Look at it in 4 dimensions: BRAND AWARENESS, ENGAGEMENT, SALES LEADS AND CUSTOMER LOYALTY, not only from a physical but also a digital point of view.
#trend2.- YOUR AUDIENCE EXPECTS TECHNOLOGY FROM YOU
In our homes, in our jobs, in our environment… we are a hyper-connected society. Just as important, if not more important than providing information to your business audience, is how you deliver it. There are many ways to transmit information in new, innovative and economical ways. Incorporating technology into your screen doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. New training and information tools based on technology, digitization, virtual and augmented reality… The strategy can be as simple as including touch screen interfaces or useful devices like Bluetooth beacons to connect to consumer devices. The benefit of this is threefold: attendees will be attracted to staying at your connected booth, and you have the opportunity to capture their data and convey your brand message in an innovative and exciting way. Your business audience is eager to be amazed.
From RFID trackers to kiosks to tablets, technology in various forms has been making its presence felt at trade shows for years. Their capacity for creating commitment and interacting with visitors, while at the same time educating them, makes their future presence at trade shows inevitable. However, the exact form this technology takes varies from year to year, as advances are made and visitor preferences change. In 2018, two main trends will continue to dominate: virtual reality (which debuted this year) and digital signage. Digital signage (the use of digital media, such as LCD screens, to communicate information) presents a unique opportunity for businesses to interact with and attract visitors. Highly valuable, highly customizable, extremely versatile and capable of enabling interaction (through media like touch screens), digital signage is becoming the way to go when it comes to trade shows.
#Trend3.- YOUR EVENT MUST BE SUSTAINABLE AND ECOLOGICAL
The life cycle of a production that takes part in an event is very short; it is ephemeral. There is a tendency in the market to show that you can participate in events while being environmentally responsible and committed. Consumers in general are adopting a green lifestyle, so incorporating eco-friendly designs and decorations, recycled materials and energy-saving accessories creates an impression in visitors that sustainability is part of your positioning as a company in the world.
#trend4.- HUMANITY AND HEARTFELT MARKETING
Once you have managed to attract visitors to your event or stand… I invite you to strive for HIGH-QUALITY HUMAN INTERACTIONS. A sincere, professional, warm, friendly conversation is still a company’s most valuable asset. And the people who can do it are the best ambassadors of experience. The staff manning the stand must have natural people skills. Their body language, their speech, their attitude, their disposition… are all key factors. I am not talking about salespeople, but people, your company’s ambassadors… your brand’s spokespersons. The human touch sells, and sells a lot, because it builds trust. Heartfelt marketing.
#trend5.-LIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENTS
Thanks to the new LED technology and intensity regulators we can create environments, even different ones at different times of the day, to help maintain a more harmonious circadian rhythm, and even change the aesthetics of our stand at different times during the lifetime of the event. Light is a spectacle, it is an experience. Intelligent, personalised lighting will gain in importance, with a range of intensities and colour options that create the right mood and effects. In the past, just ambient lighting was very monotonous.
# trend6.- LESS IS MORE
The current trend among international exhibitors is for their stands to have fewer digital screens and less signage,
less artwork and fewer brochures and presentations. This very minimalist approach turns the spotlight on relationships, on your visitors, potential clients, on talking about their needs and interests. The aim is to make your presence at the fair a memorable experience.
#trends7.- A CUSTOMIZED EVENT – YOUR EVENT
Each company taking part in an event has different objectives, so the organization of the show must be able to offer a whole battery of actions to bring in a ROI (return on investment) and ROO (return on objectives). The tendency is therefore to encourage each company to organize its own event within the macro-event. This adds up and exponentially empowers both the exhibitors’ commitment and their ability to engage with their own community.
#trends8.- THINK M3, not M2: TOWARDS IMMERSIVE SPACES
Even if the trade fair organiser sends you the floor plan of the stand with the measurements of its length and width, it is important to take into account the complete volume of the stand, based on the assembly regulations of that particular trade show. Draw it in 3D with as much volume as the organization allows, so that you can play with different possibilities. It is not just about the floor and back office, but about making the interior an immersive space and taking advantage of the exterior to generate impact and notoriety.
#Trends9.- EVEN AT A PROFESSIONAL TRADE FAIR, THINK B2C