Home 9 Fabrication 9 What Makes a Great Trade Show Display

Trade shows are a celebration, a competition, and a marketing opportunity all at once. They’re a chance to network with other professionals in your field while also showing off your own company’s achievements.

Companies try many strategies to boost their profile at trade shows: giving away swag, sending out press releases and social media posts. But nothing beats an immersive, memorable trade store display. Using the principles of experiential marketing, you can make your company stand out to other professionals and potential customers by giving them an experience they’ll never forget.

So what makes a great trade show display? The answer is not always to go big and flashy. Instead, make sure your display follows the four principles outlined below.

Expert Craftsmanship

Your trade show display should be solidly constructed, with good structural fundamentals and attention to detail. It needs to hold up under a great deal of foot traffic, often in the thousands, and handle the wear and tear of occupying a busy convention floor. Plus, the pieces need to be transported from the fabrication facility to the trade show and sometimes assembled on-site. These considerations are even more acute for traveling pop-up displays that need to hold up for extended periods of time.

Show Ready stands by our craftsmanship in work such as the statues of Kratos and Atreus we made for Santa Monica Studio, creators of the God of War games. We crafted the statues out of foam and gave them a faux-bronze look, which made them both durable and easy to transport. The statues were hand-carved and still decorate the Santa Monica Studio lobby today.

Supermouth Display

Innovative Design

Great design catches the eye and makes an impression on all those who interact with your trade show display. For E3 2016, Show Ready played our best game for our longtime client 2K Games, constructing a sprawling two-story complex that dominated the floor of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The bulk of the exhibit was a New Orleans-esque cobblestone street to promote the release of the game Mafia III. The exhibit also included distinct environments for three other games: NBA 2K, Sid Meier’s Civilization, and WWE 2K, including a place for visitors to test their skills shooting basketballs. With careful planning and smart design, a trade show display can promote multiple products at once.

Relevance to Your Brand

When planning your company’s big statement for an upcoming trade show, ask yourself: what do potential investors or customers want to see from my brand? What will help me stick in their minds so they’ll remember me, even when they head home?

It’s one of the oldest principles of show business: give the audience what they want. This is accomplished through relevance, through anticipating the audience’s needs and connecting them with your brand.

In 2022, Crown Media Networks wanted us to go big for their Countdown to Christmas event promoting their lineup of Christmas movies. So we brainstormed the idea of wrapping up their Los Angeles headquarters like a Christmas present. This innovative display worked, generating ample publicity and social media recognition. One reason for this success was the display’s relevance to the brand: spreading fun and joy and inspiring surprise just like a great Christmas present.

A Message

The ultimate consideration for your trade show display should be: what is my message? What do I want the audience to take away, beyond a general feeling of engagement? This could be as simple as “buy my product,” but more sophisticated messages generally connect better with people.

When we were commissioned to build a display for the Nix Canyon Nature Center in Orange County, California, the message obviously had nothing to do with buying a product. Instead, it was simply: “respect and appreciate nature.” The display’s flowing lines and organic color palette inspired by the surroundings encouraged people to connect with the landscape. At a trade show, usually you’re promoting a product or service. But that doesn’t mean your message needs to be about buying or selling; it can work on your audience in more subtle ways.

With a great trade show display, you’ll build awareness for your message and give your audience an unforgettable experience. The rewards aren’t just measured in sales leads and social media mentions; you’ll start to build a reputation and positive word of mouth. Show Ready is here to help realize your trade show dreams and build a bright future for your brand.


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