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Trade Show Booth Design Tips: Floorplan First!

You’re investing in a new tradeshow booth, and it has to deliver on many different levels. It has to look stunning, drawing visitors from across a crowded room. It has to tell a story about your brand, products and services. And it has to make relationship building easy. After all, face-to-face marketing is the #1 reason to exhibit at trade shows, right?

Designing a new trade show exhibit can be exciting. But before you look at cool designs, finishes and technologies, you should accomplish one important task that might not feel as fun: You have to get the floorplan right.

It isn’t glamorous. It can be time-consuming. But the payoff is a booth that delivers on your investment by really working for you.

It’s about storytelling. The floorplan lets you plot out how you want visitors to experience your content. Think about building their knowledge and interest as they make their way through your space.

It’s about flow. Design your space so people can move comfortably through it. Avoid bottlenecks, and eliminate confusion with clear entrances and exits. Ensure that gathering areas are big enough to handle peak capacity. Pro tip: Tape out the floorplan in a large room, and physically experience it to see how it feels and find unexpected traffic snarls.

It’s about creating a great experience for your audience. When visitors are comfortable, when they can tell an experience has been well thought-out, they feel taken care of.

It’s about setting your team up for success. Decide how you want your reps to interact with guests, then create spaces that facilitate. If you’re selling, for example, your floorplan might place your team at the end, after guests have had an opportunity to learn about your innovations. Or you might place huddle spaces strategically throughout the booth for one-on-one conversations.

It’s the foundation of a beautiful design. Stunning shapes, impressive tech, beautiful materials… all these will be layered onto of a core experience that can be enabled and enhanced by your designers’ creativity.

At MPG, we tell clients the floorplan is often the hardest part of the process. Once we get it right, our designers are free to work their magic, while we can be confident the final product will not only look amazing, but successfully deliver on our client’s objectives.

To learn more about how MPG can help design your next trade show booth, contact us today.

Make Magic by Expertly Mixing Education and Entertainment at Your Next Event

MPG hired a magician to help entertain dental hygienists at Crest + Oral-B's annual ADHA breakfast

How do you show 700 dental hygienists you appreciate them at 7:30 a.m.? By putting on a great show!

Crest and Oral-B attend the American Dental Hygienists Association’s annual conference to connect with hygienists and showcase all the ways that the brands support their profession. That’s because hygienists are vital to improving oral health, and they are major recommenders of oral care products.

Crest and Oral-B show their love by hosting a breakfast event that has become a “must attend” at the conference. It includes a healthy helping of product information and promotion for the brands’ Hygienist Proud program, but the key to success is an expert mix of education and entertainment. (For highlights, check out our video.)

If you’re hosting a VIP gathering and want to strike the right balance of fun and information, consider these tips:

Craft an Engaging Theme – It grabs peoples’ attention and opens the door for creative approaches to content. Our most recent ADHA breakfast featured a magician, so we created the tagline, “Supporting You and the Magic You Do,” then tied all elements to it.

Hire a Great Act – Taking a break for music, dance, a comedian or other entertainer not only makes the event more enjoyable, it can help with pacing. Have them perform one long set, or several shorter ones as intervals between more serious material.

Get an Experienced Emcee – A professional host can keep things moving, engage the audience, and put everyone from speakers to special guests at ease. Don’t leave this important role to someone on your team, no matter how great they are in front of a crowd. Trust us on this one, you need a pro.

Keep it Crisp – When developing your event script, try to keep the entire production under an hour. Be mindful of how long any single person or group is onstage. You want your audience to leave wanting more, not worrying they’ll be late to their next class or meeting.

Use Great Visuals – Hiring someone to create an event logo, a custom template, and even a few animations will pay off. Strive to keep a good variety of visuals onscreen at all times, from Powerpoint or Keynote slides to IMAG, which can be coordinated with your production company.

Speaking of which, MPG can help you engage, educate and entertain any audience. Contact us to chat about how we can make your next event a “must attend.”

 

<3 Your Audience - Put a Little Love in Your Presentations

Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash

A presentation is a bit like a first date. You want to be likeable. You want to make a meaningful connection. And you want to leave your audience wanting more. A good presentation can be the start of a beautiful relationship. So whether you’re appearing at a trade show or hosting an in-depth meeting session, try these tips for standing out and helping your audience feel the love.

Make It More About Them, Less About You – Craft your content around what will be meaningful to them. It’s fine if your end goal is sales, but offer something they can’t find anywhere else, too — unique insights, new research, or even just a memorable experience.

Respect Their Time – For a trade show booth, the ideal presentation runs between five to eight minutes. For longer presentations, try to break things up into shorter, sweeter segments. And don’t forget to simply thank people for spending time with you. It’s a simple gesture that goes a long way.

Engage Their Senses – For presentations detailing the science behind shampoo, we’ve passed around vials to smell and hair swatches to feel. We’ve even filled a theater with bubbles. Go beyond visuals, when possible, to craft experiences that feel immersive.

Entertain if You Can – For longer events especially, think about creative ways to deliver your content. Could you involve musicians? Acrobats? Dancers? Presentations of any length can benefit from audience involvement. And a fun theme can make even the most dry content feel fresh.

Make Them Comfortable – Consider the environment overall. If you’re presenting at a trade show, remember your visitors have been on their feet for hours and provide seating. For longer sessions in bigger spaces, make sure it’s easy to see, hear and get involved with the action.

Give Gifts – If your industry allows it, reward your audience with free samples or fun swag.

Follow Up – Don’t ghost them when the event’s over. Ask your audience to opt in for future communication, then send a little something of extra value: Exclusive content or a special offer. Remember, face-to-face marketing is all about building relationships.

Happy Valentine’s Day from MPG. To see if we’re a good match for your brand and message, contact us today.

 

Experiential Marketing White Elephants: Turn Challenges Into Gifts With These Tips

Happy holidays from MPG! As the year comes to an end, many of our clients are creating exciting new marketing experiences for 2019. Most projects, however, come with a few white elephants—challenges and line items that no one really enjoys, but everyone has to make the best of.

If that sounds like your next project, check out these tips for transforming some common live marketing white elephants into gifts your audience will love.

Challenge: Old booth or exhibit that generates little traffic

Transformational Tip: Consider adding a live presentation or live demos. Touchscreens and graphics rarely capture or hold attention. But a live person delivering your message creates instant engagement, plus the impression that your space is a “must visit.” Why be static and dull when you can tell a complete story with a personal touch?

Challenge: Highly technical content with lots of jargon

Transformational Tip: Find a theme that allows you to simplify while engaging your audience’s imagination and emotions. If you’re marketing to an audience of subject matter experts, you don’t want to dumb it down. But a layer of storytelling can bring your message to life and make it more memorable.

Challenge: Too much content

Transformational Tip: Spread it out over several mediums. Keeping experiences under five minutes—eight minutes max—keeps people from getting bored. Capture their attention first. Then post content experts nearby, hand out supplemental material, or direct your audience to a website.

Challenge: Too many cooks

Transformational Tip: It’s common to have a lot of stakeholders giving input and approval throughout the creative process. To minimize delays and bottlenecks, create a clear schedule with plenty of time for everyone to weigh in. Then create one point of contact between your internal team and your agencies.

Challenge: Unmotivated team

Transformational Tip: Face-to-face marketing is a specialty. Expecting your sales team to sparkle at a trade show for 8 hours a day may be unrealistic. Professional brand ambassadors, on the other hand, are experts at drawing people in, communicating full messages, and maintaining friendly smiles, even when their feet are killing them.

Do you have a project that could use transforming? Contact us to find out how we can make your message shine.

Presentation Best Practices: Easy Tips for Effective Presentations

Presentation Best Practices

At MPG, we’ve built our business around great presentations. We make them fun. We make them interactive. We make them educational, or thought-provoking, or heartwarming… whatever best tells our clients’ stories. And we make them every day. It’s what we do.

It may not be what you do. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a presentation that wows. By following a few presentation best practices, you can make your message engaging and memorable, whether you’re giving a talk to co-workers or delivering a keynote address to hundreds.

First, know your audience. What do they want to learn from you? What do they already know (or think they know)? What kind of tone is likely to resonate with them? Are they super serious, or would they enjoy something lighter?

Keep it short. We’ve found that the most effective presentations run about five to eight minutes. Choose no more than three key points, and direct your audience to supplemental materials like a website if they want to learn more.

Keep it simple. Look for a “hook” that captures your main message, then repeat it several times, both visually and in your script. Feel like you’re diving too deep into a topic? Trust that instinct! Better to leave them wanting more, than let them walk away numb from information overload.

Let your visuals do the work (but not all of it). Your audience should be paying attention to you, not trying to read your PowerPoint slides. Choose visuals that complement what you’re saying, rather than repeat it. Think bold single images vs. tons of bullet-points.

Break it up. Hold your audience’s attention by incorporating other voices and infusing freshness wherever possible. If you can weave in video, GIFs or animations, do it! Dual presenters, or an interview format, can help as well.

Involve the audience. Invite them to play a game. Poll them, either with technology or a show of hands. Get them shouting a catch phrase, or out of their seats doing some simple dance moves. People are more likely to remember an experience that engaged vs. a dry lecture.

Practice, practice, practice! Finish your script and polish your visuals with plenty of time to rehearse. We offer presentation coaching to help you be your very best. When you’re at ease, your audience will be more likely to trust you and remember what you’ve shared with them.

Instead of crafting your own presentation, why not let MPG do it? We’re experts at professional interactive, multimedia presentations for events of all sizes. Contact us to chat about how we can help put your message in the spotlight.

Interactive Games for Presentations: Make It Memorable By Making It Fun

Interactive games for presentations

Want to make your next presentation memorable? Then get the audience involved. Tactics as simple as questions that require a show of hands can pull people out of passive-listening mode. But if you really want them engaged with your message, then interactive games could be a winning strategy.

High-tech, low-tech, sophisticated or silly, games give your audience a stake in the experience. To find the right one for your presentation, start with a few questions.

What’s my tone? If your topic is light and your audience is up for a good time, you can be humorous—even zany. Ask yourself how far you can push before it feels like “too much.” Even with a serious subject, games are still a viable option. Go for something like audience polling, and keep the approach more buttoned-up.

What’s my objective? Want to drive home a key message? Try a game that includes trivia or call and response. If you want to collect information from your audience or gauge their knowledge, then surveys or polls are a good bet. And if you just want to infuse a little fun, then go for something that gets them out of their seats, competing, and smiling.

What’s my budget? Audience response systems, touchscreens and other high-tech game interfaces are impressive if you can afford them. If not, there are plenty of options that cost little to nothing.

Once you know your goals and parameters, you’re ready to get gaming. Here are some of MPG’s top interactive games for presentations.

Classic Games – For Crest and Oral-B each year, we’re tasked with engaging people as they wait to get into our convention booth. Our objective is to help pass the time, prep them for what’s coming, and reinforce some key product messages. Dental professionals like to have fun, so we’ve done versions of Family Feud, Pictionary and even “hangman” with a Crest + Oral-B twist.

Classic games are great because nearly everyone is familiar with them. So you spend less time explaining and more time having fun.

A few tips:

– Most classic games can be adapted to fit your presentation theme. Choose one based on how it engages the audience, then tweak the name, visuals and other elements.

– Most classic games require audience members to answer questions in order to score or advance. So they’re great for driving home key messages and providing jump-off points for deeper dives.

– Some classic game templates are available in Powerpoint, or they’re easy to create. For a game as simple as tic tac toe, all you need is a dry erase board.

Audience Response:  These work well in more structured presentations. And with a range of technologies and costs, it’s not hard to find one that fits your budget. You can take polls or ask the audience survey questions. You can even get segments of the audience competing against each-other. Challenge yourself to be creative and make it fun.

Interactive games for presentations

Low-Tech, High-Impact: No money for bells and whistles? These games require little more than a good presenter and a willing audience.

– Elimination: Have everyone in the audience stand, then ask segments to sit based on criteria such as years in their profession. The last people standing should represent an achievement or point of view that your presenter can elaborate on or celebrate.

– Word of the Day: Audience members vote, by show of hands or applause, on a word or phrase that the presenter must weave into his or her remarks.

– Call and Response: Whenever the presenter says a certain word or phrase, the audience must respond with their own phrase and/or action.

– Singalong: Re-write the lyrics to a popular song, put it onscreen, then invite the audience to help sing it. For extra fun, add some choreography.

Not sure whether a game is the right approach for your next presentation? Chat with MPG. We’ll craft a strategy guaranteed to connect with your audience, then execute with excellence.

 

 

Trade Show Trends: Our Top Takeaways from CES and ExhibitorLive

Live presentations draw crowds at Trade Shows

When you spend your days crafting concepts that inspire and engage others, you need a little inspiration yourself. That’s why MPG makes CES and ExhibitorLive must-sees at the start of every new year. We go to the consumer technology megashow and the exhibiting industry’s premier expo to experience new technologies and get a feel for the trends and themes that have the potential to resonate with our audiences.

We saw a lot that excited us this year. We also saw things that underwhelmed. And much of it confirmed our core beliefs about what works in the unique face-to-face marketing environment of a trade show.

Here are our top takeaways:

Booths Are Going Next Level

Everywhere we looked we saw multi-story booths. Two and even three levels are almost commonplace, providing intimate places for conversation above the hubbub, or even a bird’s eye view of the show floor. This approach definitely helps solve space challenges, but accessibility can be an issue.

People Don’t Always Think With Their Stomachs

Food and beverage themes have been big for several years, with booths featuring bartenders, chefs and other delectables. But at this year’s Exhibitor show, most of these were sparsely attended unless they provided something active and visually appealing, such as an “artist” rolling toppings into slab ice cream. To stand out, today’s F&B-themed experiences need to be extra-clever and eye-catching.

Live Presentations Draw Crowds

We see it every year. Big booths with lots of touchscreens stand empty, while 10X20s with magicians and other performers are crowded with people. Call them cheesy or hucksterish, but they’re getting something right. Using a professional to deliver messages in an engaging way is a surefire strategy to get people to stop, listen and interact.

Timing Is Everything

For maximum crowd-draw, presentations should happen back to back. We saw one exhibitor with a cool fashion week theme, models in amazing outfits, and an empty red carpet. They were only doing their presentation a few times an hour, which meant… you guessed it, no one in the booth. If you’re going live, then double cast so that your booth is always full.

Immersive trade show booth at CES

Technology Is Still Scaling Up

Virtual reality, touchscreen games, and many other new technologies are still either one-person activities or able to engage just a handful of attendees at once. Balance these out with demos and experiences that engage bigger audiences. You’ll vastly increase the number of people who walk away with your full message.

Immersion Works

Some booths almost made us forget we were at a tradeshow. They plunged us into stories and environments that reminded us how powerful a good theme can be. In sessions at Exhibitor, we heard about how younger audiences want experiences that take them outside of themselves. More and more, we think they’ll be demanding exhibits that are truly unique.

Face to Face is Still Best

People attend trade shows so they can connect with real people and experience brand benefits for themselves. So make sure you’re providing something they can’t get online. One quote from an Exhibitor session stood out: “If what you’re considering can be done better with a website, then come up with something else.”

At MPG, we believe meaningful interaction with real people is the key to trade show success. If you want to ensure your booth is packed and your visitors are fully engaged, then drop us a line. We’d love to chat.

Jetting into the New Year with International Business Travel Tips

A few members of our team were lucky to spend some holiday time in Barcelona, helping with an international meeting. The event went well, but required quick thinking and creativity from everyone. That’s because weather snarled airports around the globe, causing canceled flights, delays, missed connections, and lost luggage.

Organizers who had planned to arrive a comfortable couple of days in advance got there the night before. A few key personnel arrived with just hours to spare. Many were without a change of clothes, let alone professional attire.

Luckily, most were able to fit in a quick shopping trip. And our team helped ensure that presentations were formatted, rehearsed and ready to go, even if the speakers were bravely battling jetlag. We learned a few things, that’s for sure!

So here’s our New Year’s gift: Tips for performing at your peak while abroad. Assuming you’ve done the basics, like making photocopies of your passport, securing visas, and getting cash in the proper currency, be sure to…

Store files online. Powerpoints, agendas, spreadsheets… If you’ll need it onsite, don’t let the only copy travel on someone’s laptop. Use Box, Google Drive or another online option to ensure everyone can access their materials from anywhere.

Rehearse at home (or on the plane). Don’t count on a leisurely rehearsal day to make sure you’re ready. Practice your presentation, with slides and any other visuals, well before you leave. If that’s not possible, spend some of your airplane time going over it in your head.

Be healthy before take-off. Travel takes its toll, especially if it’s drawn out with extra flights and long waits in airports. To arrive as fresh as possible at your final destination, start getting plenty of sleep, fluids and healthy food at least a week before you depart. While en route, drink lots of water, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and try to eat light.

Carry on toiletries, and a change of clothes. If possible, bring enough for a day so you can be fresh should your luggage get lost. That includes clean underwear, a toothbrush, make-up and an extra shirt or lightweight dress that looks more professional than your travelwear.

Pack energy food. There’s always a chance you’ll have to skip a meal, or that the local fare won’t appeal to a sensitive stomach. Bring granola bars, trail mix, pretzels—something you can eat on the go that will keep you fueled for the journey.

Let the hotel help. The concierges at our hotel were wonderful at tracking down our luggage and making sure it found its way back to us. Rather than spend time on the phone, struggling with an unfamiliar language, take advantage of the services available where you’re staying.

Save receipts. Most airlines will reimburse for the cost of replacing clothes and toiletries up to a certain amount per day. It might not be much in the long run, but every little bit helps.

Keep calm and soldier on. Travel woes happen—everyone understands that. Focus on what you can control: doing your job as well as possible. And, if you get a free moment or two, make the most of the trip by seizing the opportunity to sightsee. You won’t regret it!

Are you looking for a new experience in the New Year? Give us a call to discuss how MPG can put your message in the spotlight.

 

Serious Subject? Try a Little Humor

Humor is a great way to get attention and inspire fresh perspectives. It’s also a tool too often overlooked with experiential marketing strategies aimed at professional audiences.

We’re not just talking about a joke or two to warm up a crowd. We’re talking theming that pushes the envelope. Funny takes on traditionally sober topics. Devices and delivery styles that get people laughing, then thinking, then nodding their heads.

The MPG team had tons of fun helping Crest and Oral-B reach out to healthcare professionals who work with pregnant women. Recent research shows a woman’s oral health can have a big impact on her pregnancy and perhaps even the health of her baby.

We could have gone the straight-faced route, which would have been more than appropriate for the venue: The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses Convention (AWHONN). But we’d heard that nurses are a fun-loving crowd, so we used a lighter touch.

Enter the “Dirty Mouth Moms”

Because most pregnant women are prone to gingivitis (gum inflammation caused by plaque build-up) and probably don’t know it, we educated the nurses in our audience that most of their patients have “dirty” mouths. We brought the theme to life with bleeped-out words and images of pregnant women covering their mouths in surprise, then used it as a springboard to share how Crest, Oral-B and the March of Dimes can help.

Nurses loved the approach, and stuck around to learn about how their guidance and recommendations can help create healthier moms and stronger babies.

To see more of our work at AWHONN, check out our website. And if you’re interested in bringing a little humor to your next professional engagement, consider these tips.

Know Your audience. If you’re unexperienced with engaging a certain group, leverage any professional advisory panels your company might have, or even territory managers who interact with them regularly, to find out what kinds of messaging and approaches are likely to resonate.

Dare to be irreverent. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Look at the problem you’re trying to solve through many different lenses. Brainstorm freely—even around topics that may be considered untouchable. You can always reign yourself back in as you refine concepts and content.

Test it out. Run your concept past several representatives of the audience you’re trying to engage. Do they think it will work overall? Are there aspects that should be tweaked in order to avoid offending? If possible, share draft scripts as well to ensure you’re walking the right side of the line.

Commit. Once you’ve decided to go humorous and you’ve done your homework, go whole-heartedly. Your audience will go along if you’re confident in your delivery and committed to your comedy. Win them over, get them chuckling, and they’ll be more receptive to your overall message.

Get Inspired at Your Next Tradeshow

Get tradeshow inspiration by walking the floor at your next trade show

At every trade show we attend, we take time out to walk the floor with our clients and check out what their rivals are up to.

Of course it’s important to keep up with the competition, but that’s not the main reason we spend so much time studying the work of others. We make sure to see everything on the show floor, even—and especially—booths for companies that have nothing to do with our clients’ products or services. Because the best ideas are sometimes found in the most unlikely places.

Inspiration is everywhere if you look with the right eyes. Here’s how to find ideas as you wander the aisles at your next trade show.

Notice what catches your eye.

A good booth captures your attention from a distance. Good branding at a good height is essential, but what else makes you want to approach and enter? Observe the use of color and lighting, the way various architectural pieces are configured. Are there any concepts you could incorporate into your next booth?

Look for great storytelling.

Perhaps it’s a fun theme, or an appeal to the visitor’s emotions. Or maybe it’s a great flow that takes people on a journey through the benefits of a product. Exhibitors vary in their sensitivity to letting other exhibitors tour their booths, so you might not be able to view presentations and other storytelling pieces in-depth, but you can often see a lot from the aisle. You’re not looking to steal an idea outright, you’re learning techniques for telling your own stories in more compelling ways.

Study how other exhibitors engage crowds and individuals.

Is there a pre-set flow? Do they have brand ambassadors actively welcoming people into the space? Are there live presentations and demos? What elements of the experience are people interacting with, and which pieces are sitting untouched? Find the booths that are packed and see if you can discover their special sauce. Then build on those ideas to whip up your own winning recipe.

Watch what they’re wearing.

If you suspect your team needs a more cohesive, snappy look, then check out what other exhibitors are doing to put their best folks forward. From matching polos and blazers to themed costumes, you’re sure to find lots of options to repurpose.

Take names.

If there’s a virtual reality game you love, or a presentation that’s especially well done, don’t be shy about asking after the agency/vendor that created it. Assuming the exhibitor isn’t a direct competitor, they will probably be happy to share, and you can explore bringing a bit of that magic to your next exhibiting opportunity.

Want more inspiration for your next trade show exhibit? Then give our team at MPG a call.

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