There are many possible uses for trade show displays of all sizes, no matter what kind of product or service you have on offer. You’ll be exposing your business to a wide range of people within the trade show environment, so a well–designed display can be a boon to your brand and boost product recognition. With a commanding layout, memorable logo and suitable color scheme, a display draws attention to the unique things you have to offer within the trade show and ultimately draws foot traffic to your booth. Depending on the type of promotional strategy that best suits your business, you might use the panels of a trade show display to label or outline essential info about your product or service.
At its best, a trade show display does more than simply serve as a public form of advertising — when utilized to its full potential, a display will endear your brand to new customers. One question that vendors on the show circuit often ponder, however, is what to do with a trade show display beyond its initial purpose and context.
How to Reuse a Trade Show Display
Displays command lots of prestige at trade shows, where nearly all (92 percent) of attendees are there to learn about new products, and where nearly half (46 percent) of all executive buyers present make decisions on the spot. Given the rewards that a brand can reap through exposure at a trade show, imagine the type of impact that those same displays can have if utilized in other settings. Rather than keeping a successful display in storage during months when trade shows don’t occur, you could put that display to much better use throughout the year in the following settings:
- In a reception area for your business.
At a brick–and–mortar storefront, a trade show display can serve much of the same purpose that it would at an actual trade show. The moment people walk inside the door, a display that draws foot traffic at a show could just as easily serve to engage clients in the primary product or service that you feature. The display can be especially effective at enticing people that wander into your place of business with no prior knowledge of the types of products or services that you offer. Whether your brand consists of one specific item or a product category, the display can advertise and illustrate the key features of your brand in bold, memorable words and images.
- As a backdrop during a presentation.
If you’re making a product presentation before a roomful of clients or investors, a trade show display could be the perfect showcase. If the product is fairly simple and straightforward to explain and demonstrate, consider presenting the three main features and benefits that it offers across just as many panels. Even if you’ve opted to include smaller text on your trade show display, the display could still ideally work as a showcase in lieu of a screen, especially if the key sales points are worded succinctly for easy presentation. A well–designed display could make your presentation far more effective than it would be if you were to go the traditional route.
- At outdoor events and fundraisers.
Though people often think of the trade show display as an indoor tool, a display can also serve as an effective product showcase at events that are held outdoors. A showcase can function in much the same way as the typical outdoor vending booth, which usually consists of a counter with signs, products and business cards. With a trade show display, most of the info that you need to get across would already be represented by the display itself.
What to Do With a Trade Show Display in Need of Updating
In many cases, the uses of trade show displays can extend far beyond the original purpose of such an exhibit. Examples include hand–me–down displays from other sellers, as well as displays for defunct brands or products with which you’re no longer involved. Even if it’s an old display with a structure far different from what you currently have in mind for an exhibit, it can still be salvaged, upgraded or fully transformed into something that befits your next commercial endeavor.
Whether you need something brighter, bigger or in a different design than another display on hand, the following steps can help you get exactly what you want from a trade show display.
- Give the display a paint job.
Think about the most recent time you walked into a familiar room that had suddenly been repainted with a brand new color. Whether or not you liked the color choice, chances are strong that the experience and feel of the room were a lot different than before. Given how a new coat of paint can transform an old room, you can expect a similar effect for a trade show display.
A paint job might cover portions of the display or every square inch — it all depends on the message and image that you hope to get across to your intended audience. If it’s a display that you’ve used in the past, and you like the color but wish to alter a few key details, the paintwork could be a relatively simple task.
If the display is something that you found, inherited or haven’t used in years, you might be looking at a total repainting — especially if the current colors are comically outdated. For example, if it’s a set of panels that resemble something from a 70s–era game show with a brown, cream, orange and mustard scheme, you’ll probably want to paint it anew with colors that would attract modern–day foot traffic.
Paint isn’t often used on such displays, especially newer ones. Nonetheless, when it comes to older displays — particularly the tacky, visually–outdated kind — a new paint job is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to give new life to a display that might otherwise wind up in a landfill. If you’re up to the task, you could get creative with the painting process. Bear in mind that painting a display is a more delicate process than typical paint–roller work: it’s probably best to hire a professional if the painting scheme you have in mind is beyond your skill level.
- Make additions to the display.
You may have a display that’s the perfect size and color but needs some features to accommodate the product or service you intend to sell to the public. If the panels are flat but you’re selling a book or giving out copies of a pamphlet, for example, an extra shelf or rack along the paneling could be a useful addition to the display.
Maybe you need to advertise words in big, bold letters to people across a showroom, in which case you should consider placing a large sign over the top of the structure. The needed improvement might be a matter of simply making a plain and unassuming display come to life, which could easily be accomplished with the addition of lighting, whether in the form of a regular overhead light or something more eye–catching like a color wheel or neon sign.
In today’s show rooms, many attendees prefer the option of being able to browse computers at each display for more information on the given brands, products or services. Therefore, it’s best to have a computer stand added to any old, basic structure that isn’t already equipped in such a way.
- Add dimension or height to the display.
Sometimes when a display is dusted off and brought back to life, the only drawback is the width, height or depth of the structure. For instance, a 10×10 footage might have been adequate for your brand years ago when you were just starting out, but now that you’re a bigger player in your field, something larger is needed to stand out from your competition at a trade show. Depending on the layout of a given display, additional paneling could expand the width or depth by as much as five to 10 feet, which would give your brand more advertising space and an increased presence in the eyes of show attendees.
Another way to make a display more noticeable is to boost its height with overhead add–ons such as signs or symbols. With the placement of a sign on top of the structure, you could become far more visible to show attendees from across the floor than you’d otherwise be with a regular, old–fashioned display. A high sign can also make your display seem more commanding in the minds of consumers, who often associate largeness with prestige in the marketplace. A sign could be a basic billboard–like panel with big letters that display your brand name or symbol. A sign could also be something more novel, such as a neon light or revolving marquee.
- Repurpose a trade show display.
A display that appears to be of no further use might not be obsolete — it just needs to be repurposed, which can be accomplished in any given number of ways.
If the display advertises an obsolete product, have it professionally redesigned to reflect your current business interests. If the display consists of one piece that is too hard to transport due to its weight or dimensions, have the piece broken down and reassembled with detachable hinges for easier carrying and setup. Perhaps a display simply feels like a relic due to dull graphics or lighting, in which case you should liven it up with brighter, energy–saving LED lights and newer graphics.
Uses for Trade Show Displays in Other Settings
If you’re wondering what to do with a trade show display after you’ve retired it from the trade show circuit, think of the various other settings where you’re bound to see display booths or exhibits. The following are among the more applicable locations and event types in which a trade show–style display can be of great use:
- Building reception area:
If you run a business from inside an office building where clients come to meet with you or your staff, the placement of a trade show display in the building lobby can serve as a primer of what’s in store for clients waiting for their appointment.
- Recruitment centers:
Organizations that seek to recruit new members will often have trade show–like displays in their office lobbies. When a person who’s curious to learn about a given organization enters its office, the display will offer basic info and free pamphlets, allowing an interested party to learn more about becoming involved.
- Employment offices:
When a company is constantly interviewing new applicants, the initial introductions can easily be presented through a trade show–like exhibit. From there, a prospective employee can gather some basic info about the company’s job requirements before he or she decides to fill out an application.
- Training centers:
At centers in which classes, workshops or training seminars are held, free pamphlets are usually made available so that each new person who walks in can find out more about the discipline in question in order to decide whether it’s something worth mastering. When placed in the lobbies of these centers, trade show displays serve as perfect showcases for the training at hand.
- Technology exhibitions:
At exhibits where a new piece of machinery is being unveiled to the public, literature is usually handed out so that attendees can better understand the functions and uses of the technology on display. A trade show display might not only serve as a fitting advertisement for such an event — it can also be the place where attendees get leaflets and watch video for further information on the subject.
- Sales meetings:
When a sales team is called together to discuss products, pitches, sales figures, strategies, target goals and other relevant concerns, leaflets and pamphlets are usually distributed among those in attendance. Whether the attendees are veterans, rookies or a mix of both at a given sales meeting, a trade show display is the perfect facility for the literature and videos that are shared and shown at such events.
Depending on the context in which an old display is put to use, its structure might need reconfiguration.
Get More Out of Your Trade Show Display
A trade show display can be far more than just a showpiece for one or two events. With an open, creative mind, you can turn your show display into a long–term investment with ongoing rewards in a vast range of settings.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to reuse a trade show display, contact APG Exhibits today. With more than three decades in the trade show world, our expert staff has helped brands and sellers from all sorts of industries select the perfect types of displays, which in turn have yielded maximum impact at trade shows and similar events everywhere.