In this blog post, we will highlight how to use design thinking to create a memorable trade show experience.
We live in a rapidly changing world, where everything now revolves around technology, design, and social interaction.
As a result, today’s consumer has set high expectations on how they interact with brands and receive information. As event marketers, we are now tasked with delivering a great customer and brand experience to satisfy the consumer's needs.
With the world revolving around digital media, consumers are more likely to remember your brand if you deliver a great brand experience.
New research from Set Creative revealed that three out of four people are more likely to purchase a product if they’ve participated in a brand experience.
The study also showed that 44 percent of U.S. and U.K. adults have increased their time spent at live events over the last two years due to having a great brand experience. The survey indicated that 82% of the respondents want brands to create experiences that ‘entertain, engage, and educate.
What is a brand experience?
A brand experience is about designing a sensory experience that brings the consumer into a lasting and meaningful relationship with your brand.
An article in Chief Marketer magazine discusses the principals of experience design, “design thinking immerses the audience inside a brand experience, one that goes beyond the visual to involve all five senses, combining them in new ways to deepen audience engagement. This type of design keeps its focus on the individual and delivers an experience that is fresh, new, and relevant. Experiences based on Design Thinking create a consumer mindset that results in brand loyalty and brand advocates.”
Experience design is a huge part of an event planners job.
The fun part is creating unique and flawlessly executed experiences that consumers will remember and love. The best experience designers can turn a blank canvas into a masterpiece.
How to design a memorable trade show
A memorable brand experience doesn’t just happen overnight it’s well designed and executed.
Let’s take a look at how a design a memorable trade show.
Listen to your prospective attendees needs first
If you to deliver an excellent brand experience, the first thing you need to do is listen to your customers wants and needs. Listening to attendee feedback will help you design a better experience. You must survey attendees before, during, and after the event.
Pre-event surveys will help you get to know to get to know each attendee before they arrive. Many event organizers forget to send pre-event surveys, but this type of initial feedback is priceless when designing a unique experience.
Having advanced insight will help you understand your audiences’ goals and objectives for attending beforehand. Your pre-event can ask what they are hoping to get out of the event, how are they traveling to the venue, what sessions are they most interested in attending.
Mid-event surveys are a great way to receive instant feedback on how attendees like trade show you organized. Using an event planning software program, you’ll be able to collect data and analytics in real-time.
This type of insight will allow your team to pivot quickly and address any pressing issues on the spot.
Sending out post-event surveys right after the trade show will you help you learn what you need to improve on for future events. Based on the feedback you receive, you’ll be able to capture what elements were a success, what people didn’t enjoy, and what attendees wish you would have incorporated.
Personalize the customer experience
Personalization is one of the hottest trends right now in the events industry and it's here to stay. With event personalization, event marketers are much more likely to provide a much more relevant experience to consumers like never before.
Using data and event management software, organizers and marketers can customize the user experience that makes attendees feel like they played a part in planning the conference or trade show.
Event personalization goes beyond letting attendees choose what sessions they want to attend. Pre-show data can tell you what their food preferences are, what language they speak, what type of technology they are using to receive information, what kind of activities attendees want to experience.
You must visualize the customer journey so that you can deliver an impactful customer experience. This may mean having an event mobile app that is customizable for different languages or providing downloadable content post-show that can serve as a resource for attendees.
Personalization of trade show activities shouldn’t just focus on the consumer attending the show, the strategy should also include exhibitors and speakers.
Sharing attendee data with exhibitors and speakers will help them tailor the content to meet the needs of the end consumer. This element of personalization is often missed but is a crucial competent to keep the audience engaged.
Implement digital elements
Research shows that in-person interactions are increased when paired with a robust digital communications strategy.
In today’s digital world, Event marketers are now challenged to deliver an exceptional experience that can be communicated online and offline
“By coupling digital and in-person opportunities, marketers will be able to create the ultimate personalization strategy to reach customers,” says Kristen Alexander, Chief Marketing Offer at Certain in Adweek.com.
When most people hear the word digital, they often think of their social media and online presence. But digital goes far beyond having social media channels. Through design thinking, you need to think about digital elements on a broader level to incorporate in your trade show strategy.
You must design an experience that makes a bold statement and captures attendee’s attention from the moment they enter the venue. Many brands are investing in digital signage and mobile apps to enhance the consumer experience.
Digitizing the attendee experience creates the best in-both worlds situation because it reduces the cost spent on paper while allowing attendees to have access to content in real-time. Technology helps ramp-up the personalization during and after the event.
Mobile apps help make the in-person experience as streamlined as possible and allowing you to keep in touch with event attendees post-event.
In the age of disruption when trying to craft a unique and memorable trade show experience, remember to think outside the box and keep the consumer experience at the forefront of your strategy.
Also remember, that people are still human and crave one on one interact at events. Incorporating meetings spaces and networking events is crucial when delivering personalized experiences.