Trade show exhibits are at a sort of impasse as we near the end of 2012, and it all has to do with technology. The trend over the past several years has been to embrace high technology. Trade show exhibitors have been swamped with ideas to incorporate touch screens, plasma televisions, and social media. On the other hand, the rise of Pinterest boards has allowed exhibitors to see that homespun touches have their appeal.
So what’s best for a trade show exhibit? Should you aim for the cutting edge of technology or should you try to keep your exhibit as technology-free as possible? Let’s examine some of the ways you can make this decision for your own trade show booth.
Trade Show Exhibits: When to Opt for High Tech
High tech exhibits work well when you need to project an image that shows you are abreast of all the technology knowledge in the industry. In other words, use high tech if you are high tech. If you are headed to 2013 International CES, for example, you won’t want to break out the doilies where your tablets should be. Use technology when you want to project an image of being on the cutting edge, or when your industry relies upon technology to drive its products.
The only time you can really use low-tech exhibits effectively as a high tech exhibitor is when you want to create a contrast, or if you need to use low technology ironically. For example, you might bring out an old typewriter for your display and place it next to a tablet–to showcase how far technology has come.
Trade Show Exhibits: Going for Low Tech
On the other hand, you might opt for a low tech approach if your business wants to highlight its artisanal approach or if you work in an industry that goes well with a more casual or homemade approach. For example, if your business is wedding invitations, you can use low tech ways of showcasing your samples and create an exhibit that really pops. One idea, found on a Pinterest board, is to use old suitcases to showcase wedding invitations. A low tech, tactile way to show off your work, and one that uses virtually no technology.
Sometimes you can meld the two worlds together seamlessly, to show that you are up to date when it comes to technology but still appreciate a more bespoke approach. This is summed up very neatly whenever you see someone carrying their iPad in a handmade cover that makes it look like a book. Cutting edge technology, twentieth century approach. Best of both worlds.
Trade Show Exhibits: Walking the Line
So how do you know which approach is best for your industry? The only way to tell is by taking a good look at what you sell. Are you more comfortable with a plasma screen or a vintage suitcase? Which one suits your products best? Are there ways you can meld the two together? Try to find ways to use technology without pushing it too hard; and see if you can add unexpected low-tech touches for the best results.