You would never set out on a road trip without a map – how would you expect to ever make it to your destination in one piece? An effective trade show brief is a lot like that map – it helps you clearly define as early as possible what you need to do and what you’ll need to have in order to accomplish your goals, regardless of what they may be. A trade show brief and an EFFECTIVE trade show brief are two entirely different things, however, so this process will always require you to keep a few key things in mind.
What is a Trade Show Brief?
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to assume that a trade show brief is JUST the things you need on your exhibition stand. It’s less a grocery list and more a manifesto, outlining not only what you need but how you’re planning on using it to achieve both your short and long-term goals.
It will form the very foundation of your strategy and will be equal parts productivity and collaborative document as the hours wane on over the course of the next big show.
Why Are You Here?
Perhaps the most important function that an effective trade show brief plays involves outlining exactly what “success” looks like in terms of this event. Remember that EVERY aspect of your stand sends a message to those who see it – from the language to the colors to the design to the height and more.
How does each one of those elements help you accomplish what you’re setting out to in the first place? WHAT is your goal for a particular show and how will this help your larger business excel at its own long-term goals?
Try to distil your booth’s message (which is usually an answer to the question “Why am I here?”) into 10 to 12 words. Then, make sure that every last element of your booth down to the type of free pen that you’re giving away to leads helps move you closer and closer to that message.
Another one of the most important elements of every effective trade show brief involves clearly outlining all objectives that you NEED to accomplish before you can leave.
If the brief itself is a lot like the map you’ll use on your road trip to get from Cleveland to San Diego, your objectives will specify that you’ll be stopping in Louisiana, Texas and Nevada along the way.
If you don’t have a very clear idea of your objectives at the outset, you can’t possibly hope to accomplish them. If one of your primary goals is to engage in X number of high level conversations throughout the event, for example, take the time to get this down in writing and also specify exactly how you plan on executing that goal once the doors open.
The Finer Details
Once you’ve taken care of the broad, thematic strokes of your trade show brief, you can then start breaking things down into the finer details.List EVERY physical thing that you need at your stand to accomplish your goals, down to the very last pen or pencil. Go through and verify that each item fits in with not only the voice of your stand, but also with your objectives. Be harsh, firm and realistic.
That plasma TV you want to bring may look great, but does it really help you engage in a high level conversation like you want?The secret to an effective trade show brief requires you to understand that you’re serving a few key masters at the same time.
Not only does it help you decide on the voice of your stand and what you’re trying to say, but it also helps define “success” in a measurable way in terms of what you actually need to do during the day.It doesn’t just make your very PURPOSE at your next big trade show easier to understand, it makes success easier to achieve than ever before by breaking it down into a series of much more manageable parts.