More often than not, we in the exhibit design business focus on impressing the client (exhibitor) by giving them some uniquely breathtaking concepts that will make them the envy of their competition.
Some designers may also try to outdo themselves and their peers as well when working on client displays, even as they work at impressing their clients. In the midst of all this, both exhibitor and designer tend to forget the most important aspect of an exhibit design – its appeal to the attendees, and consequently make designs that fail to produce when it matters.
So, while conceptualizing a virtual exhibition, involved parties must think beyond their preferences and biases and look at the bigger picture. To that end, here are some questions whose answers will give you a clearer direction:
- What aspect of your company do you want the attendee to remember after they leave your space? Is it your new product, overall culture, branding, and colors, etc.?
- What exactly do you want to showcase; your manufacturing facilities, distribution networks, or customer service?
- What resources/assets do you have in your possession that would help you showcase your chosen product better?
- Who is your target audience (specify age group, gender, lifestyle, region, etc.), and how can you better communicate with them before, during, and after the exhibition?
- What is the simple, concise, and clear message you want to pass on to your target audience to ensure they think about your products the next time they’re going shopping?
- How interactive do you want to get with your audience? Do you want the exhibition sessions to be all about you talking them through your products and vision, or do you want them to be more active participants?
Remember, the more you involve and engage people when developing and showcasing your products, the more loyal they will be not only towards said products but also your entire brand.
- How much time do you have to engage your audience during the event and what measures or alternative engagement methods do you plan to set to ensure the attendees who have to wait for your attention don’t get bored and leave? Note that virtual exhibitions, just like in-person trade shows, are also affected by resource constraints that may make it harder to serve all visitors at the same time.
But unlike at a physical show (where people can walk around and come back after some time), visitors who leave your virtual show are less likely to return and hence, the need to keep them involved.
- What type of information would you like to collect from the people who attended your online show but chose not to actively interact with you? Also, how do you plan to get in touch with them to gather this information considering they will already have left your space?
- How economical is the design in the long term? Is the architectural structure flexible enough to serve both the current needs and still be usable in future events? With the hard economic times, it’s only right to recycle resources as much as you can.
Of course, the questions above do not cover every single aspect of your prospective online trade show but serve as a fundamental starting point for your planning. They help you to visualize the event in a better way inside your head, which means that the instructions you give to your designer will be more clear and holistic and most likely result in a productive design.
On a lighter note, if you approach a virtual set designer and they don’t ask you similar questions touching on your ideal user experience, know you’re probably dealing with a quack.