Storytelling is ingrained in the history of humankind. For centuries we have used stories to record history, teach lessons, create change, and connect with others. In marketing, a compelling story is the most effective way to evoke emotion and inspire action from potential customers. But how can you tell a story with a trade show booth? 

Here are five steps to help tell your brand’s story through your booth design: 

1. Gather information:

Don’t worry, you won’t need crazy plot twists and complicated protagonists to create an engaging story! To determine what your story needs to convey, first ask yourself these three questions:

  • What is special or different about your brand?

    Your story should express something you do better than anyone else in the game, or highlight something that makes you unique.

  • Who are you looking to engage?

    Consider your ideal buyer persona. Are they adventurous and outdoorsy? Health-conscious and careful? Professional and discerning? Your theme should appeal to the buyer persona you’d like to attract at your upcoming trade show.

  • What problems do you solve?

    The story you tell should end with a customer’s needs being met in an exemplary fashion. What challenges does your product or service address? Demonstrate them as clearly as possible.

2. Pick a theme:

When picking a theme to best tell your story, keep it simple. Here are some examples:

  • An organic food company: helping your family enjoy healthy eating habits

  • A digital security company: thwarting an attack by a would-be hacker

  • A professional development company: garnering praise and respect from your boss and colleagues 

  • A beverage company: bonding with friends over a cold one


3. Excite Curiosity:

Here’s where your trade show booth design comes into play. The colors, lighting, and overall appearance of your booth serve a purpose similar to that of a book cover—they should give an impression of what the story might be like, and encourage the viewer to take a closer look. To implement trade show visual storytelling, start by assessing how you want a passerby to FEEL when they see your booth. For example:

  • If you want your leads to feel comfortable and cozy, incorporate lush textures and soft lighting

  • To portray a sense of sleek efficiency, use clean lines and a simple color palette

  • To inspire a sense of rugged adventure, use plants and natural elements to signify an outdoor story

4. Engage the senses:

As an exhibitor, you have a chance to engage many more senses than you could with a web page, video or brochure. Since you’re building brand awareness at this stage, the goal is to leave the visitor with a positive experience that they can associate with your business.

Consider elements like music, lighting, seating, and even aroma in your exhibit design. Each element can contribute to your overall story. For example, a plastic-free food storage company could play ocean sounds as the story of reducing waste in waterways is told. 

5. Get interactive:

After your exhibit design introduces the story, your staff and other interactive features can take the reigns. 

Your booth staffers should know the story like the back of their hands, and be able to tell it in an authentic and engaging way. Touch-screen displays and hands-on product demonstrations can illustrate and turn into problem-solving scenarios. Here's an example of how we implemented both of these features for one of our clients. 

Be sure that your booth design makes it comfortable and convenient for visitors to engage in your story, whether that be through comfortable seating while listening to a booth staffer or through well-planned demonstration setups. 

With excellent storytelling, visitors will leave your booth with no doubt about who you are and how you can help them. Great exhibit design opens the door for your story to be told. If you could use some assistance in creating and executing your story and building brand awareness through booth design, don’t hesitate to reach out to the gurus at Exhibit Options.