By Darin L. Hammond

Picture: How to use booths to construct brand relationships with customers.

Building Brand Relationships at an Event Booth

Key Booth Action Points

  • Participating in events with a booth establishes brand relationships with real customers in an intimate way that will inspire them to be brand advocates.
  • You might be tempted to underestimate the importance of your booth, but failure to plan and prepare will waste your time and money.
  • Planning and preparation in the aesthetics and design of the booth will create lasting, positive brand memories for customers.

Establishing Brand Intimacy at an Event Booth

As I stood in the line at the booth, live social interaction rumbled the main hall of the San Francisco conference center. I could feel the sound vibrations in my chest, the noise of real voices speaking, laughing, and mingling. Noise, colors, music, movement.

I was edgy, not used to big social gatherings anymore. And, with each step I moved forward in the line, adrenaline amped my perceptions. I neared the culminating moment, the reason I had made the trip.

The final step placed me in front of a brand. Not a company but a brand identity in the form of a famous person. Dave Eggers, author of one of my favorite books, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, was sitting at a card table, glancing up at me. He was the writer that inspired me with wisdom like “We are unusual and tragic and alive.” I felt this quote.

He gave me a free, signed copy of his book, but more important was the brand memory he created in my neural networks. All of the action worked to instill in me a powerful feeling connecting me to the brand, Dave Eggers. His booth had just the right minimalist approach. Eggers included key features for success in his booth, and below you’ll find focal points for acting on these keys.

I felt nostalgia at the convention for professional writers, coaches, and teachers because social media has virtually overthrown the necessity of living, breathing social events with webinars and web events. Social media is awesome, but the internet costs us many authentic real-time experiences. Still, there are opportunities for live interaction with customers at events, and nailing the design will guarantee your brand success.

Combining Social Media and Event Strategies

Integrating your conference and trade show booths with social media helps you develop a closer relationship with the public. Successful brands seize every opportunity to intimately interact with their base. Conventions and trade shows create a potent hybrid experience for customers, merging social media with one on one engagement. Live events have lingered in marketing practices when many other face-to-face experiences have vanished, replaced by technology and social media.

Personal interaction with your brand creates trust, builds relationships, and creates brand memories. These positive results move your customers to become brand advocates, the best form of promotion.

In planning, preparation, and execution, use your social media channels to make the event live in reality and on the web.

Designing an Event Booth That Attracts Crowds 

Since the design is the first and lasting impression of your brand, following some basic processes will amp the power of your booth and your relationship marketing:

  • Plan early and pay the money to position your booth in an ideal location. You know that in real estate location is everything, and the same is true of events. Spending extra money to position yourself in high traffic and exposure areas will pay off and make the booth worthwhile.
  • Unify your promotion on social media with the design of the live venue. Consistency in your brand message and social media at the live event are key. Dazzle your online social media visitors with powerful design centered on your brand and make the event enticing. Draw visitors with live and recorded video shoots from the booth. Promote the free gifts available for customers who stop by, and include their happy faces in photos and videos you post.
  • Create a banner that pops your brand identity. The banner will cost you because you want the highest quality and the most innovative design. Carefully choose the company you use to produce banners, brochures, posters, and promotional material to create a powerful and unified brand message.
  • Give away promotional swag with your brand features highly visible. Along with the brochures and pamphlets you give to customers, consider investing in brand swag that customers will find cool and useful. Research shows that most visitors are hooked by promotional swag and will search you out to get the best. Choose a high-quality company that can brand creative gifts for your customers. You can find unique swag ideas online to create lasting brand memories, including custom branding labels that you can paste on many different products or individual unique products with custom print branding like tote bags, USB drives, ear buds, etc. You can find any type of merchandise to brand and giveaway, the best being easy to use products that are unusual (that other brands won’t be giving away).
  • Use multimedia displays to engage the senses of customers. Have the latest technology in your booth to display videos and social media feeds. To be effective, you need to assign an individual to be responsible for continual updates on all your social media channels. When you display these feeds on the latest technology (iPhones, Macs, HD Displays, etc.), you give your booth a cutting edge feel, sound, and look.
  • Record testimonials from the great customers that drop by. Seize the moment of positive customer interaction to video testimonials that you can publish to social media during the event and use on your webpage after the event is long past.
  • Create positive personal moments with customers. The general idea here is to create positive memories of your brand in the minds of as many people as possible online and in person. This is the essence of building brand relationships, and events are one of the best ways of getting it done. Visitors will remember your one on one personal engagement with them, which will be reinforced with social media mentions, brand swag, powerful visuals, and cutting edge design.
  • Exhaust All Methods of Using the Event for Promotion

    Building positive memories of your brand turns normal customers into your very best brand activists, promoting your products and services through word of mouth and on social media. Nothing is more powerful than these memories you create for customers.

    So, reinforce the value of the event with social media leading up to, during, and after the event, illustrating to potential customers on the internet what a mesmerizing display you had at the event. If you fail to do this, the event still has value, but much publicity and promotion will go to waste.

    As you discuss the event online throughout the year, be sure to promote the next event so that you entice even more visitors to the next show. Your brand advocates will also spread the word about the value in stopping by your brand booth.

    What great ideas do you have for conference and trade show booths? What success stories do you have? Respond in the comments section, please.

    Author information

    Darin L. HammondDarin L. HammondFounder/Owner at ZipMinis Freelance WritingYou’ve got to check out Darin’s innovative blogging right now at ZipMinis: Science of Blogging. 

    Speak your mind in a comment below, and he’ll respond.

    Darin rocks professional blogging, writing, teaching, and leadership at ZipMinis Freelance Writing.

    He also provides traffic help for bloggers. He publishes on many power sites like Technorati, Blog Critics, B2C, SteamFeed, LifeHack, and Social Media Today. Find Darin on Google+.TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedIn

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