Trade shows are beautiful madness. Amidst the chaos and struggle to stand out, you need signage. What should go on your signs? The flexibility offered by a trade show leaves the door wide open. To help, here are five ways to think about what a trade show banner or sign can be. Hopefully, it will help you finish off an existing plan or jump start a new idea.

1. Decor

Interaction should be a top priority for anyone working your booth. Trade shows are an opportunity to get face to face with prospects and walk them through your organization.

Potential clients should be engaged in your booth at all times, absorbing your sales message. Decor banners set the mood for your booth. They create an atmosphere ripe for interaction.

2. Name Tag

Name tag banners are the most frequently used type of sign. A name tag banner is what it sounds like. The sign is simply your logo and maybe a slogan.

Every booth should have your logo prominently displayed. That’s a given. However, a name tag-style sign is where only your name is out there. This solution is highly versatile and wields a great deal of staying power. Longevity helps offset cost.

The only downside to a strict name tag banner is that, if customers aren’t familiar with your brand, there’s nothing to draw them in and speak with you. A few patrons might stop by and ask “what do you do?” but not with the enthusiasm of a “ooh, what’s this?” That’s the trade off:  Practicality for excitement.

3. Menu

If you have multiple products or services, it’s not uncommon to display them on a menu banner. Maybe your organization sells floral arrangements. One of your banners might list the events you do arrangements for such as, weddings, prom, anniversaries, etc.

Menus are fine displays. They let people know the basics of what you have to offer in a snap shot. If you feel a menu banner is the best route to go, I caution you to avoid putting product benefits in place of products or services.

Hard sell messages should be left for the sales team. Using the florist, their menu should say something like “Beautiful arrangements for weddings, proms and anniversaries” versus  “Beautiful arrangements, low prices, fresh flowers, knowledgeable staff.”

A person should walk away from your booth having experienced your knowledge, flower quality and prices.  Leave them with situations where they are inclined to reconnect.

4. Campaign

Often times, trade shows occur during an organization’s advertising campaign. In these instances, it’s important to carry the campaign message through to the trade show in order to reinforce the messages being presented in the mass media.

Campaign banners, and the booth as a whole, should be re-imagined as a petting zoo for the brand. You want visitors to come in, touch your brand and connect with your campaign. This way, when they see a similar message in the media, they are able to relive the sensory experience they had at the trade show.

5. Item Promotion

A lot of trade shows rally around a certain thing. They might be expos for new inventions or sneak peaks at next year’s product line. In these instances, banners are there to promote specific items.

In cases where the specific item is part of a brand launch, how to present it should probably fall under the campaign banner motif. In situations where the trade show is more wide open and your company simply wants to push a product, use the banner to drive people to your booth. “See the _, the latest and greatest in _.”

Trade shows are daunting, demanding and exhausting. They are also one of the few places where highly qualified prospects and like-minded customers converge to see what you have to offer.  Let your graphics help reel them in.