You will find out shortly that my title is a play on words. The intention isn’t to mislead you about sustainability, but instead to apply the term in another fashion. When you’ve approached the process of designing an exhibit, how much thought do you put into how the style and tone of the space will effect people’s perception of your brand? Can you recall walking into a cathedral and find that you’ve automatically started to whisper? How about the last time you met with a senior executive for another company; were you able to draw any ideas on how to act from their office? You would automatically adjust your behavior in a five star restaurant differently than you would at the local arcade and pizza place with your kids, right? There is a natural effect that environment has on the way most of us behave (the “most of us” part is because I have some of “those” relatives too).
Your trade show exhibit is much the same way. If you are wanting a more serious experience that enforces historical stability, and formal nature of business, the exhibit will likely be more heavy, darker in color and more consistently lit. However, if you want to deliver a picture of your brand as energetic, exciting and out on the cutting edge, then your space will be brighter in color, crazier in it’s lighting effects and more wide open in it’s spacing. Maybe you want to appear more technical and highlight your groundbreaking innovation. You might opt for a more sterile, but sleek and modern looking design.
You will have to spend some time considering the meaning of the words you choose, or alternatively lean on a design professional to help you define the idea. Often when we start the design process, we find the people we work with have fallen into a trap. They look at designs or ideas they like and use that as a platform to say that “we should look like this” (at which point they are pointing to a picture of the Apple Store in New York). But when I dig in to see why their farm implement manufacturing business should look like an Apple Store, the most that many people come up with is that it looks sophisticated and modern. But isn’t the eclectic look of many coffee houses considered sophisticated and modern? Isn’t the high white and metallic look sophisticated and modern? You can see where I’m going - we need to find that holistic connection with your brand. And sometimes that takes some extra work.
Being strategically conscious of how you want to be perceived (or better yet, how the people buying from you do perceive your brand), and using the environment of your exhibit space to reinforce that perception is a powerful tool in helping you design the right exhibit to achieve your goals.