As anyone who has ever walked the show floor knows, trade shows are a loud, crowded place. There are plenty of people and objects vying for your attention and engaging your senses along the way. People to meet and speak with, demonstrations to watch and objects to touch and experience. And if you’re lucky enough to be at a food show, plenty of things to eat. But what about sound? Aside from face-to-face conversation (there’s nothing better if you ask us!) does sound have a place in a trade show booth or on the show floor?
It does, but it’s important to give it some thought as part of your overall strategy to choose the best sound for your brand.
SET THE MOOD
Music and sound are a powerful tool that can alter your mood. According to researchers at Ashford University, one of the first things that happens when music enters our brains is the triggering of pleasure centers that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy. While music is a polarizing topic (anyone else cringe at the sound of Gordon Lightfoot’s voice?) instrumental music or a carefully selected playlist can set the mood in your booth. A great example of this is a booth at CES for an essential oils company that was playing nature sounds at a low volume, creating an inviting and serene environment that perfectly aligned with their brand, tone, and message.
CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE
Generally speaking, the point of a trade show is to have meaningful face-to-face conversations. It’s an incredible opportunity for service providers and potential clients to meet, size one another up, and ultimately, make an informed decision about whether or not to do business together. Playing loud music in your booth could distract or take away from those conversations. On the flip side, however, music could be the perfect opportunity to show your audience what you’re made of if you are, say, a Bluetooth speaker manufacturer. Establishing buyer personas will help you get to the root of WHO your audience is and WHY the trade show experience matters to them. Once you have that figured out, sound can be incorporated into your strategy to add to the experience rather than take away from it.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
Not into blasting loud music into the aisle ways from your booth? That’s understandable, but it’s also not the only option. Try taking a page from the museum book and create a personal listening experience for visitors. Individual audio stations allow the listener to start the message, listen as long as they want, and focus on the message without any distractions. These stations can be positioned in an area where they are not obtrusive and can be created with a tablet or small screen for individual viewing and a playlist of audio or video files for a unique engagement.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
There are times to DIY and there are times to trust a professional; a trade show is a time to trust a professional. This means partnering with an AV company or expert who has the skills and experience to deliver on your vision and also be on site to ensure the entire experience goes according to plan. Another great option is to hire a professional emcee to lead a presentation in your space to draw a crowd and inform your audience, too. This is a great way to use sound by delivering your message with a charismatic host who can read your script, introduce your offering, and provide that human touch.
HAVE A PLAN B & A PLAN C
The old saying is true: fail to plan and you plan to fail. While we aren’t suggesting that your next trade show is destined to be a disaster, we all know that stuff happens. Items are damaged in transit, wires get crossed, someone forgets to pack a cord: that’s just life. Which is why it’s always a really great idea to have a backup plan or two (or even three, why stop there!) so the show can still go on as planned and you aren’t looking for the nearest electronics store at 2 AM on the Las Vegas strip.
No matter which audio path you choose, there are plenty of great ways to engage your audience on the show floor. Who knows, that great song might just draw in your next big prospect.