Big ideas, high technology and one teeny-tiny little trade show booth.

How integrated team collaboration creates show stopping work.

Farms are measured in acres. Trade show booths are sold by the square foot. Unless the name of your company rhymes with flugle or grapple (for the phonetically impaired, that would be Google and Apple), your marketing budget probably won’t allow you to have a full-scale demonstration of how a 14-ton tractor pulling a 60-foot row-crop planter can apply three different products at one time.

Rest assured, neither did ours. But that’s exactly the experience our client challenged us to demonstrate — all in a booth not much larger than our agency snack closet. (But, in truth, we do have a rather impressive snack closet.)

This seemed like a prime opportunity to flex our creative muscles. And by creative we don’t mean a snarky headline combined with a zany photo. We’re talking real creativity, the kind that combines data and technology with traditional brand thinking to conjure up a solution that changes hearts hardened by the digital age.

Step one was to get the ideal person involved from each of several different critical departments: digital, video production, creative, account service and even PR — all with something to contribute, alongside some good old-fashioned electrical engineering. (No, we don’t have an engineering department, but we probably could.) Then we let them go to work.

The result? Here’s what the client had to say: “It became an aha moment for the farmers, and we just had overwhelming success and positive feedback from everybody who went through the booth.” – Rick Rice on the SIMPAS project

But what really made this project so successful? It seemed to boil down to three things that we should always keep top of mind:

  1. Innovative products demand innovative demonstration. Sure, we could have created a beautiful short film with slow-motion footage shot in the field and layered it with a drawling voice-over. But how many other products at the show had that same idea? Standing out in a crowd means approaching a project with a fresh set of eyes and a real thirst to do something that no one else has done before in your market. Innovators innovate. If it’s part of who you are, you’d better show it.
  2. Tech doesn’t have to be a four-letter word. Yeah, this simulator was wicked complicated. Synching the video to the LED lights within actual product containers required some unique code writing, but the technology didn’t get in the way of the user experience. Rather, technology enriched it and created a more meaningful interaction. Remember, if your tech isn’t user friendly, it’s not very user useful either.
  3. Always be branding. We all know this, but it bears repeating. Your brand is what you do with it. It’s a living thing that can shrivel up and die if you don’t show it a little love and shine some light on it every now and then. Making sure your brand comes through loud and clear among all of the whizbang in the booth may sound simple, but connecting the “wow” with the “who” is the most important thing that can happen at a trade show. Don’t let the show ignore the sponsor.

Your trade show booth provides the ultimate opportunity to engage and enlighten customers. Physical limitations aren’t so limiting if you let your imagination work a little overtime.