Think of any successful major retail or restaurant brand. For example, let’s look at Starbucks (my favorite), McDonald’s, Subway, Home Depot, Apple, Target, Victoria’s Secret, Tiffany. At Starbucks, the green and brown logo and corporate colors are reflected in the packaging, baristas’ uniforms, and signage. In most locations I’ve visited, the counter crew is friendly and efficient. Their retail spaces have a consistent look across locations. Apple has the clean fonts and apple logo on everything! All their stores have that ultra modern uncluttered look. And their staff is as hip and cool as their products. McDonald’s has used the golden arches on everything from the burger wrappers to the buildings. When you enter one of these establishments, you know you’re in the presence of that brand, right?
Parroting the famous Old Spice (another branding icon) advertising campaign, look at those brands, now look at your tradeshow booth. Now look at those brands, then look at your tradeshow booth. Could your customers or booth visitors recognize that they’re in the presence of your brand? If not, you’ve got some branding to do. Might I suggest the “Layered Look?”
What is the Layered Look? The Layered Look concept takes the elements of your branding–colors, graphics, atmosphere–and applies them in as many places as possible to multiply their effect. The first layer is your building or booth structure. The second layer would be your signage. The third layer would be your booth personnel’s attire. And so on. Each element adds a layer on top of branding that your customers or visitors can identify with you, thereby building (pun intended) your brand.
Let’s look at a potential scenario for a tradeshow exhibitor. Let’s say their logo is blue, black and white and is roundish with an industrial feel. The company is no nonsense and known for precision. Here’s how the Layered Look could work for this group: Angular black or gray booth structures with shocks of blue in signage and booth accessories (like the giant inflatable ball shown here and imprinted table covers). Booth personnel would be clad in blue logo’d polos or woven (or denim) shirts.
Granted there is a point where it can become overkill. But I would say that many organizations don’t go far enough.
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