Post by Scott Light
Commercial Photographer at GSATi

Trade shows are easily a multibillion dollar industry for the United States and Canada. Every company that wants to be a player in this dynamic marketing arena will need to have a trade show exhibit display conceived, designed, constructed or rented. This design is key for a results-driven business. In order for a company to display and promote their products and services, the messaging must be clear and understandable from across the room and easily consumed with a quick glance. With over 100,000 trade shows each year in the United States alone, it is getting harder and harder to stand out among the hundreds, possibly thousands of displays of your contemporaries in attendance. 

What is unique about your service or product? What sets you apart from the next guy? Presentation, Presentation, Presentation! Messaging that works from across the room also works up close -- I’m not talking about putting on a monkey suit and giving away banana pens with your company logo.  While you may get some attention for this, will it really GROW your business?  No.  The answer is simple, clear and repeatable. Drum roll please, wait for it, wait for it, the answer is...professional photography.

I am not talking about just any snap shot of your product or service blown up to a 5 foot x 10 foot, larger than life billboard -- but a concise representation of the function, quality and professional nature of your “world’s greatest idea”. Utilizing a professional photographer along with marketers will help define your goal and messaging to give you the advantage of speaking without words from 100 feet away. Your photography should create interest that brings prospects near -- near enough that real contact can be made and a personal outreach is accomplished because we all know all business is personal, after all.

What makes great business photography? Is it the sets or set-up,  location, models, bells, whistles and ponies with butterflies?  The short answer is "yes" to all of the above -- everything must be considered when crafting an image. I like to start with basic product or service. I want to see it, understand it, and know it. From there I go to the “function of” or “purpose of use”, all the while making notes of the environment, people and places associated with the “world’s greatest idea”.  The next step is the fun one -- how to best tell the tale. Less is always more in my book, but understanding the essence is more important. Adding too much distracts the viewer from the message you are trying to get across but not having enough elements may result in a diluted message. This is when your decision to hire a professional pays off. Photography is the universal language; it does not need sub-titles. It can draw a future client in from 100 yards across 100 others booths -- it becomes a destination, the focal point of an intense mission, if you will. You have what they want! Come and get it my future client! 

Let’s face it, having a professional photographer or full marketing team on board at your company would be a dream come true -- answering all your marketing needs inhouse. However, chances are you will need to go outside of your office environment and seek out professionals who are experts and know how to effectively create a message to the exact people that you are trying to attract. Why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to? Sounds so simple doesn’t it?

Earlier I asked, "What sets you apart"? The answer was professional photography and design to draw new clients near. Here is a little secret that will help you decide if you need to reach out for professional help with your messaging -- your competition is stretching every ounce of production from each employee, multitasking the multitasked. By this I mean accountants with an art background are put in charge of trade show booth design and photography along with messaging, and the IT guys are asked to chime in on the design with the engineers -- eventually, coming up with a consensus of design that everyone likes not realizing the message is mixed. The end result is potential clients don’t see what they are looking for at your exhibit booth and pass you by. 

If you want to be different and stand out, then reach out to a professional photographer who understands your messaging needs and work with a marketing team that has a proven a track record. Now get out there and sell something!

Nitie Atamenwan