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What Trade Show Exhibit Designers Can Learn From New Trends In Museum Exhibits

What is the most important feature of a trade show display? What makes some trade show displays more effective than others? And how can exhibit designers create more effective displays for their clients? All of these questions are important ones that exhibit designers here at Blazer Exhibits tackle every day. It turns out that a lot of the answers to these questions could potentially be found by looking at museum exhibits in order to come up with trade show ideas that allow your company to maximize impact and engagement.

The Museum Exhibit As A Positive Model?

Okay. We know what you’re thinking right about now: “Museums? More impactful and engaging? What the heck are they talking about? The last museum I went to was a total snoozefest!” It’s true that museums have not always had the best reputation for providing creatively engaging exhibits, but a lot of those who might think like this probably haven’t been to a modern museum lately.

Why do we say that? Well, with the exception of some museums which have been particularly resistant to change (you might say they are dinosaurs, and many of them even feature exhibits about dinosaurs), many museums have been creating exhibits which truly are engaging. Since engagement is one of the most important trade show ideas out there, these museum exhibits can provide lessons to help us learn more about creating better trade show booths.

Participatory Museum Experiences: Learning To Maximize Impact And Engagement

The new trend in museum exhibit design which is geared towards maximizing engagement has been called the participatory museum experience. This trend is chronicled in a book by Nina Simon, the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Simon also edits a blog called Museum 2.0.

In her book, The Participatory Museum, Simon discusses this new trend by first laying out what the participatory museum experience is, which also shows how it could be a powerful technique for coming up with more engaging and creative trade show booth ideas.

According to Simon, participatory museum exhibit design has the following features:

  • Invites attendees to engage as participants, rather than passive consumers

  • Taps into the expectations of attendees for interactive and engaging content, which comes from the proliferation of participatory opportunities and the ‘social web’.

  • Allows designers to create exhibits which are ‘audience-centered’

  • Increases impact by allowing visitors to “construct their own meaning” from their experience.

At this point, it should be quite obvious that this kind of participatory experience would translate quite well into developing creative and engaging trade show booth ideas. Research shows that these kinds of participatory forms of exhibits also allow users to connect more easily with your company and brand. That means that it is an excellent technique for maximizing your marketing and sales impact at your next trade show.

In many ways, trade show exhibits have even more capacity to create this kind of engagement with attendees, since they manage to avoid some of the pitfalls of traditional museums. In particular, museums are often seen as institutions which provide only a view to the past or in other instances, only passively consumed artworks. While participatory museum techniques are out to change this and are growing in popularity, they still have a long way to go to get rid of this stereotype that persists in the mind of many Americans. Trade shows on the other hand are seen as a forum for demonstrating the vitality and innovation of modern businesses.

Attendance vs. Impact

Participatory exhibit design also provides a better way for us to measure overall engagement of our trade show displays. For many companies, the biggest metric of success as exhibitors at a trade show has been how many people have attended the trade show booth itself. But, participatory exhibit design teaches us that this may not be the best way to measure the overall impact of our trade show displays.

In addition to simple attendance, we need to be able to measure the impact that our trade show display has on the attendees who visit. It’s good to draw a lot of attendees to your booth, but if they aren’t engaged with the content provided by your company and quickly forget about you after leaving, you haven’t done much to really further your goals.

Leveraging trade show booth ideas which provide interactive experiences increases engagement and provides quality content that visitors can engage with. This maximizes the overall impact of your company’s trade show presence and (if done well), also helps you maximize your overall ROI for that show.

Does this sound intriguing? At Blazer Exhibits, we specialize in providing innovative and engaging trade show booth ideas. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact a representative today. We’ll make sure your next trade show exhibit is as impactful and as successful as it can be.

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