Why costumes at exhibitions are not made for every company
Once you have decided to join an exhibition and present your products to a large audience of potential customers you want to have an attractive booth. Design, marketing, furniture, carpets, lighting, all will play a role in turning your stall in a “can’t miss” item of the event.
Since anyway you plan on recruiting temp staff and hostesses it might be appealing to invest in costumes to dress up your team. Is it a good idea? What should be the limit between smart marketing bait and sexy campaign that backfires?
Culture and industry matter
Some shows (Auto Shows, Comicon, E3, etc.) are famous for their sexy promoters (“booth babes”) and provocative costumes – that is part of the industry culture and even expected by visitors.
Some locations (Las Vegas, Tokyo, Hong Kong, etc.) also take this approach across industries as part of the whole “event” concept.
While for these specific trade shows it might make sense to invest in having your own set of branded costumes, that isn’t always a good idea to bid on this aspect.
Fairs such as “licensing”, “stationary” or “toys” are hardly made for such strategy. Coming with sexy promoters might easily backfire and create a negative buzz around your brand.
While it is always good to think out-of-the-box and disrupt your industry, you should visit similar exhibitions and find out what are the standards before trying something you could regret.
Costumes don’t have to be sexy!
We have talked about promoters costumes as if it had to be sexy, but you can make a great impression on your visitors simply dressing your staff with your colors!
Creating nice and neat costumes with your colors is a good way to let prospects identify your booth employees and direct them to the right person. That is also a good method to reinforce your branding and communicate it to people passing by, leaving a long lasting impression to your audience.
What should I consider?
There definitely are pros and cons when it comes to having costumes on your stall. Let’s review the most obvious ones.
Time and price
If costumes enter a long term strategy you can easily absorb the costs in terms of money and manpower. Otherwise, designing and manufacturing costumes as a one-off promotion should not be your priority. Beside the design, you need to consider sizing – do you already know the size of all the people present on your booth? Will you need to buy multiple sizes and respect large MOQs?
Protect your image
Costumes are great on exhibitions because these help communicating your image. You will need to have very nice design if you want to credit your image and avoid ridiculing it.
A simple alternative could be to give booth-staff a single element (wrist band, pair of glasses, hair bang, shoes, etc.) with your colors that would stand out in an elegant and discreet way.
Extra traffic… and extra work!
Having attractive costumes can easily drag extra traffic on your booth.
What might seem appealing at first could easily become a nightmare – can you handle this sudden surge of traffic? Are these visitors coming to chat or take photos with your staff worth your time?
Don’t take booth traffic as a major KPI you have to grow – all that matters is to have the right traffic and collect the right leads.
All in all, costumes are just an extra tool that could benefit some companies and hurt others. Define your strategy early and stick with it. Don’t forget that it will take time to arrange: do not delay! Most of all, don’t forget to plan for it as part of your budgeting strategy and make sure it serves the right purpose. Find out how to manage promoters and hostesses at exhibitions and trade shows.