3 reasons you MUST create a storyboard for your next exhibition

January 3, 2019

storyboard designingMany exhibition organisers don’t realise how much storyboarding matters.

But creating a storyboard is how you generate maximum exhibition ROI. Storyboarding transforms exhibition attendance from something you do into something you do because it generates tangible, provable, results.

Here are three reasons you MUST create a storyboard for your next exhibition.

1. Keep your team on the same page from day one

Creating a storyboard unifies your team and brings out the best creative ideas to achieve your exhibition goals.

Your exhibition involves lots of different people with lots of different ideas. Storyboarding gives those people a chance to share their thoughts.

That’s beneficial for two reasons.

First, it means you get the best creative results. Diversity of perspective is the bedrock of creativity, and creativity is crucial to securing the exhibition ROI. Creativity stops your approach being stale, helping you stand out from other exhibitors and engage your visitors in unique and exciting ways.

If just one or two people decide your overall exhibition approach, you’ll often miss opportunities to innovate – and seize those better results.

If just one or two people decide your overall exhibition approach, you’ll often miss opportunities to innovate – and seize those better results.

Second, it gets everyone aligned around the same vision. You pin down your purpose and goals so everyone knows why attendance matters.

When everyone’s on the same page, it makes implementing that vision much more streamlined. Everyone knows what their piece of the puzzle is, and accepts accountability.

Which ultimately means you don’t have to waste resources untangling crossed wires.

Put this into action: Start your exhibition planning with a brainstorming session and encourage everyone to surface their ideas. Think outside-the-box – at this stage there are no silly suggestions.

Discuss why you’re attending and what you hope to achieve. Then work backwards from those goals to develop a creative map for getting there. That’s your storyboard.

2. Surface any challenges and opportunities early

Creating a storyboard helps surface and overcome possible market and logistical issues, so your exhibition is more effective.

Myriad external things can threaten your exhibition plan, or even shift the ground your business walks on. Storyboarding helps identify those possible challenges beforehand, so you can prepare your battle plan.

For example, a new disruptor might have entered your market. That could mean attendees will be harder to attract away from the hype of that new competitor and over to your stand.

If you recognise that during storyboarding, you’ll know relying on ‘what you’ve always done’ won’t work. Or, you’ll struggle to get visitors, which will translate into fewer leads and ultimately worse ROI. So instead you decide to give your stand the extra edge by investing into some exciting new tech, for example.

If you recognise that during storyboarding, you’ll know relying on ‘what you’ve always done’ won’t work. 

Or maybe something has changed in your operations and supply landscape, so you’ll struggle to implement certain ideas. If you don’t identify that early, you could end up far down the implementation road facing obstacles that make continued progress unviable.

Ultimately that means you waste time and budget chasing an idea you can’t – or shouldn’t – bring to life. Instead of laser-focussing your resources on the most effective plan.

Storyboarding means you highlight these potential challenges before you’ve committed time and budget down the wrong route. So you can spot where to sidestep, where to detour and where the best path to a profitable finish is.

Put this into action: Encourage discussion around your wider business context. What are your customers doing? What might have changed for them? How has your market changed? How has your business changed? Let everyone in your team bring their unique perspective to the table. This helps surface any market or customer challenges you need to address.

Then start to work through your ideas to map the process of implementation. How will this work? Do these ideas work together? Who needs to be involved? This process surfaces any operational or logistical challenges, so you can circumvent them.

3. Create a consistent, compelling customer experience

Creating a storyboard helps you conceptualise the customer journey across every touchpoint, to create a more engaging experience which drives ROI.

Companies spend USD 24Bn annually on exhibiting, which proves how effective this channel can be. Indeed, 99% of exhibitors say B2B exhibitions provide unique value that you can’t find elsewhere in the marketing mix.

But you don’t secure unique value just by turning up.

Think about why exhibitions deliver unique value. It’s because they offer a unique chance to interact, face-to-face, with so many of your ideal customers. Put another way, it’s all about customer interaction. Which means exhibition ROI is all about customer experience.

Think about why exhibitions deliver unique value. It’s because they offer a unique chance to interact, face-to-face, with so many of your ideal customers.

A storyboard helps conceptualise your customer experience in a coherent, logical way. So you can create an engaging experience pre- during- and post-exhibition.

That’s how you attract more attendees – and they’ll be warmer because they’re attending for you. That means more visitors, who are more likely to become leads.

And because you’ve created a compelling and authentic experience, you secure more engagement. Ultimately that means more leads, more sales, and more long-term brand advocates too.

You might as well not attend exhibitions unless you prioritise the customer experience. And storyboarding is a crucial part of that.

Put this into action: Map every customer touchpoint from pre-exhibition to post-exhibition. For example, how will you encourage your audience to attend? What will your social media efforts look like? How will you recognise current loyal customers? Will your stand look and feel like your stand?

Look for ways to ‘join the dots’, to create a narrative from visitors’ first touchpoint to their last. Like maybe you’re planning a VR flight simulator competition. Your social could tease that experience, and on-the-day you could live stream, and afterwards you could announce competition winners.

Storyboarding helps secure the best results from exhibition attendance. It ensures you surface the best creative ideas, that you navigate successfully around any challenges, and that you deliver a compelling and considered experience. All of which mean you’re better able to engage your audience, to ensure attendance really pays off.

TGP is one of the Middle East’s leading design and production companies, focusing on exhibitions, events, interiors, graphics, and audio-visuals for various industries. For more information or to meet the team, please call +971 50 636 7774, send an email to hello@tgp.ae, or click here.