It’s always a good idea to be aware of industry exhibiting trends so that you can prevent your own company’s trade show booth from being upstaged by the competition. Working as we do with companies from a wide variety of industries that all aim to best position themselves and their brands in various event and show exhibit halls, we’ve seen some distinct styles and trends emerge. It’s interesting to note how such trends vary from industry to industry – often giving each field its own unique twist.
Here are some trade show booth design trends for healthcare trade shows we have seen come into play.
1. Cleaner Lines Than Ever
Cleanliness…sterilization, even…is extremely important to medical professionals. Whereas in the past, medical device companies were largely known to follow general exhibition trends, we’re finding that the majority of healthcare and medical device companies are now going out of their way to reflect an aura of “clean” on behalf of their brands on the show floor. This is reflected with lots of straight, smooth lines, simple uncluttered layouts, and tidy, well-lit exhibit spaces. Whites, light colors and subtle wood finishes are also popular.
2. A Less Formal, and More Human Experience
Like with other technology-driven industries, medical device trade shows and events are largely about makers of sophisticated technology marketing to highly sophisticated end users (in this case, clinicians). Historically, this has meant a lot of rather dry exhibits where the “hero” concept of the booth is the engineering behind the displayed product, and not a great deal of thought was placed on the surrounding environment. What we are seeing now, however, is a distinct movement toward a much less formal, and more emotionally engaging experience. After all, doctors are people too! Like anyone else, they need to be attracted to a trade show booth first. Once there, then they can experience the technology. And those booths that have a relaxing and pleasing atmosphere, with comfortable furniture, spacious meeting areas and uncluttered demo stations definitely tend to keep those medical professionals at the booth longer.
3. Details that Match the Brand
As noted above, comfortable furniture has become something that event planners from the medical device industry are now considering as much more than an afterthought. The selection of furniture goes well beyond comfort as well. We are seeing much more consideration placed on how tables, chairs, stands, etc. reflect the brand. After all, a highly sophisticated brain surgery laser manufacturer seems to be acting against its own brand if it populates a booth with dated or old-fashioned furniture and accessories. Like with the high-tech and media industries, we have seen the medical device world gravitate toward the latest in modern styles and accessories as a way to help drive home their message of being cutting edge.
Another interesting trend that we have seen happen more and more lately within the healthcare and medical device space is the bifurcation of the messaging. In the world of emerging medical technology companies, there are often growing companies that have two (or more) principle product offerings or concepts. Depending on the show, they may isolate a specific technology, but sometimes they will be at an event where they have two distinct messages to share and they have found that there’s something of a disconnect when those messages are jockeying for position in the same booth. We’ve seen a number of companies have successful events recently by setting up two separate booths on the show floor. This enables them to effectively appeal to two different sets of constituents simultaneously.
5. Demo Stations as the Star of the Show
Depending on each company’s specific messaging and needs for the show, some medical device organizations have pared back the general booth area – in some cases reducing or removing meeting areas and/or presentation areas, in favor of having more demo stations. After all, demoing the products is for many medical device companies the primary reason for attending the show in the first place. Where traditional booths may have had a single demo area, it has become popular among medical companies to have multiple demo stations, and giving that aspect of their booth the prioritization it deserves.
6. Back-lit Fabric Graphics with LED Lighting
Doctors often like to get their information quickly and with much to choose from on a show floor, getting their attention can be quite competitive. While it’s long been understood that if you want to attract attention to something, it helps to shine a light on it, many companies in the medical device industry are finding it may be even better to shine a light behind it. In some cases, companies are even utilizing lights that are programmable so they can control the colors and speed of change. Accent LED lighting can also be used to back light fabric graphics with slowly changing colors, which is another great way to keep a medical exhibit dynamic and attract visitors.
7. Touch-Screen Technology
The latest interactive technology and touch screens are ideally suited for medical device shows’ inevitable needs for collaborative brainstorming, briefing, training, and even conducting virtual tours of products being used in a hospital setting. They work as intuitively as tablets using attendee fingertips and users can write notes, save documents, and interact with the content. Medical device companies are also taking advantage of the trend for bigger versions of these displays – to keep more people engaged at their exhibit space for their teams to interact with. Doctors – famous for multi-tasking – also seem to appreciate the opportunity to ask questions while navigating through an interactive touch screen at their own pace.
8. Little Videos
While having video displays is often an important ingredient for trade show booth success in any industry, for some companies there are several different messages of products they need to share, depending on who’s watching. In the past, the solution for this has been signage and diagrams dotted around the booth, but there’s a new trend we’ve been seeing. Many of the medical device companies we work with have been leaning towards electronic picture frames as a way to display product information, rather than a static graphic. It actually saves money in the long run and is versatile and modern.
9. The Rental Trend
The medical device industry is fast-moving and devices can evolve or be replaced from year to year. As a result, medical device and healthcare companies who invest in purchasing a booth find themselves saddled with dated content very quickly. We’ve found that for many in the industry, the answer is renting. Renting a trade show booth offers the power of flexibility with design and messaging, while enabling significant cost savings.
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