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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Dressing to Impress Through Trade Show Attire

August 22, 2019

Visuals are a big part of tradeshow exhibiting success.  What attendees see should help them:

  • Initially notice your company amongst the visual zoo called the exhibition floor
  • Deliver a message that ideally distinguishes you and helps them identify with your organization (qualifying)
  • Ultimately attracts the qualified attendee to engage with booth staffers

Many organizations choose to provide “uniforms” for those working their exhibit space.  The intent usually includes:

  • Wanting booth staffers to easily be identifiable
  • Creating a sense of team
  • Further displaying aspects of the brand - anything from color palettes, to logos, to a sense of professionalism, to specific messages, to a show-specific theme

When considering how to outfit your booth staffers, keep these 10 guidelines in mind:

Your show-specific goals – Would an objective of qualified lead generation (as opposed to a primary goal of using a show to field test a concept in development) alter the way your staff should dress?

Be true to your brand – Your brand is more than your logo and name.  It is how you are perceived.  And how you want to be perceived.

A four-day show should probably warrant more one shirt per staffer. This is especially true if any of the show is outdoors. Now, of course you must determine, then communicate (and mandate) which day is the red shirt and which day is the blue shirt.

The degree of uniformity desired – To minimize expense to the company (and staffers) the dress code is usually focused on shirts.  But when you call for “light colored pants or skirts” does that mean tan, khaki, white or beige?

What does it look like coming and going? – There are times people will see your ‘uniform’ up close and in the context of a personal discussion.  Other times, several of your booth staff may be huddled in a group so, will the concentrated collection of attire still be a positive view?  You also need to evaluate your shirt from the backside while riding an escalator in the hall.

Women and men are shaped differently! – When ordering booth attire, not only do you want the clothing to be flattering to your team, you don’t want to incur resentment from the staff because you ignored basic body-type differences.

When practical and possible, consider the individuals who will be wearing your branded gear. Consider how your design may or may not accentuate their personal shapes. 

Is dressing “in uniform” right for your company or certain individuals in the company?  Some companies may have brands built on being rebellious. In this case, uniformity could be counter to their culture.  Whether the owner or senior managers wear the uniform could be a function of their role and responsibilities within the booth and at the show. 

Comfort must be a factor.  Will any part of the attire impact the type of footwear booth staffers should be wearing (tired feet make for a lousy exhibit staff)?  Consider hot & cold, consider modesty and practicality. Are there any special considerations for in booth activities?

Last but not least, consider PRIDE in your company!  You want the garments to enhance the feeling that your team works for the best company in the industry.

branded attire, logo shirts, booth dress code, attire
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