Design for Audience, Deliver for Experience

By Jeff Baker, posted on March 21, 2018

Flashing lights, magicians, brand ambassadors with model good-looks…. If you’ve ever been to a trade show, you’ve seen these well-worn tactics used again and again to attract an audience. They work initially by employing a direct sensory grab — “Hey! Look over here!” — but ultimately lack the context and mindset needed to achieve any meaningful, long-term engagement. So how do you grab a visitor’s attention, provide enough interest to bring them to you, and sustain that interest long enough to provide a meaningful interaction?

The following example illustrates how we deliver strategic audience engagement designed to align with the prospects’ needs while also strengthening brand recognition and positive feelings throughout the entire experience.

Designing for Context and Mindset

The challenge: build trade show traffic and engagement for a manufacturer of analytical instrumentation that helps ER doctors understand the patient condition. From the start, we focus on putting ourselves in the prospect’s shoes in order to better understand their context and mindset. In this particular case, the prospects were clinical technicians used to working in an emergency room setting. In a brainstorming session with the client, we built a model which outlined the general personality of their prospects and customers:

Prospect Context:

Focused, college-trained medical staff under pressure to deliver 100% accurate results and avoid negative patient outcomes. Very collegial, they develop “trust networks” with peers and suppliers. Change-resistant. High intellect, often possessing an acute sense of humor – sometimes dark. Very proud of their contribution to saving lives.

By understanding the prospect context, or persona, we could begin to design an attraction that aligned with their needs and the client’s brand. What type of attraction do we deliver in this context? Probably not a magician!

Delivering Experience Aligned to Their Needs

For this client, we chose to play upon the attributes of our prospects – generally good humor, relationship-focused, highly educated about their work, comfortable in a pressure situation. To effectively reach these targets, we designed a trivia game based around possible analysis results from the client’s products. In a take-off of “Wheel of Fortune”, we customized a 48” diameter spinning wheel with both images and text of the prizes offered.

Participants chose from a deck of branded playing cards depicting the client’s products (similar to Trivial Pursuit) and containing questions related to specific blood analysis outcomes, such as bilirubin assay counts. (We learn a lot from our clients’ areas of expertise!) Prospects won a branded prize and points by delivering the correct answers and the prospect with the most points won the grand prize.

Building Positive Brand Recognition

We designed the experience to not only encourage engagement during the show, but also before and after. Prior to the show, prospects received a visually engaging direct-mail card showing all of the prizes, and a tear-off question card that encouraged them to visit the exhibit and play the game. This teaser offered an important context-sensitive invitation.

At the booth, client employees spun the wheel to indicate the prize and drew a card with a question. The first correct answer from the audience won a prize. On the show-floor, the clacking sound of the spinning wheel was a big draw, drawing curiosity from the crowd and increased traffic to the exhibit space.

Context, Content, Experience. We aligned all three to create a memorable visit to our client’s exhibit and create the brand recognition and positive feelings that will live on when the sales staff comes calling to the hospital, ER, or clinic.

Remember, It’s About the Experience. Give us a call today, and find out how you can optimize your customer experience and build brand advocacy for increased ROI.