Storytelling at trade fairs and trade fair stands

Actually, the story is quite simple. The story that is best told is the most likely to get stuck. We don’t only know this from our childhood, but we still know it today. We remember stories that are exciting, sad, scary, happy, interesting or extraordinary.

This is a tool also used in advertising. And it has been for quite a long time. Also here we try to tell stories that contrast in order to be remembered by our customers. Of course there is an English term typical for this industry and it is called Storytelling.

Good stories can be told again and again. Sometimes it has to adapt a little to the current mood and update something. But the core of the story remains the same. Advertising also knows that. The most recent example are the Alliance spots from the 80s, which combine old and new history in a split screen.

This is a good example that shows that storytelling has been around for quite some time in advertising. And that good stories can be told over and over again.

But there are areas in advertising and communication where storytelling is sometimes very underestimated. Think of your last visit to a trade fair. Which trade fair stands can you still remember? And on which stand was a story told to you? Often the procedure here is the same as in the past: A little bit of the stand environment, depending on your taste, and the trade fair presentation is ready. Definitely no storytelling. Remembrance and impact for the visitor? Rather miserable!

Storytelling at the trade fair stand

Is that even possible? Yes, it works. But sometimes it is not an easy task and it can require a lot of work. It also challenges courage because you turn away from conventions. At the same time, storytelling at the trade fair stand offers the chance to stand out from the crowd and be remembered.

Storytelling starts with the small things

This begins with the selection of the materials. When a dairy or brewery exhibits at a trade fair with real wooden counters and exhibition displays covered with natural linen, it is much more original and closer to the products milk and beer than when plastic products are used at these points. Real, true wood tells a story by itself. The visitor feels this immediately and it remains in his memory. The same applies to the floor covering. Sisal or wooden planks have a completely different effect than the cheap standard trade fair carpet made of plastic fibres.


A counter made of wood simply comes across better than a counter made of plastic. Storytelling starts with the little things.. Messestand Molkerei Weißenhorner 

Storytelling über das Material. Ein Holztheke macht mehr her als eine aus Kunststoff.

A wooden counter fits better to a brewery than one made of plastic.

Products, which are exhibited on a stand or in a glass showcase, look considerably more neutral (boring), than if one presents the respective product environment. A bathroom furnisher like Kohler shows his armatures best in the environment in which they are used. Therefore a complete bathroom is shown. This awakens the senses and stimulates the imagination of the visitors. A tap that is simply presented on the trade fair shelf, no matter how elegant it may be, cannot do that.

6 tips for storytelling at the trade fair stand

Please consider the following tips when planning and designing your next trade fair stand.

  • Is there already a story that you use in your company? Have a look at your documents. Is there a story being told here? Is it possible to transfer this story to the exhibition stand?
  • Where does your company come from? Ask about the roots, can this be dealt at the trade fair stand?
  • Where does your company want to go? Can this vision be implemented on the trade fair stand?
  • Think about your customers and their needs. Where do you help or solve the problems of your customers? Is it possible to show this on the exhibition stand?
  • Which images and metaphors do you think of for your product? Can a story for your trade fair stand be derived from this?
  • Talk to your best salespeople. Ask them what they tell their customers. Often there is a story. That’s why they sell so well. Can their story be transferred to the exhibition stand?

If you consider these points when planning your next exhibition stand, you will reach and fascinate more people. And that’s exactly what you want, isn’t it?

Please also read our blog post: Show what’s going on at the trade fair stand

Picture: © Ivelin Radkov –