When reduced to their core, trade show marketing campaigns are all about the art of persuasion. If you want to standout on the show floor and elevate your brand’s messaging beyond your competition, storytelling can help you get the persuasive edge you need. Read on and learn why storytelling is not just the hottest new marketing trend, but an essential element in the trade show marketing mix.

1. Find your Trade Show Story

trade show booth

Essentially, stories express a journey from one point to another. The difficulty comes in identifying the right journey to express. Accenture, a global leader in corporate risk management, partnered with Nimlok to tell the right story by showing how their consulting services transform everyday professionals into superheroes within their organizations.

Tips for finding your story:

  • Think about transformative moments within your organization
  • Review how your product is made, is process unique or interesting?
  • Speak with your coworkers and clients, find out if they have engaging stories to tell about your brand
  • Think about the journeys of your customers and what issues they may have in completing them.

2. Tell your Trade Show Story Well

trade show contest A well-told story is equal parts engaging and educational. Audiences want to be drawn into the subject and they are less likely to forget lessons learned from captivating tales. Accenture was able to both engage and educate attendees at the Global Association of Risk Professionals Conference by turning visitors into “Heroes of Risk”. Accenture used 3D molding cameras to digitize visitors heads while 3D printers printed their profiles. The printed profiles attached to the bodies of Lego™ “Heroes of Risk” characters, transforming risk management professionals into superheroes.

Tips for telling your story:

  • Outline your 5 C’s—circumstance, curiosity, characters, conversations, and conflicts
  • Never brag and always be honest with your narrative
  • Look for ways to spark an emotional response in your audience
  • Give your audience something that matters to them

3. Inspire your Trade Show Audience

trade show giveaway

Marketers are consistently devising ways to motivate clients and prospects to take action. Stories are a great way to prompt consumer action without seeming too pushy. When a story inspires us, it challenges our notion of the status quo and imbues us with confidence and vigor, two traits essential for action. Accenture inspired their visitors by creating back stories for their “Heroes of Risk” characters such as Credit Risk Ogre, Stress Test Man and Super Conduct Woman to highlight the important roles risk managers play within their organizations.

Tips for inspiring your audience:

  • Connect with your audience by understanding their needs
  • Empower them to take action by using motivational language
  • Tell you audience how good they are and encourage them to believe in themselves
  • Relate to your audience’s self-interests and tell them exactly what they will gain through taking action


Self-knowledge is at the heart of all remarkable and persuasive storytelling. Begin with fully understanding what message your brand wants to convey to your audience and let the rest flow from there. Remember, there is a story in everything and it is your job as a marketer to find it.

Looking for More Exhibiting Advice?

Trade shows and face-to-face marketing events can be the secret play for achieving overall sales and marketing success. This playbook will help you score big with your trade show ROI by providing you with concise, real-world steps you can take to improve return at your next trade show or event.