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Star power: Using a “celebrity” appearance to your greatest advantage
Star power: Using a “celebrity” appearance to your greatest advantageAs a trade show pro, you’re likely aware that there are many ways to attract attendees to your booth. From a terrific giveaway to an attention-grabbing display, if you build it … they will come. Perhaps the most alluring promotion, though, lies in the celebrity appearance.
Inviting a celebrity to spend time at your next trade show is a great attention-grabber, but to make the most out of his or her time, you have to plan ahead. Here are a few ways to be sure you not only reel in visitors with a celebrity but also turn them into sales leads:Choose wisely
Sometimes, when choosing a celebrity spokesperson, you think “the bigger, the better!” Not necessarily true. The most important consideration is relevancy to your organization, target audience and booth focus. An well-known industry thought leader can be much more effective in helping attract high-quality leads to your booth than an all-star athlete known by millions. Choose a celebrity who is amiable, low-maintenance and willing to converse with show-goers, if possible.

Make the celeb’s presence known
The last thing you’d want to happen is to show up, celebrity in tow, to less-than-stellar customer attendance. Be sure to include the following information on all major pre-trade show marketing materials (with legal approval, of course) to build buzz and raise attendance:

  • The celebrity’s name, photograph and how your customers should “know” the celebrity (i.e. “Appeared in …” or “Author of…”)
  • What time(s) the celebrity will be available at your booth and what tasks the celebrity will be involved in (autographs, product demos, meetings, etc.)
  • Any other special circumstances or directions as requested by the celebrity

Consider printing key points onto a Big Lanyard that your customers can wear at the trade show as a reminder. Send out something a bit larger like an embroidered Cotton Twill Cap and encourage potential leads to bring it to your booth for an autograph!

Plan on traffic
The volume of traffic at and around your booth will rise dramatically and quickly once visitors catch wind of a celebrity appearance or autograph signing. Don’t let prospects down by forgetting to keep the area organized or letting chaos ensue. Partition off where the line should form for any meet-and-greets or product signing. On the floor at the front of the line, stick a sign on the ground that reads “Please stop here,” so customers know where to wait their turn. By taking measures to direct traffic, you’ll be sure to make the most efficient use of the celebrity’s time, as well as keep leads in order.

Nothing leaves without a logo
Most celebrity appearances at trade shows include a portion of time dedicated to signing autographs. Although this can be a great way to attract many people to your booth, be sure you’re taking advantage of this opportunity by providing logo’d merchandise to be autographed. Bring an array of promotional products to be signed, and let visitors choose what item they’d like to be autographed. This way, they’ll get what they want, while you’ll receive additional brand awareness after the show is through. Some of our favorite items are ones that have a long shelf-life like a Colourplay Leather Double Photo Frame or Multi-Use Travel Alarm Clock. Try something a little more fun: Have the celeb autograph a few Foldable Fliers ahead of time, then throw them out into the crowd throughout the show!

Build your lists
Another way to make the most out of a celebrity trade show appearance is by using photo opportunities as a way to build your mailing or e-mail list. How? Only allow individuals to have their photograph taken with the celebrity if they fill out an information contact form, or have your own photographer on-site and offer to e-mail attendees copies of their photos.

End with a bang
As you probably know, after the day is done, there are always a couple things to wrap up. Finish out your celeb’s time by remembering to:

  • Take a few professional photos of your trade show staff and higher-ups with the celebrity before he or she jets out. You’ll be able to use these on your website, as well as with any upcoming press releases.
  • Thank the celebrity graciously for spending time with your team and helping promote the organization. Rather than the usual pre-made, cellophane gift basket or plant, consider putting together your own high-end gift bag. From Luxury Spa Kits to the perfect Wine Taster’s Set, there are plenty of chic promo gifts that will be sure to deliver your gratitude with class. Plus, if you ever want to work with him or her again in the future, you want to make sure the experience ends on a high note.

Booking a celebrity to help promote your organization, products or services can be a great way to spice up your trade show booth and draw in extra potential leads. Keep these tips in mind next time you’re in such a situation to get the most out of your efforts. Now, go knock some socks off!

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