There is science behind the benefits of designing a booth display that delivers sensory experiences five different ways: sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch. Engaging some or all of the senses focuses an individual’s attention, evokes strong emotions, and calls to mind pleasant memories (think Grandma’s fresh baked cookies). Exhibition displays also have important work to do: influence a sale, educate attendees, and deliver brand messaging. There is evidence that multisensory booth design excels in those categories too.
It’s no accident that retail stores that sell merchandise to Baby Boomers play instrumental versions of Bee Gees and Carpenters songs in the background, and music is only one tactic retailers use. From sampling food in grocery stores to test driving a new car, sensory marketers have long understood that the senses are open doors to a customer’s beliefs, feelings, thoughts, memories, and wallets.
A multisensory approach is also an effective way to help adult learners absorb information in the manner that works best for them. Educator Malcolm Knowles championed the theory of andragogy (that adults learn differently than children), which many conference organizers have adopted. It holds that by using multiple methods of engagement—auditory, visual, tactile, verbal—in the same setting, all learners, including (and especially) those with disabilities, have an opportunity to learn more effectively.
Two-dimensional advertising is everywhere, including on email, television and mobile devices, and much of it is ignored. The same messages delivered via three-dimensional experiences, such as trade shows, are more effective, in part because they engage all the senses. Not only are exhibitions more stimulating than traditional advertising channels, but attendees are more open to consume brand information when it’s presented in this way.
Exhibition booths epitomize the purpose of events—to give participants opportunities to make buying decisions and learn about new products and industry trends. When it reflects the same multisensory design principles that retailers, educators, and brand marketers have used to become enormously successful, a booth delivers beautifully on event objectives.