David Torres Productions helps clients and marijuana dispensaries stand out on the show floor.
You can build it, but that doesn’t guarantee they will come. Especially on the trade show floor, a brand has got to pack considerable curb appeal. Every ten-by-ten booth space is valuable real estate, competing for foot traffic in the aisles. Consumers and colleagues alike must feel the appeal, be drawn into your environment—your house, so to speak. David Torres Productions can help accomplish that.
“The actual feel you get when you first approach [the booth] is important, because that’s the first impression people are going to get about that brand,” Torres explained. “It’s important that it feels nice; that it feels right.”
In the trade show industry since 1999, Torres founded his own design company in 2001. Since then, he has worked internationally with several big names in entertainment, fashion, gaming, and now cannabis.
Torres’s most ambitious project to date was an environment for Sony Pictures, created for The Licensing Expo, where the mega-entertainment company had acquired an enormous fifty-by-seventy-square-foot space…and had no idea what to do with it.
“I was referred to them by someone in the industry who actually worked for the show,” he recalled. “[Sony] had no idea except that they had this huge square footage and they wanted to make something vast. So, we came up with the idea, ‘Why don’t we recreate your back lot?’
“We actually created a smaller version of their backlot,” Torres continued. “The towers are from the actual architecture; when you pull into Sony Pictures, that’s what you see… The way it started was, we went and took photos of the back lot, and then myself and my creative team decided which portions we were going to try and recreate. This is before the client is even involved, because we just surprise them [at the design presentation]. We built the whole display in the computer with every view in a well-thought-out idea.”
With a floor-to-ceiling extravaganza like the Sony environment (“booth” is too small a word), the description “impressive” comes to mind. Customers entering the dynamic interior feel like they walked into a Hollywood movie made just for them.
While you might expect the show business giant to have an unlimited budget, Torres said that’s not the case. “They had a specific dollar range to stick to,” he said.. “It was handsome, but…”
Creativity is a must-have skill in designing super-customized designs within a budget; maybe even more so with limited space.
Torres said he’s worked with many mid-level businesses and even start-ups. “You could build your whole booth out of cardboard boxes,” he said. “Or, you could come in and want everything in teak wood. The choices are so vast…but we work diligently and creatively within people’s desired budgets.”
The new show enclosure for cannabis company Bloom Farms, built by Torres and team, is a good example of what can be done in a ten-foot by ten-foot square. At first glance, it seems bigger as your eye is drawn in and then up to the peaked roof of the “farmhouse” design. Once inside the enclosure, you’ll notice the style details: glass and vintage wood. The look is modern and illuminated. Looped video shows aerial shots of Bloom’s farms and gives a quick overview of products and operations.
“The idea was to create a little farmhouse, and I said, ‘It’s not going to be old. It’s like Apple took an old farm and remodeled it, so it’s modern-vintage,’” Torres explained. “So, if you look at the design, you’re going to see glass, but then you’re also going to see rustic wood.
“There’s a lot of thought behind that,” he continued. “It’s not just because we wanted to use glass and wood, no. It’s like ‘let’s take an old farmhouse and make it current for a technology company to use it.’ Because Bloom Farms is a technology company, from the way they grow their products, all the way to how they actually make it consumable.”
A one-stop for “custom trade show environments,” DTP’s studio hosts design, graphics, and fabrication facilities. From initial meeting to final delivery, Torres estimated it takes four weeks for design and approval of details. Then, the engineering/production process may take up to another four weeks. This level of control over the entire process gives DTP an advantage in overseeing every detail.
“Every company wants to accomplish something a little different, or maybe in a different way,” Torres said. “They have a specific thing they’re trying to accomplish. So, once we get an agreement to what they want to accomplish, then it goes from there, because everything revolves around what they’re trying to accomplish… [The design process] really starts with a conversation.”
Smart marketers know branding always comes down to the small details. Especially for beginning brands still trying to get established, every trade show opportunity can be another brick in the brand’s foundation.
“It’s always a collaborative effort,” Torres said. “I help them open up, so I can go ahead and meet their needs. Then, we can figure out how to address those needs. That develops into an architecture or an environment that can accommodate getting them what they need.”
Show Floor: Flash Forward
Good marketers and trade show veterans alike realize a little staging can go a long way. Simple additions can transform a space from just a booth to an environment that helps broadcast the brand’s message.
Two touches that trade show environment designer David Torres suggests are specialty lighting and video.
“Illumination because it’s more alive, and video because we all love to be entertained,” Torres said. “Whenever something is moving, we’re interested in what’s moving, so we’re kind of drawn into movement or what’s happening on a screen. And think about it: If you go to a restaurant and it’s lit poorly, it doesn’t feel as appetizing as it does when the restaurant is lit properly.”
For startups and companies still establishing, details like lighting and video may seem like more expensive bells and whistles when they’re already knee-deep in banners, promotional giveaways, print materials, and other basics. But Torres’ environment designs are based on function before form. He suggests a booth’s job is to welcome customers to the brand.
TRADE SHOW TIPS:
- Lighting, even something as simple as lighted logo signage or merchandise displays, can attract the eye and set your brand apart for show attendees.
- Invest in a well-produced video that helps educate and entertain attendees while they wait or explore your space. You can use that video on social media and for other promotions, as well.
- Successful spaces on show floors draw consumers in, because they want to see what’s going on in the booth. Create an environment that uses fun, interesting, and compelling experiences for attendees to interact with your brand and products.