Dressing for Success: Choosing the Right Event Attire for Your Team

When you’re planning for an event or tradeshow, there are many important things to consider, such as whether you’ll rent or buy your exhibit, what technology you should incorporate, and how you’ll track your ROI, just to name a few.  In the face of such big decisions, it would be easy to let seemingly smaller ones—like your team’s attire—sit on the back burner.  However, these small details are just as important as the big picture items!

Events provide a unique opportunity for your team to get face-to-face with potential customers, so don’t let poor event attire ruin your opportunity to form positive first impressions. Read on to learn what you should consider when preparing your team to dress for success.

Stay True to Your Brand

When it comes time to make any marketing-related decision, you should always start by remembering your brand.  A consistent brand is key to creating a seamless customer experience, and your team’s event attire is no exception.  This doesn’t mean everyone needs to wear a company polo, though that’s certainly an option. You can also stay true to your brand by creating a color theme around your company’s colors or by incorporating your logo via a lanyard, name tag, or button.  Also, consider the driving force behind your branding—who you are as a company and how you want customers to think about you. Do you present yourselves as cutting edge and youthful? Established and professional? Letting your team dress in line with your company culture is another great way to honor your brand on the trade show floor.

Allow Room for Flexibility

While there may be certain cases that call for absolutely identical team uniforms, those times truly are few and far between. In most cases, it’s best to allow for some flexibility in your team’s attire so that you don’t come across as too “matchy-matchy.”  There’s no need to dictate the exact style of shoes or jewelry your team should wear, and you may even decide that matching company polos are unnecessary. Instead of dictating every detail, present your team with some general guidelines that will allow your team to choose between a few different options while still looking cohesive.  For example, a color scheme is a great way to get everyone on the same page without requiring identical shirts all weekend long.

Create Outfit Boards

An outfit board is a simple yet helpful tool for presenting attire guidelines that allow your team room for flexibility. Just search Google for examples of tops and bottoms that fit with the look you’re going for, then share those “outfit inspirations” with your team. If you’re going to have different color schemes or guidelines for different days of the event, create an outfit board for each day so that everyone’s prepared ahead of time.  If you’re not a graphic designer, don’t worry—this doesn’t have to a Pinterest-worthy creation.  Simple tools like Canva make it easy to compile a few pictures into one image that you can attach to an email.

Keep Customer-Focused

We talk a lot about the importance of being customer-focused in trade show marketing, and the same principles ring true for your team’s attire. When planning your outfits or guidelines, consider your industry and the audience of the particular event you’ll be attending. You don’t want your team to be especially overdressed or underdressed. The goal is to ensure event attendees feel comfortable approaching your team, and matching their level of formality is a good place to start. At the same time, you want your organization to appear established and trustworthy, and a touch of professionalism goes a long way towards making that happen.  If you’re attending an event for the first time and aren’t sure what to expect, a quick search for photo galleries from past years can be helpful and may even inspire some ideas. 

Don’t Abandon Practicality

Have you ever spent all day on your feet in a pair of really uncomfortable shoes? If so, you probably remember how difficult it was to focus on anything but your squished toes. When briefing your team on what to wear, encourage professional but comfortable footwear. This isn’t the time to break in a brand new pair of shoes, and don’t ask team members to wear.
Another facet of practicality to consider is whether or not your uniform guidelines allow for some options with pockets. Although this seems like an insignificant detail, pockets are extremely helpful for carrying around business cards and pens—both things your team will want to have on hand when meeting attendees.

Consider Your Theme

While incorporating a theme into your exhibit is optional, it can be a great way to keep your exhibit fresh and help you stand out on a crowded trade show floor. One of the key pieces of a successful theme is keeping it consistent throughout your trade show experience and advertising—and that includes your team’s attire. For example, you may opt to wear jerseys for a sports theme or flannel for a hiking theme. Just remember to keep the above guidelines in mind as well. Consider the attendees and industry to ensure you don’t overdo it, and always keep attire practical and comfortable. 

Run Your Ideas by a Trade Show Specialist

Are you unsure how to balance creativity with practicality and professionalism with approachability?  We can help. Contact us today to speak with a trade show specialist who can serve as a sounding board and guide for this and other important decisions as you plan for your next event.

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