How do you design a tent to stop the world's best experiential marketers in their tracks? That’s the question our team had to answer ahead of the 20th Annual Experiential Marketing Summit.
Hosted by Event Marketer, the conference bills itself as the “No. 1 conference for creators of the brand experience”.
After going remote in 2020 and 2021, EMS returned to in-person events with a vengeance in 2022. We attended in 2017, 2018, and 2019 but for our grand return to EMS, we wanted to feature something different from our traditional pop-up tent.
While we don’t follow a set process when designing our own team, our team recommends answering these questions before starting a design:
- What is the size of your footprint?
- What is the flow of traffic around you?
- How long do you want people to stay?
- How do you plan to engage them?
- What are you selling? How can you best display that?
Of course, we had specific goals, just like our clients do. We wanted to:
- Showcase our best product in a unique way
- Show a breadth of products
- Show a full spectrum of color
- And we wanted to make it memorable
That last point was key to our design. Our owner, Matt Bulloch, has an excellent story that he shared from one of the first conferences he attended after starting TentCraft.
All vendors set up with a standard 10x10 event space, but one attendee walked in with a camel. Yes, a camel. And this camel had nothing to do with their business.
But visitors flocked to the camel. Visitors took pictures with the camel. A decade later, our boss is still talking about that camel.
So, our goal was clear: Create our own camel.
Thankfully, one of our company’s guiding principles is “Fun and A Little Weirdness”.
With that guiding principle (my personal favorite!) in mind, we decided on a theme of “Northern Michigan Hunting Lodge.”
Our Industrial Designer, Jake Mikula, whipped up a few renderings and created a vision board for our talented art team.
We chose to feature our MONARCHGABLE tent with a custom media wall.
Our Senior Production Artist Forrest Hanson brought the design together and found a way to showcase all of the products we couldn’t bring to show.
Forrest, who loves a good theme (and basset hounds), showcased our favorite custom jobs in picture frames printed on the tent wall, in addition to a project highlight video running on a TV built into the media wall. He turned our mightyTable into a log pile and incorporated a half-wall design that perfectly highlighted our counters.
The end result was classic TentCraft and “Pure Michigan” to boot. But something was missing.
A Canadian Tuxedo. Our sales team stepped out in head-to-toe denim to really bring the look together.
Outside Sales Representative Molly Egeler says they dressed up to stand out and make a lasting impression. It was a built-in ice breaker for event attendees and matching was fun for the team too.
A few people even asked us if we were from Canada. Our response? No, eh. But close enough?
We think the end result could hang with the best booth designs at EMS and we are already plotting how we can outdo ourselves next year.
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