Not all trade show badges are created equally. You’d think that a thin piece of plastic would be more democratic, but it’s not. In fact, there are some very specific types of badges you need if you want to optimize your attendee experience, helping create the perfect event.
Feature One: An Attendee-Oriented Badge
Before we get to the badge types you will want to use, let’s briefly review the “must-have” information that every badge must share and why.
Good badges will control attendees’ permissions and activities throughout an event and deepen opportunities to collect data. As an event professional, however, it’s easy to overlook how an attendee sees your event and how a badge can facilitate their experience. If you think of an event as a giant mixer for sales professionals, then every attendee will want to glean a few essential bits of information from simply looking at another’s badge.
a.) It Must Show Profession
While every exhibitor badge should show exhibitor, attendee or buyer, and press; you may be required by the show to add include speaker, partner/vendor, student, etc. The more options for your badge, the better, because it allows your attendees to classify groups of people immediately while adding some detailed information.
b.) It Must Show Name, As Intended
Naturally, every badge must clearly display the attendee’s name. A good badge will offer ample white space, or “area of non-interference” which allows the name to be displayed clearly and prominently.
c.) It Must Show Company
There is some debate in the industry (as much as there are debates) whether an attendee’s profession or company name should be displayed directly under their name. We tend to favor putting the profession first because it provides the opportunity to pre-emptively “lead qualify” a potential conversation.
If a badge shows “VP Marketing,” for example, then the conversation may have higher lead potential than a badge that features the company name prominently because talking to decision makers tends to outweigh the advantages of talking to a company in general. The best badges will always accommodate a balance of information here.
d.) It Must Show Location
This should also be displayed prominently, but not in a primary position. Location information, however, can be as essential if not more essential than company name because it can often be used as an ice-breaker for conversations. It also allows attendees to gauge follow up accordingly.
e.) It is Bar (QR) Coded
This last bit of information is more useful to you, the event professional, than the attendee. There must be a digital repository containing the basic information of each attendee, so you can see how they move throughout your event. QR codes on badges accomplish that.
2) Feature Two: Coding and Tracking
As discussed, a QR (or RFID) enabled badge gives each attendee an individual profile at your event. As the event progresses, you can build that profile beyond basic demographic information (providing you also have the right software). For example, tracking session attendance, custom survey information, or attendee networking, which can be used for lead-scoring and more personalized post-event follow-up. Connected badges are the cornerstone of all in-event data collection.
3) Feature Three: Graphic “Wow Factor”
Above: Badges from DesignThinkers, Canada's largest annual conference for the design industry.
A great show demands a good badge. It’s not just the bags and the bling that people bring home from shows, they also bring home the badge they have worn during the event. A badge “system,” – or the badge, holder and chain is often the primary memento that reminds people of their experience.
It is therefore critical that your badge be designed in a way that complements the entire “system” and that the typefaces are complementary, the colors (if used) augment the rest of the package and that the printing is clear and legible. The card stock should also be sufficient enough to have a shelf-life.
Your goal should be making a badge beautiful enough that somebody could decorate their desk with it. That way your event stays top of mind for them.