Booth Design for Trade Shows in Japan

What Support Should You Expect from a Japanese B2B Booth Designer

Who should you ask to build your booth at a trade show in Japan? There are a number of things to look for in booth design and construction for a B2B exhibition.

Firstly, the booth designer should have B2B experience, be able to understand your exhibiting objectives, and translate your messages into effective signs and graphics that attract target customers into your booth.

Secondly, it is best to leave the selection of a booth builder to your booth designer. They will have a strong working relationship with a reputable booth builder and that should enable them to deal with any unexpected problems that arise when setting up the booth. For example, they will be able to reprint any artwork on site should the bare booth supplied by the organizer differ from the expected dimensions.

Localization of Overseas Booth Designs

A booth designer can help you to decide the best approach to exhibiting in Japan, taking into consideration your budget, objectives for the trade show, and whether it is possible to reuse elements from overseas. Working with a booth designer to localize a design from overseas will ensure:

  • There are no problems due to a mix-up between metric and imperial units
  • Conformation to Japanese exhibition regulations (e.g. fire regulations)
  • Display shelfs are not too high (1m is standard height in Japan)
  • There is no inappropriate use of color or motifs
  • Effective localization of signage and booth catch copy

What is the Appropriate Type of Booth?

A booth designer can also explain the merits and demerits of custom and rental booths in Japan to enable you to determine the best approach for your situation. Many exhibitors in Japan build customize booths for each exhibition they participate in. This may seem wasteful to persons from overseas who are used to exhibiting with reusable system booths.

  • Custom Booths

    A custom booth enables you to fine tune your exhibit to the size and location of your exhibition space. Custom booths have the greatest impact on passersby and are most effective when booths are 18m2 and over. Custom booths provide good cost performance because wallpapering (paper hanging) is quite inexpensive in Japan and are often constructed with reusable wall panels and overhead trusses.

  • Rental Booths

    Rental booths are commonly used by distributors. They are also an option for larger companies at smaller exhibitions where booth sizes and budgets are lower. Storage costs are high in Japan, so the cost of renting system booths is also relatively high. Companies that exhibit regularly may purchase some items such as display tables and cases.

Can the Designer Make the Type of Booth Required?

Your primary motivation for exhibiting at a trade show in Japan is probably one of the following:

  • Lead Generation

    If your objective is to qualify leads for your internal sales team, then your display will focus on solutions for customer problems and booth staff should be subject matter experts.

  • Application/Market Discovery

    If you want to discover new applications for your products, then you will feature generic working displays that challenge customers intellectually to apply them to their own situations.

  • Corporate Branding

    If you want to strengthen your corporate brand then your booth should communicate your capabilities and customer relationships, be spacious, and weighted toward in-booth hospitality.

  • Customer Database

    If you are new to the market and your objective is to create a customer database, then you should focus on developing customer traffic and use an incentive to segment visitors.

  • Distributor Support

    If your objective is to support your distributors or agents, then your booth should explain why your products are special and motivate distributors to pursue customers for your brand in preference of other brands they handle.

Each one of these objectives requires a unique mix of hardware and software to maximize the outcome. Your booth layout will change, your definition of a qualified visitor will change, and the nature of interaction between your booth, visitors, and staff will also change.

Booth designers have strengths and weaknesses like everyone else, so it is best to choose a designer who excels at the type of booth required.

Use the following links for details of how we design and construct B2B booths in Japan:

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How much support should I seek from external partners?

Organizing an exhibition is a project management challenge requiring many different complex tasks to be performed simultaneously. The degree of difficulty increases exponentially when you are a regional manager located overseas. Irrespective of how early you start the project, you will undoubtedly encounter the situation where local staff involved in the project do not recognize the urgency of their tasks until a few months or weeks before the actual exhibition starts.
Avoid doing everything in-house
Using external partners to deliver key parts of your exhibition project allows you to reduce the number of project dependencies related to internal staff. If your budget will allow it, you should ask internal staff to provide only those things which cannot be sourced outside of the company. For example, working displays.

Should I save these posters and display stands for next time?

Japan has a very humid climate, which means materials used in booth construction (lightwood timbers) and poster backing (cardboard and Styrofoam) will absorb moisture and warp within about six months. Therefore, most elements of a booth are discarded after use.
If you want to reuse trade show posters and displays at other events, then it is best to pay a little bit more for a higher quality, longer lasting finish. Items made for trade shows are usually only required to last a week or so.