With the high cost of exhibiting at trade shows it pays to plan ahead. In this article we would like to share our experience with you, to show how you can make the most of your next exhibition.
The best advice we can give you is start planning the process early. Last minute panics are a guarantee of poorly thought through designs and poor-quality build. Show organisers and contractors may increase costs for last minute clients, so plan ahead.
Choose the Right Partner
It is vital that you get the best help you can. Unless you have an in-house design team, you will be looking for a specialist design agency or exhibition contractor.
Choose the right partner and they will be of enormous help. Choose the wrong partner, one that does not have the right skills and experience, and the whole process will be stressful and expensive. More importantly less successful that it might have been.
Exhibition contractors can often offer expertise in construction and logistics, but often their marketing skills are limited.
Design agencies often work in partnership with a contractor but can provide creative ideas and brand consistency.
What You Need to Communicate
This follows from a clear understanding of WHY you are exhibiting.
If you are trying to reinforce a brand, then it will be more about image and a design that matches your brand values. If you have a high-end brand, you cannot present a cheap looking stand. Even if you don’t have a big budget, then either scale back the size of your stand or work with your design agency to find creative ways to achieve the required quality at a reduce cost. This is where professional designers prove their worth.
If you are introducing a new product, a more technical approach will be needed. You will need to decide what features or benefits of the product will need to be emphasised.
Don’t try to do too much. You have a very limited time to grab the attention of visitors. Don’t bombard the visitor with information, keep it simple.
How to Communicate
Your stand should first attract customers, engage and then educate them on your products and services. Often the most successful stands combine a number of the following options to create a stimulating variety and opportunity to engage with staff.
- Graphics are the simplest and generally the cheapest way to convey information. They can vary from simple cut vinyl lettering to Foamex or stretch fabric.
- Interactive features or displays which directly promote visitor participation
- Video and sound can be useful to both catch attention and to convey information. They should be used sparingly in shows and sound can be drowned out by the noise of other exhibitors.
- Give visitors something to take away:
– Brochures and technical literature
– Branded giveaways
– Invitation to other events, demonstrations etc.
Design is Everything
From ‘Do it Yourself’ that might be a pop up or shell scheme, to using a specialist design agency for a bespoke stand. Whatever you choose these design tips will help
- Position, size, sophistication of design and quality of finishes all make a statement about you and your brand.
- Check position of poser supply. You may have to alter design of your stand to suit. For instance, a raised platform to run power cables.
- Design the stand with regard to its position. Which way will visitors approach the stand and what will be their first view of the stand.
- Use high level signage together with eye level signage to make it visually clear who you are and where you are.
- Tell visitors what you do and what you offer
- Appeal to people’s senses, so give people something to see, touch, hear and even taste!
- Do not understate the impact of lighting which can create mood and transform graphic displays
- Make sure the stand is accessible to all.
Organising exhibition stands can be demanding, time consuming and stressful. Having booked your stand, you will then need to carry out some of the following steps to meet critical deadlines
- Submit plans of the stand ensuring that it complies with the requirements and restrictions detailed in the Show manual.
- Submit Health & Safety risk assessments and method statements.
- Order electrical supply and any other special services required.
- Arrange for both contractor and exhibitors passes.
This is your chance to give a good impression.
- If you have space, create an obvious reception point to greet visitors, no one like to hover.
- Provide hospitality. It is likely that you will have detailed conversation with visitors, so make it comfortable.
- Be smart, friendly, attentive but nor pushy.
- Be professional at all times and look interested.
A good design agency should be able to help with marketing support. There are a number of tools to achieve this.
- Social Media
- Pay Per Click
- Your website
Exhibiting at shows can be exhausting, so when the show is over it is tempting to take a break. However, you have generated interest and have leads to follow upon.
- Contact all leads and prioritise actions
- Send out brochures, press releases, add photos on Social media and your website.
If you do all this, your exhibition will be a success.
ib3 have been designing, building and managing exhibition stands for 20 years. We provide full exhibition and event design and build. Complete end to end management. So, if you are in need of some expert help and advice, get in touch.