When it comes to designing exhibition stands we must not forget that the space we are creating is essentially going to be used for conducting business. We need to focus on a stand layout that will support staff and make it easier for them to engage in conversation with visitors to the stand and be conducive to creating new, and building on existing, customer relationships.
We have outlined a few basic elements which should be considered before adding all those eye catching graphics, high gloss paint finishes and lighting effects.
Firstly- Focus! – Define the one reason why you are exhibiting. Once defined, this will become the principle element your space is built around. If you’re launching a new product, then showcase it front and centre. Just wanting to boost your brand? – then your brand should be the highlight …and consistent key messaging will be your hook. Giveaways, competitions and activity should all revolve around your one central message.
You can be playful with a theme, for example at a recent event we attended, we hired a popcorn machine & asked visitors to ‘pop in’ for a chat. The play on ‘Pop-Art’ & things ‘popping up’ was a key theme throughout our pre-show communications and at the event – We were essentially promoting our new ‘Pop-up’ showcase.
(Incidently, the smell of freshly made popcorn was enough to draw people towards the stand on its own!)
First impressions count – Whether you have a reception counter, registration desk, or entrance feature of some kind, you will have a space on your stand which will work as your introduction area. This will be your first point of contact and interaction with visitors. You’ll need to make sure this area is manned at all times. If one of your stand attendees is with a client swap someone else into this space ASAP. This is also where you’ll collect information on all your visitors so be sure to have something set up to collate the data for later reviewing.
A Meeting Space – So, introductions made, interest generated …. where to next? Not only will you want to free up your ‘greeting space’ for the next prospective client, you’ll want to move to somewhere a little more conducive to business talk, so a meeting space is essential. Depending on the size of your stand this may be just a small seating area with a table – be it bar-tables and stools or sofa and coffee table, or you may have the luxury of a closed off, separate area. Either way, make sure this area is available and ready for business at all times!
A Demonstration Area – OK, so we’ve greeted our prospects, sat down and had a cup of coffee and a chat – now it’s time to demonstrate our product. Again make sure there is a designated area to give your final pitch and showcase your product. This action of moving people through your space step-by-step will keep the process moving and hopefully eliminate waiting times for new visitors. You don’t want potential customers walking away and losing interest because no-one is there to greet them or your reception area is over-crowded.
Experiential Interaction Area – If you’ve got yourself a large floor-space you may be lucky enough to be able to allocate an area for specific customer interaction where they will be able to test or try your product or service. Ideally, this area will be out in the open so that the experience for one prospect can become part of the drawcard for the next. Live demos or customer interaction can be great entertainment for other visitors to the event.
Exit Strategy – Obviously you don’t’ need a specific “exit” area but do make sure you have final contact before a person leaves your stand to move on. Make sure you have got their details and take a bit of time out while things are fresh in your mind to make any notes as to conversations you may have had. It’s always good to be able to make specific notes on a person’s interests – or something specific to them. It is a great way to re-open the conversation when you get back in touch to follow up your leads after the event.
A small area where your staff can work without interrupting the flow of traffic through your stand is a good idea – so they’re not standing at the ‘greeting space’ with head down working, ignoring what could be another hot lead passing by.
Your stand layout is probably the most important part of your overall stand design. Your exhibit design company should be well aware of this and create the floorplan of your stand before anything else. Make sure your exhibition company knows your show strategy and business objectives.
A well thought out ‘space’ is just one of the many aspects involved in creating a successful exhibiting experience.
For more ideas on your next event or showcase call Exhibitionco today to talk to one of our experienced Account Managers.