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Why Staff are your most important asset – and how they will Make or Break Your Trade Show Success

Why Staff are your most important asset – and how they will Make or Break Your Trade Show Success

One thing we’ve all really missed during these COVID times is one-on-one contact with others. Although we’ve adapted by moving online for everything including working, education, shopping, socialising and even exercising, we’ve come to realise that nothing is quite like a face-to-face interaction.

Over the last 15 months, we’ve missed our trade shows where thousands of people can get together under one roof, from one industry to discover what’s new, what’s trending and what’s being developed in that particular industry.

Whilst the online platform may reach a huge audience for your business, a trade show is the only place to reach a truly concentrated audience of focussed prospects face-to-face.

With things ramping up and restrictions slowly being lifted around the world, we’re seeing a real enthusiasm for live events again. As businesses are getting their confidence back, trade shows are looking very attractive as a way to re-energise.

This being the case, it is imperative that any person representing your business at a trade show knows their role inside-out, and understands what it means to be an ambassador for your brand.

Your staff should be reinforcing a positive image of your brand at all times whether on the stand or walking about the hall and even on break times. On the trade show floor they are your most valuable marketing tool. They should be impeccably turned out, knowledgeable, professional and able to relate to and converse with strangers well.

One of the main aspects of the job of manning exhibition stands is the ability to relate well, listen to the customer and make them feel they have ‘come to the right place’. These are not necessarily easy or natural attributes for everyone. It may not fit with the personality of your existing specialist or expert. So, by all means have your experts on stand-by for any tricky technical questions, but have someone who exudes confidence and affability as your first point of contact.

You may need to consider hiring someone specifically as a ‘spruiker’ to attract people onto your stand, or at the very least spend some time and money on training existing staff on how they should professionally and adequately represent your brand in public.

And just as you carefully plan the appearance of your exhibition stand down to details such as colour theme, branding, graphics, lighting and flooring to create a cohesive brand message you’ll need to make sure your staff and their appearance tie in with your overall theme too.

Some form of identity which ties in with your stand design whether an entire uniform, colour theme, individual clothing item such as a t-shirt or cap or even just a badge with your logo is a good idea. It makes it easier for visitors to connect your staff with your stand.

Knowledge of your products, prices, specials, and particularly your goals for the event are a must for all your stand staffers. These are the people your prospective customers will be dealing with and asking questions of and they may not be willing to wait until another salesperson follows up their enquiries. (There will be plenty of your competitors in close vicinity who will be more than happy to jump on those prospects looking for an answer or a sale immediately!)

With all the planning and effort going into design and build of your exhibition stand, staffing can often be left as a bit if an afterthought but with the best looking stand in the world, you won’t get any new customers without that personal touch. Make staffing a priority and something which is considered from the offset as part of your overall exhibiting plan.

So, what’s going to happen to the exhibition and trade show industry after Covid-19?

So, what’s going to happen to the exhibition and trade show industry after Covid-19?

We believe that trade shows and exhibitions will help the world economy recover, by helping individual businesses recover.

As lockdown starts to ease, we are all starting to think about what the future holds. Although trade shows and exhibitions may still be a way off yet, once the government gives the go-ahead to open up the conference and exhibition centres again it will be the best and most effective way to give your brand or product the showcase it needs to get back in the spotlight.

Here we list our top ten reasons why exhibiting at a trade show will help businesses get back on their feet after Covid 19.

  1.  To Showcase your Services

Trade shows offer vendors a highly targeted audience within their respective industries. Professionals in those industries are motivated to attend trade shows knowing they will find the latest technology and concepts currently influencing their profession. Your particular services will be on show for decision makers in your industry who actually demand them.

2.  To Launch a New Product

If you are in the process of launching a new product or idea into the market, there really is no better platform than a trade show where you will get maximum exposure within a highly focussed group and the opportunity to connect directly with the people within your industry who matter.

3. To Boost Brand Visibility

It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the bigger players in your industry, a small start-up company, or a niche supplier, you can still establish a presence as a leader or influencer in your specific market by intelligent positioning of your brand. Play to your strengths and make your brand known to both your customers and peers. You want people to know who you are.

4.  To Meet your Target Audience Face to Face

Most marketing avenues channel towards the objective of singling out a potential customer for one-on-one contact; whether that be in the form of generating incoming calls to your business through advertising or encouraging on-line searchers via SEO to fill out forms leaving contact details which can be followed up by your sales team.

Trade shows offer up the absolutely ideal scenario of your potential customers actually coming to you! It is a unique opportunity to increase your brand exposure and connect to consumers on a personal level from the get-go. Nothing beats a hands-on demonstration and eye-to-eye contact when it comes to selling. Allowing your customers to experience your product or services first hand will increase interest in your brand and drive sales.

5.  To Expand your Customer Database

Not only do you reap the benefit of meeting your customers face to face, you could also potentially meet hundreds of them! The amount of highly targeted professionals in your industry under one roof for a limited amount of time is an unparalleled opportunity to increase your viable customer contact list. Make sure you have some form of data collection and processing in place so you don’t miss out on any of those hot leads.

6.  To Research Developments in your Industry

It is important that your brand stays relevant within your industry and the only way you can ensure that is for your business to stay informed of any new products or ideas which may be influencing the industry as a whole. Not only are trade shows the ideal platform from which to market your brand, they also offer up an opportunity to learn about your competitors, find out what’s working, network with your peers and potentially embark upon mutually beneficial relationships which could expand your supply chain.

7.  To Keep an Eye on the Competition

Bigger players in the industry are generally more likely to spend a bit more money at a trade show. They will have the big glossy stands in the centre of the hall. Often they will take a few more risks introducing new technology or ideas which will influence the market as a whole. For this reason it is the ideal opportunity to observe what your competitors are doing so you can gauge the direction your industry market is likely to follow. You can also apply any successful tactics you witness from other brands to your own business. Apart from anything else, being amongst your peers and a group of like-minded people can be highly motivating.

8.  To Expand your Distributor Network

Not all other exhibitors will be in direct competition to you, many will be from other parts of the industry food chain. You may discover new and upcoming businesses hitherto unknown, which could be highly compatible to your own business module. Trade shows are great networking opportunities within your specific industry.

9.  To Expand your Industry Contacts

Even your competitors at a trade show could end up as friends. You never know who you might meet, who might turn out to be mutually beneficial business-wise. Maybe you sell the same product but in different parts of the country – you could come to an agreement to supply your own area and recommend each other to those outside your ‘home turf’. Maybe you can team up with another business selling parts which work in tandem with your product – you could sell as a package and both benefit from each other’s customer database.

 10.  To Obtain direct Feedback and Opinion

There are businesses out there whose sole function is to provide other businesses with feedback on their brand or product. Honest feedback from your customers as to what they need and how they see your brand is one of the most valuable resources you can get when it comes to marketing. It should influence your whole business structure moving forward. 

Trade shows present a unique opportunity to receive real-time feedback from a highly targeted group of people. Apart from face-to-face contact, you could also conduct a short survey, involving some kind of interaction on your stand – maybe rewarding participants with an incentive such as a competition or giveaways. The data you collect will be invaluable.

Read our Tips on how to design a lead generating exhibition stand for your brand.

Read our Tips on how to design a lead generating exhibition stand for your brand.

Exhibitions or Trade shows are an ideal way to generate new leads for your business. Even with all the readily available marketing tools at our disposal these days, meeting face-to-face is still the most effective way to develop a professional relationship. Not only that, but exhibition halls are filled with highly-targeted prospects actively looking to connect within your specific industry.

To help you get the most from your exhibiting experience, we’ve highlighted 5 rules to follow which will help you generate those valuable leads at your next trade show.

Rule #1 First impressions count – Communicate your brand message in 3 seconds or less.

Small - Medium Exhibition Stands

There is nothing more important than making a good solid first impression. Apparently your first opinion of someone forms in only one tenth of a second. With a brand, they say your first opinion takes only one fifth of a second (…..and 94% of this is design related.)

OK, so we know 99 % of statistics are made up on the spot! – but there is certainly some truth in a first impression being formed within a very short space of time. And it is much harder to shake a bad impression once made than it is to create a good one in the first place.

Make sure your exhibition stand communicates your message clearly and succinctly. Don’t confuse your prospects. If you are launching a new product, make the whole display about that. If you are introducing a new brand – then branding should be your focus.

People are essentially lazy and need to be guided as to where to look and how to navigate your stand. When done properly, good design along with clear and engaging graphics will do most of the work for you.

Rule #2 Monkey see Monkey do! – People gravitate towards other people.

 

When you get the choice of a crowded restaurant next to an empty one, people will choose the crowded restaurant. The theory is that it’s more popular so it must be better. The same effect applies to exhibition stands on a busy trade show floor.

No-one likes to feel they are on their own or the odd-man out so they don’t want to be the first to venture onto an empty exhibition stand. People are inherently more comfortable if they are one of the pack.

Some exhibitors will employ “spruikers” to entice people in. But here’s another (….and much cheaper) idea; get your own employees to act like visitors and create a buzz around your stand. Get staff to interact with each other (…but obviously make sure your stand managers are free to engage with the real prospects.)

Rule #3 Interaction is engaging – Give your visitors something to do.

Interaction between your brand and your visitors is beneficial to both parties. If you can get potential customers to employ some kind of physical connection with your brand, it will help them remember you – and you can use the interaction to collect data and information.

Whether it is in the form of a competition where prospects leave their details – or as a ‘hands-on’ demonstration of one of your products or even just a backdrop for photos to upload on social media platforms, anything which involves your visitors interacting and connecting in some way can only be a good thing.

Rule #4 Don’t sell, ‘Gell’ – Show interest in others and they’ll show interest in you.

Don’t just be about the hard sell. Exhibitions and trade shows are all about creating opportunities, networking and solidifying your brand’s position in your industry. Use your time to create new, and nurture existing relationships by actively showing interest in your visitors, your neighbours and even your competitors.

Ask any visitors about their company and where they came from first. Not only is it useful information for you, but they will naturally follow up by asking you the same. This kind of conversational ‘sell’ is a far more natural approach and more effective than the ‘hard sell’.

You might make some mutually beneficial contacts amongst other exhibitors too. Think about any opportunities which could open up if you were to partner with brands selling different products and services but to the same target market.

Rule #5 Follow up Fast – Don’t give your potential customers time to forget who you are.

Follow up on all your leads as soon as you can after the show. The longer you wait the longer they have to forget who you are.

Visitors will have had many interactions at the trade show, and as much as you want to believe that, as an exhibitor you were different and stood out from the rest, it’s tough for those visitors to remember every single name and product once back in the office.

A quick prompt from you could be all it takes to put your business back in the forefront of their mind. Don’t be afraid of reaching out too quickly. The day after the show is not too soon to follow up with potential prospects. Waiting too long will dilute the connection.


If you need help with your next exhibition or trade show contact Exhibitionco today and call on our many years of experience in the exhibition industry.

Why it’s important to create a memorable brand experience resulting in brand loyalty.

Why it’s important to create a memorable brand experience resulting in brand loyalty.

Designing an exhibition stand is not just about creating something that looks great, it’s about understanding the marketing challenges and branding goals of each individual exhibitor.

The concept of brand and brand marketing is still the same as it always has been: Get someone to like you, encourage them to buy your stuff and then persuade them to keep buying more of your stuff. The most prevalent factors in achieving brand loyalty have always revolved around the simple things such as price, location, customer service and quality. However, the platform in which individual brands look to achieve results has changed dramatically in recent years.

The explosion of online shopping – giving the consumer access to a worldwide marketplace, along with rapidly advancing technology …. allows the buyer to ‘experience’ a product in a virtual capacity. This means that the above factors of price etc. may no longer enough to demand strong brand loyalty. Now it’s all about connectivity, familiarity and making life easy for the customer.

Companies are competing in a far more complex marketplace these days and need to be much smarter in their marketing strategies. It is no longer even just about brand identity, awareness and loyalty. Businesses need to build ‘brand affinity’ through ‘brand experience’.

Brand experience relies, not just on visual prompts but by encompassing all sensations and feelings; by generating behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli. A brand needs to create an authentic and memorable ‘experience’. It needs to promote an emotional response in its audience – through strong design, concise brand identity and direct and focussed communications.

An effective brand experience will create valuable interactions between the brand and/or products and services and the user.
A meaningful experience will increase an individual’s brand affinity.
A successful brand experience will deliver on a brand’s promise by proving the benefits of a product or service to a particular individual.

To create a meaningful connection between brand and consumer, business owners and brand marketers need to think outside the box. It’s no longer just about advertising. TV, print, media and on-line strategies are certainly still relevant as part of the whole marketing plan but people want to also ‘experience’ a brand in-situ. They want personalised and immersive brand experiences.

Successful consumer engagement begins with innovation. A well-designed, sensory experience targeted to the right audience in the right environment will appeal to a whole new group of consumers. It will also build relationships, create devotees and ultimately drive sales. The quality of the experience itself will determine the amount of engagement or brand affinity it produces.

Events, experiential activations, in-store promotions, trade shows, virtual and augmented reality, creative pop-ups, installations and the like which offer up the opportunity for meaningful interactions between brand and consumer should be paramount in a business’s marketing agenda. The more creative, interactive and immersive the experience for the user, the more an individual will engage with and remember a brand.

Now, more than ever, marketers need to look for new, creative and sophisticated approaches. A brand needs to focus on engagement to differentiate and stand out from the rest. Importantly, it also needs to deliver on its promise. Audiences are far more discriminating these days and they are quick to let anyone and everyone know if they feel a brand doesn’t stand up, they will soon take their custom elsewhere ( ….and very likely that of their friends and family too through word of mouth).

Declining customer engagement is a huge battleground for brands in a modern world full of sensory distractions. In today’s diverse new world of consumer demands and expectations, fuelled by changing demographics and the cultural shift in the market, brands are stru­ggling to create meaningful differentiation and engagement amongst their audience. The brands who are able to identify customers’ expectations and address them via true and authentic emotional values, will be the successful companies of the future.

Call Exhibitionco today to see how we can help your brand stand out at your next event.

Why you should allocate a specific area on your exhibition stand for conversation .

Why you should allocate a specific area on your exhibition stand for conversation .

Cultivate a Conversation: The importance of designing a meeting room or space on your exhibition stand conducive to one-on-one conversation.

One of the most beneficial aspects of exhibiting at a trade show is the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with prospective customers. The organisers of trade shows sell exhibiting spaces on the promise that they will attract a highly targeted audience within a specific industry to attend the event. The objective for them is to make their spaces valuable by guaranteeing to produce some of the largest players with buying power in a specific industry. In turn, visitors are attracted to attend with the promise that they can meet suppliers and innovators in their industry one-on-one.

For most exhibitors, direct communication will be the key on-site strategy for any live event. A well-designed stand along with eye-catching graphics ….and even spruikers are great for brand awareness and attracting passers-by but can only do so much. Ultimately, it will be your on-site team’s responsibility to garner leads and attract sales. Cultivating intimate conversations and facilitating individual sales meetings between your team members and prospects should be a chief priority.

So, aside from your demo area and your meet & greet space, you will need to consider an area on your exhibition stand where your sales team can sit for a one-on-one meeting with a prospect. Depending on the size of your floor space this could be an entire dedicated room or just a quiet area off to one side.

When we’re designing an exhibition stand for a client we start by asking what they want to accomplish at the event. We’ll then design the space accordingly. A meeting area or room is one of the most important elements to consider at the very early stages of design. One essential factor is to keep design consistent across the entire stand. We don’t want to lose focus on a brand’s objective for the event, but we’ll usually try and incorporate at least a small area for a sit-down and a chat. The best meeting rooms are the ones that express what the business is all about.

If the brand is all about fun or has a playful image, then it might not suit to have a closed-off ‘quiet’ area. Bar stools and table may be more fitting (….or pallets and crates as in this stand for Naked Syrups at Fine Food).

In fact, furniture can play a crucial role. Even things such as posture can result in a more productive meeting. You may consider a relaxed vibe with lounges and coffee tables more suitable to your brand – or you might want people sitting upright to stay engaged with any content you’re trying to communicate.

Think about what role the physical environment will play in the success of a meeting. Work around what will be the most beneficial type of interaction for your prospects. Will you need space for demonstration, presentation or simply just conversation? If you design your space and technology around the interests of your visitors, you’ll be halfway there.

Larger exhibition stands with a greater floor area can afford a closed-off or partitioned section specifically for meetings (as in the above meeting room we designed for Ansaldo at Ausrail – We printed directly to clear acrylic sheets to continue the branding of the stand which also afforded the users some privacy).

Short of floor space on your stand but really want a private area? – maybe you can build up a storey. Double decks are always impressive structures in an exhibition hall and will double your floor space with a single staircase. You can talk to your prospects in comfort and achieve the privacy you need above the hustle and bustle of the trade show floor. (pic shows this stand we built for Bostik at IHG in with the meeting area upstairs)

As well as deciding on the location, size & furniture options for your meeting area – there are lots of other aspects to consider which can influence the setting. Things such as colour, lighting, temperature, whether to provide food & drink …..even smells can influence the mood of your guests.– Try and stimulate all the senses if you can!

Obviously, as with any considerations on your exhibition stand, don’t go overboard just for the sake of it. Any decisions on the design of your space should be consciously made to enhance the overall environment and achieve the goals set out.

Creativity is good, but authenticity will gain the trust of your prospects.

Below are some more meeting spaces we have designed for brands such as Sony,  BT & MPC.

Retail Pop ups – the ideal way to interact with your customers without huge overheads.

Retail Pop ups – the ideal way to interact with your customers without huge overheads.

A ‘pop-up’, in this context, is a temporary retail space which offer businesses a ‘here-today-gone-tomorrow’, sales or marketing environment to showcase a brand or product in a trial size platform.

As it’s such a short term venture, a pop-up offers up a relatively low-cost opportunity for a business to take some creative risks, have a bit of fun, generate some buzz and introduce their brand to new audiences.

It’s a low-commitment advertising platform which allows emerging brands to experiment a bit with their retail options and, at the same time, create an immersive experience for potential customers without signing up for a ton of overheads which would be involved with a permanent retail location.

It’s not just for emerging brands either, existing and well established brands can build loyalty through meaningful brand contact and experiences.

During this strange time of COVID, with many businesses unable to keep up with rent on permanent stores and customers turning to online buying, it is still evident that most people like to see a product ‘in the flesh’. Brands need to move with the times and try and take advantage of this shift in shopping behaviour.

Even before COVID we were seeing a retail transformation where consumers were moving from in-store to on-line and leading brands were already evolving to meet market demands by embracing the brave new world of high-tech, high-concept experiential pop-up shops.

A preference for experience and interaction with a brand is not just a passing fad, but a by-product of the times in which we live.

Just like social media campaigns, experiential marketing efforts in the physical world represent quantifiable results for businesses by creating memorable, shared experiences. This authentic and unique relationship builds a devoted clientele which, in turn drives sales and retains brand loyalty.

Big brands are using pop-up platforms to, not only sell their products direct but also to heighten consumer experiences. Engaging the consumer through stimulating aesthetics and interactive displays builds brand awareness and brand loyalty. These micro platforms are being employed to target prospective customers in a more authentic and experiential way.

Similar to exhibition stands, the pop up environment can be completely controlled and themed by the individual brand. For example, the ‘Kube’, specifically designed by us here at Exhibitionco for outdoor events and activations, is a highly adaptable and durable mobile unit which allows for an almost unlimited level of customisation suiting various individual requirements, whilst bundling up into a compact package for easy installation and transportation.

There are so many options available from tailor made mobile units such as the Kube to shipping containers or individual custom designed displays. You are really only limited by imagination and creativity, or at least the imagination of your pop-up designer.

Contact us here at Exhibitionco for ideas for your next event and let us create a great experience together.