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Time for a New Exhibition Stand? Here are some things you should consider….

Time for a New Exhibition Stand? Here are some things you should consider….

Whether it’s your first time or whether you’re a seasoned exhibitor, time will come when you’ll need to think about investing in an exhibition stand. If you’re a fairly small business or just starting out in the exhibiting game you might just want an upgrade from a shell-scheme and trestle table, or maybe you’re looking for a system/modular stand to be used at different events, or you might even be in the market for a brand new, fully custom designed stand for a one off occasion. So, how do you know what’s best for your brand and what do you look for?

Here at Exhibitionco, we have had many years of experience designing and building exhibition stands to suit various budgets and expectations. We’ve learnt some valuable lessons along the way so, in the interests of wanting to share our knowledge and experience with all exhibitors, here are our 5 top tips when considering a new exhibition stand.

#1 Building a great relationship is just as important as building a great stand
A good exhibition stand designer will want to get to know you and your company’s ambitions. They’ll want to know as much about your company and products as possible and familiarise themselves with your brand and services before they even contemplate putting pen to paper.

Expect the initial conversation to be about your brand positioning and your specific expectations and goals for an individual event. You’ll need to make sure you have your targets firmly set out before you embark on the process, and communicate them to your stand designer.

A great exhibition stand partner will become as familiar with your product and services as your own employees and should become a vital extension of your in-house marketing team.

Like any good relationship, your exhibition stand designer should have your interests at heart and should ‘have your back’ at all times. If you feel your relationship has broken down with your current partner, consider moving on!

#2 Quality will be remembered long after the price is forgotten
When shopping around for exhibition stand designers and builders, as always there will be a price factor involved in your final decision. However, as with everything you buy, don’t sacrifice quality for those extra few bucks. Make sure your chosen exhibition company has the experience you’re looking for. Check with previous customers. Look for testimonials from other businesses and check out their portfolio to make sure they have the skill set and creativity to create the kind of stand your brand needs. Don’t fall for the hard sell of a cheaper company if they don’t have the history or qualifications to prove themselves (…perhaps they’re cheaper for a reason!)

#3 The devil is in the detail
First impressions do count and smart finishing will turn heads and make an impact. Sometimes it’s the small things which may cost a little more which make all the difference to how people relate to you.Details like LED under bench lighting, raised flooring, fitted carpets and back-lit or 3D graphics may seems small, but these finer points all contribute to creating a positive and engaging customer experience, helping to position you ahead of the competition.

#4 If you must cut costs, don’t cut corners
Spend your budget wisely. Splurging on fancy but ineffective things such as expensive freebies and giveaway food or drink is not always a great idea. It may make you a popular place to be for a rest stop but unless you’re getting some great leads which will later convert to sales, your ROI will be shot!

Instead, challenge your stand designers to come up with something new and innovative that can yield better returns. Focus more on fresh ideas to get people engaging with your brand in some way.

Contests and games have traditionally been appealing ways to draw in a crowd, but technology is constantly offering up new and exciting ways to make a connection and generate engagement in more lucrative ways.

Consider options such as virtual reality, augmented reality or touch screens. Give your visitors some way of interacting which is entertaining and rewarding for them. Anything people can touch, trial, sample and experience for themselves will be far more memorable than just seeing a product on display.

#5 Stick to 1 cohesive brand message
During the design process there are often many changes and updates. There can be several people in the command chain who want tweaks here and there. Sometimes focus can get lost trying to include too many products or mixed brand messages.

Decide from the outset what your focus should be for the event; whether it’s to launch a new product, showcase a best seller or just build your brand. Whatever your intention, stick to that one message across all platforms associated with that event and make sure your exhibition stand design reflects the same message.

Keep on track, stay focused and deliver a cohesive brand message.

In short, to make sure you get a fantastic exhibition stand for your next event you should really be starting to plan your new design as early as possible.

Do some research; Take note of which stands you liked at a previous show, which were attracting the crowds and which were most successful. Ask the exhibitors who the designers are.

Get your goals and targets set and, along with your exhibition company, achieve them!

A Great Floorplan = a Successful Exhibiting Experience

A Great Floorplan = a Successful Exhibiting Experience

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!)

Popcorn Machine
Popcorn Machine

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.

Reception Counter
Reception Counter

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!

Meeting Space
Meeting Space

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.

Demonstration Area
Demonstration Area

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 draw-card for the next. Live demos or customer interaction can be great entertainment for other visitors to the event.

Interaction
Interaction

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.