exhibition stand

Home / Posts tagged "exhibition stand"
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!

When it comes to exhibition stands, it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” solution, so which is right for you?

When it comes to exhibition stands, it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” solution, so which is right for you?

It’s important to choose the right kind of exhibition stand for both your space and budget …and most importantly, your brand or purpose. Your choice of display can make or break your trade show experience. Done right, an effective exhibition stand will act as a magnet attracting passers-by and offering them a comfortable place to chat and engage with your brand. It should also have enough of a ‘wow’ factor’ to be memorable after they leave.

On the other hand, bad choices with exhibition stand design can have the opposite effect. Badly designed stands will deter people from stopping. If you’re not careful you can inadvertently create an uninviting space, be too overwhelming, or your brand message could get lost against surrounding competitors or you could just be completely forgettable! A bad experience for all involved.

Although there are a myriad of options out there, we are going to narrow things down to 3 very basic categories of exhibition stand to choose from ….and in the spirit of wanting to keep it simple, we’re going to look at them in terms of ‘small’, ‘medium’ and ‘large’……both in size and budget*.

Small stand / Small budget – Modular exhibition stands.

Small Modular exhibition stands (3 x 3 / 6 x 3)
Small Modular exhibition stands (3 x 3 / 6 x 3)

Modular exhibition stands are composed of varying sized aluminium frames which fit together to create the whole structure (….think building blocks or meccano sets). These can be built to various configurations, sizes and shapes and rigid panels of Foamex /EPVC make up the infill sections. Infil panels can be plain white, coloured or full printed graphics. This type of exhibition stand can go from a very basic 3 x 3 box framework to larger structures with features such as curved sections, archways, walk-throughs and meeting rooms.

Easy to transport and install, these are the cheapest kind of exhibition stand and can be used over and over – even re-built and adapted to different configurations and floor plans. Also, graphic sections can be updated, switched around or added with ease.

Many exhibition companies will have a range of pre-designed, budget modular stand packages to choose from, so worth asking for some options or examples if you think this is for you.

Medium Stand / Medium budget Modular Stand with Custom Features

Modular exhibition stands with custom features (6 x 6 / 9 x 6)
Modular exhibition stands with custom features (6 x 6 / 9 x 6)

Based on the same framework concept of the smaller stands, with a bit of extra budget, you can customise one of these stands specifically to your brand’s requirements. You can add custom frames to house large format, seamless fabric walls or custom features such as benches, shelving or showcases, demo areas or rigged banners. You can incorporate lightboxes or backlit sections or just include some ambient lighting effects. You can also upgrade materials to aluminium composite for example which will give your stand a high gloss, high impact finish.

Large Stand / Large budget – Custom Designed or Bespoke Exhibition Stands.

Large custom designed exhibition stands ( 9 x 12+)
Large custom designed exhibition stands ( 9 x 12+)

Custom or bespoke exhibition stands are one off, unique designs, purely with your brand and requirements in mind. They are structured to fit your specific event objectives. Options here are really only limited by budget…..and imagination. Like an architect designing your dream home, a good exhibition stand designer will meet with you, get to know you and your brand, be able to take your ideas, vision and specifications and create an original concept to suit. The outcome should be a space conducive to selling your specific product or showcasing your brand to its best potential.

Open Plan – Unlimited Budget!

OK – so we’re in dreamland now – this one doesn’t really exist, except in the minds of stand designers who would love the freedom to spend months designing their perfect exhibit using the most expensive materials, high-end finishes, unlimited graphic flexibility, all within a huge floor space!

No-one has a bottomless pit of money to spend on their exhibit, so just be sure you have determined what your main objectives for exhibiting are. Be realistic as to what you can get for your money – maybe a high-end finish on a smaller structure will communicate your brand message better than a huge floor space with not much to fill it. Decide where your money would be best spent.

*Of course, this is a very simplified guide and by no means exhaustive… There are many more variables such as venue, show type, location,  audience etc. which will influence what type of exhibition stand is best for you.

You can design a low budget custom stand or a more expensive modular stand depending on objectives. Talk to your exhibition stand designer, or call us here at Exhibitionco on  02 9972 1900, about what your goals are and we can advise you what type of stand will best suit your individual needs.

Managing your trade show leads – (make sure you turn those leads into sales!)

Managing your trade show leads – (make sure you turn those leads into sales!)

Depending on the type and size of trade show you are attending, the amount of people you’ll meet over the 2 or 3 days of the event can often be overwhelming. Ultimately, as an exhibitor you are there to create sales for your business, but evaluating leads and separating them into categories such as hot, cold & …purely freebie hunting, can be a daunting and time consuming task. A good strategy, for collating leads from the outset, will save you time and help you focus on your most expedient leads successfully.

First up, you’ll need an effective and practical process in place for collecting and recording data at the show. If you generally use a CRM to manage your customers and sales leads on a day to day basis, set up a new category or project specifically for the one event. If you need to, you can simplify the process of adding leads to a spreadsheet or CRM by using lead retrieval technology. You can even get automated follow up services and lead evaluating software. We discussed a couple of these options on our article on AI (Plenty out there – just look up one which fits your needs best)

Try and create an interesting and engaging way for your visitors to relay their information to you. It might be one of the old faithfuls like a competition barrel, a social media platform or a touch screen. But with the advancements in technology, companies are becoming much more creative in this area and we have even seen robots greeting visitors and collecting data from passers-by. Obviously it will all depend on your budget as to how far you can go with it – but try and be a little bit creative and include some form of interaction if possible. It will get you remembered.

As well as purely collecting lead data, you will need to assess it; Hot leads / cold leads / luke-warm leads, etc. Decide how many categories you think you might need and sort your prospects accordingly. When adding names, addresses and emails etc. – also add notes when you get time, specifying any interaction you may have had.

Tip: When chatting with prospects, try and throw in something personal like asking after their kids, or favourite holiday spots, sports …..anything of any mutual interest which might flow easily into the conversation. Make a note of it, then when you come to follow up, you can re-engage by asking after their holiday, or “How did Johhny go with his football game at the weekend?”,  etc. – it’s a really great way for you to remember someone and it will make them feel they weren’t just one of the crowd.

If you’re dealing with a red-hot lead at the show and you don’t have your own meeting room space, suggest moving your conversation to a nearby café or restaurant. Trade shows are noisy environments that are not always conducive to discussing business. Leave your staff manning the stand and take your prospect for lunch or a drink nearby to close the deal.

Another tip is to remember that trade shows are as much about networking as selling. Liaise with other exhibitors and don’t be afraid to swap leads if you think they could service your prospect better. Potential customers will be impressed that you have their best interests at heart and what you may lose in this transaction, you may gain back in future business. You might also acquire some otherwise overlooked leads in return. Visitors who stop by your stand maybe better suited to a competitor, and vice-versa.

After the show, don’t waste any time – follow up with your warmest leads ASAP!  Then you can work through your list to the leads that may require more extensive pre-selling. Cool or lukewarm leads can be followed up using social media. LinkedIn InMail (a premium mail service from LinkedIn) is one of the best ways to get back in touch with prospects that you spoke to during the event.

If, after a couple of months, they’re still not ready to seal the deal, ask if you can add them to your email list and send them information about your company from time to time. When it comes time for them to buy – hopefully you will be top of mind.

Give yourself a set amount of time after the event and collate all the information you have. Make sure you review your original goals you set for yourself. Check the number of quality leads you generated against the amount of money spent. Track any leads which turned into sales and include in your overall evaluation. By tracking your ROI in this way, you can budget accordingly for your next event.

Attract more visitors to your exhibit by ‘borrowing’ some tricks from the retail big brands

Attract more visitors to your exhibit by ‘borrowing’ some tricks from the retail big brands

Sony Store in Christchurch, NZ – by Exhibitionco

The tricks employed to get your brand noticed and remembered ahead of your competition is not that different across the retail and exhibiting environments. Whether you are in a shopping centre, at a trade show or even browsing on-line, the ‘hooks’ to get you interested and engaged with a product or brand work pretty much the same in every environment.

It’s really all just psychological mind games. Brand marketers are trying to make consumers react, think and respond in a certain way. When done well, this kind of ‘mind manipulation’ can be hugely effective and create brand loyalty for life. ( ….of course, on the flip side, a badly thought out campaign can be disastrous!)

The aim of the game is to make a person think a certain way without letting them know they have been manipulated. The larger players in the brand marketplace have always played with our subconscious using subliminal messages in their advertising. Ideally, they want to get to the stage where senses and reactions are triggered by the simplest of symbols and signs. A logo or icon for instance, which creates, not only instant recognition, but evokes positive emotions. This method of advertising relies on the theory that most of the decisions we make are subconscious. Subliminal messages draw attention to displays without shouting about the brands …and more importantly without having to shout about the brands.

Brands and stores want to turn shopping into an immersive and feel-good experience. After all, they’re competing with on-line shopping in the comfort of your own home. It’s no longer just about affordability and applicability, it’s about identifying and aligning oneself with a certain perceived image or ideal.

A huge trend at the moment is personalisation – think Vegemite, Nutella or Coca Cola. Allowing people to own their very own version of something has been an inspired idea. Even if just temporarily – it makes a person feel more connected to the brand if it has their name on it.

Another trend we’re beginning to see more often in advertising is the use of technology such as holograms. Made famous in the “Back to the Future” franchise – it is now becoming a reality. Nescafe recently used hologram technology to showcase the ‘modern art’ of making coffee. Throw in a smell of freshly made coffee and it’s pretty hard to ignore!

Other in-store gimmicks include vibration-activated shelf lighting which is turned on when a product is picked up.

Large grocery chains have experimented with romantic mood lighting and even varying temperatures to entice shoppers.

So what does all of this have to do with exhibiting at trade shows?

The point is we can borrow and steal some of these ideas:

  • Personalise your giveaways. Something as simple as a pen or glass with a quick engraving would be easy to achieve. It feels more like a personal gift than just a generic giveaway, and people will be more likely to remember where they got it.
  • Shelving or displays which react when a product is lifted will engage your audience, creating an interaction between product and customer.
  • Keep graphics simple. Use subtle, subliminal messaging rather than shouting about your products with over-the-top signage.
  • Use back-lit graphics or displays for highlighting a product or message.
  • Engaging all the senses including smell and taste if / where possible is always a great way to attract passersby.
  • Use of lighting to create a certain mood and evoke emotions is a crucial part of a well-designed exhibition stand.
  • Holograms are becoming much more common in the display business and there are many companies in every city supplying a service to create holograms for brand logos or products or even people.

Next time you’re out shopping, have a look around at what the big brands are doing; see what draws attention, what showcases a product well. Look at lighting, shelving, advertising – and don’t be afraid to ‘borrow’ some ideas which could enhance your exhibition stand at your next trade show.

Or, as always, give us a call on  02 9972 1900 and challenge our creative team to come up with some great ideas for your next exhibition stand.

Why Staff will Make or Break Your Trade Show Success

Why Staff will Make or Break Your Trade Show Success

The one thing attracting businesses to exhibiting at trade shows is the opportunity to meet your prospects and customers face to face (… fast becoming a rarity with everyone using on-line sales and marketing platforms). This being the case, it is imperative that any person representing your business at the 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 …even during break times. On the trade show floor they are your most valuable marketing tool. They need to be well 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’s entirely probable that this will not fit with the natural personality traits 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 even 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 and, just as importantly, with each other.

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 better than nothing. It makes it easier for visitors to connect your staff with your stand and will augment their overall opinion of your brand.

Knowledge of your products, prices, specials, and particularly your goals for the event are an absolute must for all staff members. These are the people your prospective customers will be connecting 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, it won’t make sales on its own. You won’t make any new customers without the personal touch.

Make staffing a priority from the offset and include a staff training budget as part of your overall exhibiting plan.

Floors for Thought – Don’t ignore this valuable asset!

Floors for Thought – Don’t ignore this valuable asset!

Regardless of the size of your exhibition space – there may be one very important and easily adaptable area which you are overlooking… Flooring!

It doesn’t always get the same consideration as the walls or furniture or lighting. Often flooring is assumed to be a fairly un-influential element of your exhibition stand which just gets walked on and doesn’t get noticed all that much.

The reality is that flooring is the only exhibition element that covers every inch of your space. Your floor area is a blank canvas offering up plenty of opportunities to enhance your branding message. It can provide critical aesthetic impact, plus it can have a positive influence on the volume of traffic drawn onto your space.

Graphics added to flooring can offer that little bit extra whether your intent is to add branding, ambience, flair or impact.

In the hustle and bustle of a busy exhibition hall, it’s often difficult to envisage exactly how your brand is going to stand out but, when done correctly, your little piece of flooring can get you noticed for all the right reasons – it can draw people into your space and provide an overall experience and visual representation of your products and brand. It can be the “face lift’ your space needs – It will create mood and ambiance and it will elevate your exhibition space to the next level.

It doesn’t need to be expensive either. Perhaps you already have a pre-existing floor that is looking tired and worn – could it use a good clean, or a bit of a lick and a polish? Does it need to be updated or renewed? There are things you can do on a basic level that will convey the right message about your company and won’t cost the earth.

Let’s say that you hire your carpet tiles – perhaps consider replacing some of those tiles with branded tiles (that you can keep and reuse). Simply using different colour floor tiles to break up the space to make it appear bigger will work in the right situation. In some cases you could consider mimicking the aisle carpet tiles which creates a seamless space for attendees to “cross over into” – and voila, you have instantly made more of an impact.

Raised laminated floor (which can be rented or owned) can have removable graphics applied. You can tie in the floor to walls and even continue the same image across both planes. This will increase the overall visual impact tenfold and draw and direct the eye of the audience. Non – slip graphic materials are becoming cheaper and more varied all the time so it won’t cost the earth to achieve an effect like this.

Floors for thought
Floors for thought

Designers know that flooring is a very important part of the overall impact of your stand and they will put a lot of thought into this element of the design. If you are looking for a sleek and modern look a black floor can provide a good looking backdrop to your display. Accents of added colour and light can highlight and bring focus to products on display.

Asgard at FPA
Asgard at FPA

If you don’t want to go as far as graphic flooring, there are many creative floor options to consider, depending on your budget and requirements, from artificial turf through to interlocking rubber tiles, vinyl and timber flooring to LED lights either under, in or around the floor space to give it a “floating” feeling.

Naturally there are both benefits and significant pitfalls to keep in mind when choosing trade show event flooring – and if you are going to get noticed due to your floor – pause for thought and make sure you get noticed for the right reason.