So you have decided to have a stand at an exhibition. What do you need to do to make it work for you?
At ShowOff Display, our logo is a peacock – and for good reason. We help clients strut their stuff and stand out from the crowd with eye-catching displays.
Here are some IDEAS to consider from our thirty years in the exhibition industry:
Infrastructure and Architecture (Growing and Preparing the Tail Feathers).
This is the framework or skeleton of the stand. You have booked the space, so now consider how best to use it. Think about visitor numbers. How many do you expect? Why do you want them to visit the stand?
What about the flow through for visitors – you don’t want too many people crowding into one area so no-one else can get past or get in to talk to your staff. Are you going to have shelving to display your product? What about a private area where you can do business? Are you going to have the equivalent of a reception desk? Do you want a double decker i.e. two floors with a hospitality area or a single tier?
Think too about where your competitors are placed, what other stands are around you and which are likely to be the busiest aisles – lunchtime queues and so on.
Dressing the Stand (Getting the Tail Feathers Ready for Display).
This is all about the design of your display, and it’s what will convey the image of your company. This includes everything from the overall impression of the stand from a distance as your visitors approach. What do you want the stand to say as visitors walk towards it? Is your company a traditional manufacturer, wanting to convey a professional but traditional image? Or do want to go for something more quirky and edgy with bright colours and neon lights? What will your stand staff wear? Again, what image are you trying to convey about your brand?
Visuals are very important. If you can reinforce your brand colours by using them on the stand in clever and inventive ways, then this reinforces your logo and overall brand in the minds of the visitors and makes you more memorable when they leave. An exhibition is probably one of the best opportunities you are going to get to display your company brand and image, so we would advise you not to take any shortcuts here.
Also think what additional fixtures and fittings will be needed? Should there be sofas or round tables and chairs? What about the lighting and choice of fabrics if this is relevant?
Engagement (Engaging with Potential Mates).
Before he puts on his fantastic display, the peacock goes through a ritual of dancing and strutting. What are you going to do on your stand pre show to engage with your audiences? Have you put a plan in place to contact the people you want to speak to before the show and set up meetings?
Exhibitors often forget to promote themselves outside the arena of the show itself. If you have a PR agency they should be letting people know you are going to the show and when you are at the show. Once the show is over why not do a blog about what you have achieved from being there.
From a customer point of view, how many have you contacted (and potential customers) to let them know you are going to be at the show? Make sure one of the staff on your stand is collecting names or business cards of visitors so you can follow these up afterwards.
Attracting Attention (Getting Ready to Show Off and Stand Out).
Think about how your products are displayed. Visitors will eventually get mind fog from a day at a show. How are you going to ensure they remember you once they get back to the office and back into the daily grind of work?
There are so many ways to attract people to your stand. We have worked with a company which set up a video screen and provided popcorn while visitors watched the film about their business. Is the film eye-catching enough? You want people to stand, watch and remember. What else can you do to grab attention?
What about giveaways? If you are going to have confectionery, then make sure it is the good stuff. That doesn’t mean expensive. It means sweets visitors will walk across the aisle to come and get. A bowl full of boiled sweets says…humbug. Too mean to spend money on anything better. Be bold and creative when it comes to giveaways. Doing something a little unusual will be memorable. Or perhaps make your giveaways really useful and functional. We’re not talking pens and branded sticky notepads here, by the way, although these can be useful too.
Shouting Out Loud (Strutting Your Stuff).
The peacock has a distinctive call and is good at attracting attention to his display. We’ve already talked about stand attractions in terms of everything from giveaways to video. Now think wider than that.
Do you have someone from your company giving a talk at the show? What can you do on the stand to let people know? Vice-versa – make sure your company spokesperson signposts listeners to your stand at the start, middle and end of his talk. After all, they do say that talk is cheap. But exhibiting at a show is definitely not.
After the show, continue to shout out loud. If you’ve won contracts during the show, then put this out to the media. Follow up on the Twitter and LinkedIn channels and talk about the show. Invite feedback about your stand.
Lastly what can you do to leave visitors wanting to know more? If you get that right – they’ll always call you back.
Lesley Russon, ShowOff Display