There are hundreds of potential reasons why you might be considering running with a business exhibition stand. However, almost everybody that makes the decision to rent or buy an exhibition stand has one thing in common; they view it as an investment.
As with any business idea or investment, decisions shouldn’t be taken lightly. Work should be put into specifying a target audience and an end goal, otherwise there is going to be a very low return on investment. But if that is such a commonly known fact, then why do so many people jump two-footed into exhibitions stands without a clear game plan?
If you want to run a successful business exhibition stand then you need to be able to think of the design as one of the integral parts. It won’t just be one of the most important factors for drawing in potential customers but, it will be one of the big reasons they decide to stay or leave.
If you want your pitch to be a success then the following 5 rules are essential guidelines for ensuring that your exhibition stands design is an asset, rather than a liability.
What’s the purpose of your stand?
So as we previously established, you’re probably moving forward with the choice to run an exhibition stand because you see it as an investment opportunity. Perhaps you want to raise brand awareness, sell a product or simply you aim to inspire others to change their behaviors and choices. Whatever the purpose behind your exhibition stand, you need to understand what it is and strategies around it.
For example, if you are advertising a product that you believe is the solution to an everyday problem, your approach should be slightly different from that of an exhibitor trying to inform people about a service.
While both these things might be business related and have a number of similar aspects, the end goal differs just enough for it to have a significant impact on how you should be designing your stand.
A company looking to inform people about its service might use the help of an informative flyer and the opportunity to discuss things with an industry expert. On the other hand, a product designed to solve problems is more likely to benefit from a hands-on display that allows visitors to the stand to try the product first hand.
Do Your Research
‘Failure to prepare is preparing to fail’
This is a big one, so it’s going to count for two different points and you’ll see why. There are a huge number of questions that you should be asking yourself prior to designing your exhibition stand. The following are all good examples of different ways you could be doing research prior to designing your exhibition stand.
What kind of Exhibition is it?
What kind of people are going to be there viewing your stand? Is there a specific theme to the exhibition that you should take into consideration?
Make sure that understand the demographic that you will be tailoring the design of your exhibition stand for. Then try to think outside the box but, not too much.
For example, if you are at a highly professional insurance exhibition you are going to want to take an approach that fits an appropriate theme but, you still want to stand out. If you can find something that is interactive or eye-catching without getting childish or seeming amateurish, then go for it! Just don’t do it with the entirety of your design, just pick one element that you want to make an impression with.
What Kind of Company are you?
Designing your exhibition stand while keeping in mind what kind of company you are, is fairly similar to the above point that explores exhibition types.
Understanding what type of company you are is probably a really basic thought process that many people will have gone through or thought about prior to reading this article. However, it’s one of those things that has to be covered because if you get this bit wrong, you will have entirely wasted all of your company’s time and resources.
If you are a toy company, even if you are pitching in a professional environment, having a slightly more colourful theme with additional interactive features is perfectly acceptable. It fits with your companies’ profile. However, if you are running a stand on behalf of an international law firm, this isn’t going to go down so well.
These examples are extreme but, hopefully, it gets the point across. Make sure your design theme fits with your company and is consistent with the brand you are representing. If it isn’t, you will give off an immediate air of incompetence and inability to understand target markets. Nothing is more off-putting in any business than unprofessionalism formed through lack of research and consistency.
Have any of your competitors attended this exhibition before? If so, is there anything they did with their stand that you can learn from?
Whenever you are doing any form of market research, one of the best places to start is by analyzing the competition and designing an exhibition stand is no different. Take a look at what people are currently using in your industry or similar fields, analyze what is working, what isn’t and what ideas you can implement into your own stand.
There are a number of different companies that even offer online galleries or examples of exhibition display stands. Take a look around and see if there is anything that sparks your own imagination.
What’s the room like that you’ll be working in?
Normally the strongest position is in the center of the exhibition but, this can depend on a few different things such as where the toilets are. It might sound crazy but, if you have an eye-catching stand people on their way out will spot you and you could attract additional customers to engage with as they wait for their friends.
Consider Your Budget
& re-use stuff
Exhibition stands are expensive. It’s fine if you’re a big company with a huge marketing budget to burn but, many organizations don’t have this luxury. That’s why you need to think about how many times you could potentially be reusing your stands design.
If it’s just a one-off thing and you don’t have a huge budget, it might be a good idea to simply hire one out with a pre-made design. These designs are reasonably effective, and you can certainly get your moneys worth, just don’t expect to be the number 1 exhibition there.
If however you do have a big budget and plan on doing a few different venues, then splashing the cash isn’t always a bad investment. You can even take it a bit further and hire in some interactive technology. Just keep in mind, that if a stand is successful then you don’t have to be afraid of re-using it.
Pick the right team members
Jimmy might be amazing with numbers, but his social skills are somewhere between non-existent and that of an angry Charles Bronson. Jimmy loves being confrontational and can become rude or aggressive when someone disagrees with him. What do you do with Jimmy? You leave him at the office.
It might not fit directly with the concept of ‘exhibition design’ but the team you bring to present your service or product are one of the most important aspects.
You need individuals who are confident and are well equipped to answering direct or even complicated questions regarding your work. If they aren’t helping your cause, they are probably damaging it. Finding the right employees to represent your brand can be difficult but, it’s probably one of the biggest factors as to whether stand visitors will stick around for long or even remember your company.
Keep it Simple
Ever seen a TV advert, looked at a website or a flyer and thought ‘this looks cool, but I have no idea what this company actually does. If people have to stop and to try and work out what your company is all about, you’re doing it wrong.
Some of the best techniques are all about making things that are complex easy to understand. Don’t assume that just because everyone attending the exhibition is from your niche they’ll understand all the common industry slang and references. Yet. you don’t want to treat everyone as an idiot either, nobody likes to feel patronised, it is important to try to reach a happy medium with your use of language.
For example, let’s say you’re a cybersecurity company, the following text on your exhibition stands backboard might be off-putting:
- “Expert solutions in preventing SQL Injection, Brute force, and DDOS attacks.’
Instead, try something like:
- ‘Expert Cybersecurity – Keeping your systems safe.’
By keeping it simple you open the door for anyone to potentially approach you and then you can get more technical if you need to, rather than limiting your visitors to people who have a strong knowledge of the industry already.
However, it’s not just the language that’s important, but the overall volume of words you place on your stand. Less is more. Put all your important information with strong details in a flyer you can give away.
That way you can treat your stand more like a newspaper headline, a tool to draw people in and grab attention. Something that tells them very quickly and easily who you are, what you do and what you have to offer them.