How to Design and Organise a Last-minute Exhibition Stand
Posted by Tom Oakes
Following last week’s announcements regarding the UK’s ability to reopen events, in all likelihood the exhibition and conference industry, trade shows and expos will not be reopening until Spring. It is therefore vital that you start to consider the implications to your marketing strategy for 2021 and how, in a pinch you can take full advantage of the benefits offered by exhibiting as soon as the opportunity arises.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail as the old adage goes and given the challenges the Coronavirus has posed there has never been a more true word spoken. We are all aware of the positive impact that exhibiting can have on your sales revenue, brand exposure and B2B meetings . Collaboration and the appetite and need to get in front of your customers and clients is going to be of a magnitude very few of us will have experienced before. The competition for space at shows will be fierce and being ready to book and confirm your attendance will be key to getting the best spot and maximizing the opportunities afforded you at any future trade show. So, here are our top tips for preparing your exhibition stand design ahead of time:
So, the show you were planning on attending has been postponed. What now? Firstly, when life gives you lemons it’s time to make lemonade. Any postponement to a show gives you ample time to plan and execute the best possible exhibition stand your budget can afford, not simply the best exhibition stand time afforded you. Now is not the time to stop those planning meetings, it is not the time to stop engaging with an exhibition stand designer, it’s not the time to stop thinking about how best to engage with your audience. Now is the time to double your efforts and ensure that when your show reopens you attend with the best possible engagement strategy, your best ideas and the best stand design.
There is no bigger currency at an exhibition or trade show than space. The bigger the space, the better the location ,the better your chances are of having a successful show, there is no avoiding that fact. However, being prepared to exhibit effectively on any size space in any location is key. You may not know your stand dimensions and floor plan confirmation may be on hold; however, that doesn’t mean your stand concept and engagement strategy can’t be ready and on-point. A great design can only work when delivered in conjunction with a great design concept and any designer worth their salt will be able to configure your concept and engagement strategy into any available space maximising your visibility and presence at the show.
Call in the experts. The best time to engage with an exhibition stand designer is yesterday. You wouldn’t design your home without an architect so why try to design a stand without first talking to an exhibition stand designer. By pulling on their expertise early you can use your time as efficiently as possible. They can advise you on the best, most cutting-edge design techniques and trends, the best way to maximise space and light on your stand, the best way to utilise and incorporate AV and technology. They can spark ideas, help you jump pit-falls and give you the best chance of avoiding the same old tired mistakes made by many in the “DIY” brigade.
All this spare time and how to utilise it – Research! There will be no excuse, on engaging with a designer to not be prepared with a plethora of images, mood boards, Pinterest pages and photos of stands you like, hate or are inspired by. Extend your search, find design trends in interior design, architecture, fashion that speaks to you, inspires you, colours, textures, materials. All these things help bring your personality and your brand’s personality to life and help any designer get a sense of who you are and what you would like to achieve.
More practically, what are the latest trends in tech and engagement, what are companies offering by way of stand attractions, AV etc. There are a number of blogs, show reviews and information from all sorts of industries and companies about what worked and didn’t work for them at their last show. One particular area is always coming up with new ideas for creating a buzz on your stand ……. Catering. Matcha tea anybody? Branded smoothies? Flavored popcorn machines?
Stay calm and carry on
The best piece of advice we can possibly give is to stay calm. This too shall pass and when it does the world will return to normal, opportunities to market and engage with your audience will present themselves again and as such, you should not be knocked off your creative path. The time afforded you now will be spent ten fold at your next show and maximising its value is key. So take breath, look around, have those planning meetings, engage with your designer, plan your launch, your client meetings, your stand engagement techniques and sales strategy and when the show you are planning to attend reopens… and it will reopen… you’ll be ready.