Having worked in event management and exhibitions for almost a decade, I’ve learnt about exhibiting over the years, points that are as relevant to familiar brands as they are to a new, start-up business exhibiting at a small local event. Taking a stand at an exhibition is a great way for a company to wave their flag, promote itself and gain new customers – but the basics need to be put in place.
Some stands I’ve seen over the years stick in my mind – In terms of attempts to attract and engage passers-by, I’ve seen everything from 1970s lounges, The Stig, Scalextric, jugglers, magicians, caricaturists, barrels of Harveys, bouncing tennis balls into a toilet – the lot.
But I’ve also seen my fair share of generic, insipid stands that fail to inspire and draw visitors in, often because there’s been little planning and there is an assumption that a banner, a couple of chairs and a table with a few leaflets scattered on it, is enough to get through the day.
Your stand – the way it’s set out and what’s on it – is critical in making a first impression that determines whether visitors want to talk to you or not, so give your messaging some clear thought. The message should tell visitors in an instance what it is you do and how you can be of help to them. It’s called a stand for a reason.
Now, I know exhibitions can be tiring but sitting down does not show you in a good light. Staff sat down on a stand just looks wrong and it really puts people off coming onto the stand. If you really have to (on the stand), then make sure your stand is designed so you can sit on bar stools, rather than anything at normal ‘chair’ height. If you’re sat down, the unconscious message you’re sending to prospects is that they have to disturb you to speak to you. So they probably won’t bother!