By Tom Oakes, Managing Director, Astro Exhibitions
Companies invest a lot of money to attend exhibitions, but it’s not often we see that investment reflected in a superior exhibition stand design. The temptation to minimise costs through use of shell-scheme packages means businesses are wasting the opportunity to maximise their ROI. Not only that, but they could be risking damaging their brand identity in front of potential customers.
Yet it’s easy to do better with your exhibition stand design, as long as you nail the basics. Here are 3 guaranteed ways to improve the end result:
#1: Identify yourself
Brand identity is everything when it comes to designing a successful stand. It’s not just about having a stand that fulfils a practical purpose at the exhibition, it needs to convey to attendees who you are, what you do, and what you stand for—all within the minutes (or seconds) you have their attention.
Unfortunately, few businesses have a good grasp of their own brand identity. Which means that before the design process begins, make sure you’ve asked these questions of yourselves and have at least a rough idea of the answers. You can then work with your designer to scratch the surface of further, to get to the heart of your brand and company values—and design your stand accordingly.
- It’s useful to have a think about your brand identity before approaching a designer. Having a set of brand guidelines will also be a big help to get everyone on the same page.
- Your designer should help you clarify the details, after which they can then design the look and feel of the stand—through pictures, words, colour and sound—to perfectly convey your values and messaging for everyone who sees you at the exhibition.
#2: Get to know your customers
Okay, so you might know who you are, but do you know anything about your customers? More importantly: what do you want them to think, feel or do when seeing and visiting your stand?
Understanding more about your potential customers will help you create an exhibition stand that not only attracts their attention but will also help you engage them in ways that will motivate them to purchase. Are these people who want to browse from a distance before engaging? In which case, video might be a great medium to draw them in. Or perhaps they’ll need an in-depth chat and one-to-one demo of your product? In which case you’ll need some private space away from the hordes to give them the focus they deserve.
What you know about your customers will influence every element of the stand, from the look to the functionality and more. So make sure you’ve done your research ahead of time for the best results.
- Look at web statistics and recorded feedback, talk to your frontline sales staff, maybe even run a survey or two. Build up a clear picture of what motivates your customers and you’ll be in a better position to design a stand that works perfectly for them.
#3: Think about your goals & how you’ll measure them
Attending an exhibition is a big investment. So creating a stand without first asking yourself what you want to achieve—and how you’ll measure that success—is a huge mistake.
It’s essential to have clear, measurable goals and stay focused on these throughout. The design process can seem long and difficult for clients at times, but you have to remember the bigger picture.
So, at every opportunity and with every decision that needs to be made, ask yourself if it will help you achieve your goals—whether this means more sales, new followers, or fresh leads.
Keeping your objectives in mind like this will not only make sure the design does the job, but will also help you avoid blowing the budget.
- Identify your goals from the beginning. Making them clear and measurable will help you stay on track and enable you to analyse how successful the stand was after the event.
- Don’t forget to think back to previous exhibitions to find out what worked and what didn’t, and use these measurements to help guide you.
And remember, don’t be afraid to talk to your stand designers
A lot of companies will simply hire an exhibition stand designer, tell them what they want to see (perhaps based on what they’ve seen elsewhere), and then expect them to create it—even if it isn’t right for their business or customers. To save hassle, a lot of designers may well go along with this and just get the job done without asking too many questions.
Yet exhibition stand designers need to be considered less like an outside hire to get the work done and more like taking on a business partner. Working with a professional team not only means you get the skills and experience to deliver a superior stand but also expert advice and a solid understanding of all those issues we’ve raised above—which will give the project the best chance of delivering what’s needed.
So don’t be afraid to talk to your design team. Give them the opportunity to give opinions on where your brief can be improved, perhaps even offer suggestions for where costs can be cut, and always be available to answer questions that will help guide their work. In the end, you’re guaranteed to attend the exhibition with the best stand possible.
Tom Oakes, Managing Director, Astro Exhibitions
Exhibition is truly in Toms Blood. Continuing a long family tradition Tom took the helm at Astro in 2017.
With a background in sales and marketing, Tom has taken his skills as a dedicated and passionate account manager and grown Astro’s direct client base over the last 2 years to include some of the world’s biggest brands including MSC, Dell and Royal Caribbean cruises. Tom’s drive to deliver the highest quality exhibition stand designs is key to Astro’s ongoing success and has turned Astro into one of the country’s most sought after end to end exhibition design and build contractors.