How to get the best from your exhibition stand contractor
If you have never exhibited or been involved in the design process for an exhibition then it can be a little daunting to know where to start.
The first step is always to find the right exhibition stand contractor. There are numerous companies out there from one-man-and-a-van, to large, multi-national exhibition companies. Visit their website, ask colleagues and friends for recommendations, but most importantly call or visit these contractors to really get a feel for how well you can work together. It’s important that you and your exhibition stand contractor are ‘on the same page’ from the outset and you need to trust that they can deliver a quality result, on time, on budget.
We’ve put together a simple, helpful guide below, to help you get the best from your exhibition stand contractor.
1) Tell them about your Company
Let your exhibition stand contractor know as much as you can about your company. Some details may seem irrelevant, but in order to build up a full picture, let them know everything. From when the business began to the modern day company ethos. Things like size of business, markets, competitors, USPs, specialities and more are all essential to help a designer understand where you have come from and where you want to go.
Think of your company as an individual person. What are they like – are they friendly, chatty and colourful or more reserved, technical and to the point? This will help you, and your stand contractor, to visualise how your company should ideally be portrayed to visitors.
2) Know your Target Audience
Who are your target audience? Any good exhibition stand contractor will be able to provide advice on increasing footfall to your stand and retaining these visitors where you want them – you want people to feel welcome and engaged while on your stand – not trapped and overwhelmed! Working in partnership with your contractor will always get the best result. You know your company and markets, they know exhibition design and strategy. A match made in heaven!
3) The purpose of exhibiting
It may sounds like a strange question, but it’s an obvious one! What is it you are hoping to achieve by exhibiting? Is it to promote the company, a specific message or new product or do you want to increase sales or acquire new leads?
Having this set-out will help your stand designer to understand what you need to achieve and they can provide ways (and guidance!) on the best way to do this.
4) Specific stand requirements
What stand space have you booked with the organisers? What size do you have, is it an island stand, open on one side or more? have you checked the visitor flow from the floor plan – it can be beneficial to see what/who else is around you and where visitors are likely to flow from and to – you can then arrange your stand to get the most impact.
Linked to point 3 above, when you know what you would like to achieve from exhibiting, and you’ve discussed with your stand designer, then you’ll know more about what you would like on the stand to help achieve this. Options include a meeting area, private room, storage, refrigeration, product showcases, AV equipment, feature lighting and more. Again, any good stand designer can offer advice and ideas to help make this workable and fit your budget.
It’s better to appoint an exhibition stand contractor as soon as you can. This allows enough time to discuss everything above and for them to workup a proposed stand visual. You also need to let your stand contractor know about all deadlines for plan submissions, electric orders etc. If you have a copy of the exhibitor manual then it’s often useful to pass this to your stand contractor. The earlier you start the process the easier it will be – we all know how a deadline 12 months away suddenly creeps up on us and unfortunately, we’re yet to find an exhibition organiser that would delay opening just for you!
6) Additional Exhibiting Tips
Don’t forget that once you have booked your stand space, you’ll need to implement a strategy to promote your attendance at that exhibition.
A well designed stand can draw in passing visitors once they are at the event, but help by getting visitors there in the first place. You may have a beautiful, well designed stand space, but without visitors it doesn’t mean much! Let all your existing and potential customers know you are going – try mailshots, e-shots, PR, online promotion, social media to name just a few and continue promoting right up to and during the event.
Offer incentives to encourage visitors. Can you offer discounts on products or orders placed at the show? Provide free tea and coffee in exchange for a completed feedback form (data capture) or add a bit of fun with a ‘play zone’ (not necessarily just for kids!) where your team and clients can relax and mingle without feeling pressured. Some of the busiest stands we’ve seen have included interactive elements and games – life doesn’t have to be dull – just make sure it’s appropriate to your company and clients!
You also want to be remembered after they have left your stand. Offer giveaways but make them useful or memorable.
A bright branded bag can be useful for carrying literature on the day, and this will travel around the venue with them – a walking advert encouraging more visitors! (so try and include a stand number on it too if you can!)
Giveaways that have life beyond the exhibition are also great, who doesn’t love a free pen! Again, just make sure these carry your company details (but concise and well branded!) and reflect your company and message.
Once the exhibition is over, take a moment to assess. What went well, what didn’t and what you would change for next time. It’s amazing how quickly you can get bogged down in the next marketing drive and forget this one!
Organise a debrief meeting with your stand contractor to discuss any points raised ready for the next event and also to sort out final logistics for the return of any stock or equipment back to you.
At RDW Exhibitions we offer complete exhibition solutions. From taking briefs and initial 3D visual designs, to manufacture, install and storage of equipment after the event. Don’t forget to ask us to quote for your next project!
If you wish to discuss exhibition stand design for your next event then please call us on 01939 260350.
Want to know how your custom exhibition stand will look from the get-go? We use 3D CAD software to provide you with a working visual of your display before a panel has even been lifted.
Don’t be afraid to ask what we can create. It all starts with an idea.
CALL 01939 260 350