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Exhibition stand design and location - what really matters?

Published: 9 April 2018
Exhibition stand design and location - what really matters?

Booking a stand at a trade show or other event is a great way to generate high quality leads, promote your brand and close sales. But like many things in life, winning the exhibition stand game comes to good looks, and being in the right place at the right time.

In other words, thinking smartly about your exhibition stand design and location.

An 8-point checklist for your stand design and location

Before you get started, it's incredibly important to:

  • have a clear goal i.e. why are we at this event and what do we want to achieve?
  • know your audience i.e. why are they at this event and what do they want to achieve?

Without a good understanding of each, everything you do is a guesstimate and that rarely leads to success. So, invest in a bit of homework at the start and you'll be re3warded with more fruit at the end.

Exhibition stand location tips

Let's start with where you position your exhibition stand. Because even the most eye-catching display can't work it's magic if no-one sees it.

Get a floor plan before you start

Ask for a floor plan of the exhibition centre and the sizes and shapes of the spaces available. This is important because either:

  • your existing stand has to fit into spaces.
  • you'll need to choose how big, and what shape, your stand will be (for the designer and to fit your budget)

If possible, get floor plans from previous years. These can reveal any patterns such as industry groupings and placement of refreshment areas so you can plan your stand to get maximum traffic.

Choose side, corner or island position

Almost all venues offer you the option of placing your stand at the side, on a corner or on the island in the centre of the venue. All these locations come with their own sets of pros and cons:

  • Side - easy to design a reusable stand. However, not as noticeable as corners or islands and views could be impaired by other stands. Usually the cheapest option.
     
  • Corner - usually deliver a greater footfall as people pause along the corner. However, in very busy exhibitions, corner stands can be missed behind the hoards.
     
  • Island - Being in the middle of the venue definitely puts you in the centre of attention and surrounded by potential customers. You still need to anticipate the main entry point so your branding and greeting are easy to see. As expected, usually the most expensive option.

Choose your neighbours carefully

If you book a stand early, you may not know all the businesses that are going to be close by.  However, neighbouring stands can have an impact on your own success. Three things to consider about the company you keep:

  • Industry 'swamp' - If everyone belongs to the same industry, people may lose interest in, or not notice everyone due to the similarity of offers and messages.
     
  • Industry leaders - while too much of the same isn't a good thing, sitting near an industry leader, can attract a crowd to your exhibition stand too. It can subtly create an impression in people's minds that you are somehow linked.
     
  • Complementary neighbours - being near or next to a complementary stand e.g. a caterer and a venue, daybed importer and a pool company, provides added value to visitors while helping both businesses gain unexpected leads and referrals.

Exhibition design tips

Keep it simple

When you have a blank canvas to paint on and know the competition for attention will be fierce it's easy to go over the top with your design.

People are on the move so it's important to stand out. But it's just as important that they can make out what you do and have a reason to come say hello in a matter of seconds while on the move.

So have a clear, simple message and an approachable, inviting design. Overloading your stand with too many messages and garish colours and 'bells n whistles' is likely to turn people off.

Make sure your brand and messages are visible from everywhere

Align your stand colours and promotional material with your branding. The stronger the consistent theme, the more memorable it remains.

Place your main marketing message in top third of the exhibition stand so it's clear and easy to read from close and far away.

Choose the right portable display options

Make life easy for yourself and take advantage of modern exhibition display options such as pop up displays, roller banners, panels, printed tablecloths and racks.

They're incredibly versatile and cost-effective because of the range of sizes and configurations. Plus, they are quick and easy to assemble, dismantle, transport and store.

If you're on a roadshow visiting a number of places this can save you a lot of time, effort and chiropractic visits.

Modular displays are also worth considering if you want to change the look as an event progresses or for different events over time - without having to buy a whole new display or scheme.

Make the most of height and light

Take advantage of the maximum height allowance for the venue. Like tall people in a crowd, you will be noticed. Hang structures so you are visible above the competition, even from afar.

Use tasteful lighting to add to the effect (but not OTT, as discussed above). It will highlight your brand and marketing messages and get you noticed in the frenzy of activity.

Use quality images

Pictures tell a thousand words in a 60,000 of the time it takes us to tell a story in text. That makes them perfect for exhibitions where hot prospects are on the move in search of something eye-catching.

Always use high quality and resolution images that are relevant to your message and brand. If the quality isn't good, the pictures will look grainy and unattractive when blow up or backlit.

Appeal to more senses with audio visual

There's a reason:

  • more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day
  • social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.

Humans love moving pictures with sound.

You can add some audio-video phenomenon to your display to draw people in, get your message across and keep them hanging around.

Set up a touch screen to offer an interactive section. Even an iPad can provide access to a wide variety of information through videos, images, and websites.

Video makes a great compliment to more detailed information in brochures and flyers that leads can take away.

Consider professional exhibition stand design help

First impressions are so important in any form of marketing. But when you're investing in an exhibition stand where you have a day or two to capture high quality leads, you can't afford to get your design wrong.

Enlisting the help of someone that specialises in display stand design and printing means you will have a promotional tool that attracts more of the right people.

And allows you and your team to focus on getting your messages, pitch, materials and presentation right in time for show time.
Author: Snap Franchising Ltd

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