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10 June 2011 - EXHIBITINGthe exhibiting guruBreaking new groundExhibiting trainer John Blaskey shows us how a new brand penetrated the UK drinks market.could generate interest; that much was clear. This was to come in handy at IFE, where Istak only took a stand measuring 2sqm by 2sqm. During the planning process, objectives were set and it was decided that Istak should try to generate somewhere in the order of 250 leads from those interested in buying its products.Don't do the obviousMost of you may have thought the obvious thing to do to attract visitors to Istak wouldÕve been to hand out copious amounts of free samples. That would have been missing the point however, because this was a serious business proposition.Istak was looking for stockists and distributors for its range of 10 different non-alcoholic beverages. The theme and slogan of the stand for the three days at IFE was: ÒHushhhhh! Looking for a new profit source? Istak". We had boxes, cans and bottles of the product displayed with dummy cash emerging from every angle.So, instead of attracting visitors looking for a free sample, we aimed Istak to interest retailers, wholesalers, restaurants and so on, who were looking for a new source of profit. Nazari decided to hire a professional ÔspotterÕ to work on the stand to also approach visitors and generate interest.Cheers!As well as a substantial amount of market intelligence gathered in line with the objectives set by Istak, the stand generated over 260 enquiries. Some of these have already yielded appointments to potentially take the business proposition forward.The challenge now is to follow all these leads through and turn the £6,000 exhibiting investment into hundreds of thousands of pounds of promised business. But as Nazari said: ÒThe pre-plan strategy and cash source hook meant our exhibiting presence was well worthwhile, and the pro-active spotter made all the difference."Istak found the right platform to launch into the UK by making sure it was fully prepared to engage IFE visitors in a streamlined way. Should you be doing the same thing?efore the doors opened to the International Food Event 2011 (IFE), I was charged by organiser Fresh RM to present an exhibiting training class. In the audience were a number of both new and experienced exhibitors who wanted to learn how to get a great result from IFE.Among them was Roonak Nazari who, together with her husband Arash Nikjoo, had recently secured the UK licence to import non-alcoholic malt beverage brand Istak.This range of drinks is a global brand and highly applicable to certain ethnic markets to who alcohol is forbidden, and is well known in the Middle East and Malaysia.Being braveNazari and Nikjoo are young entrepreneurs, but have not run a business in the UK, where they originally met at Newcastle University. They needed support and openly admitted this to me at the IFE gathering.We had a couple of meetings in their hometown of Manchester and we met in restaurants where Nazari and Nikjoo introduced Istak to managers if the opportunity arose. On one occasion, the proprietor of Aladdin in Didsbury ordered 21 cases there and then!So the product is attractive and Istak: splashing the cash at IFE 2011BArash Nikjoo on the IFE floor

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