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EXHIBITING - June 2011 www.exhibitingmagazine.co.uk13cover storyBeauty is in the eye of the beholder, or for this feature on exhibition stand design maybe it should be in the eye of the show visitor?Standing out from your competitors at a show of either 12 or 1,200 exhibitors is an essential key to unlocking the padlock on visitorsÕ hearts and potential spend. Your stand is typically the fi rst thing a visitor notices about your company at a show.Is yours working as hard and as smart as it could be?Wide-eyed and agogMany stand design and build suppliers agree the best way to obtain insight on your exhibition stand is still the simplest; gather feedback directly from the show fl oor.ÒIÕve found canvassing opinion from visitors you speak to a good way of receiving honest feedback,Ó said senior designer at Mayridge, Alison Perry. ÒArmed with the right questions and noting down the feedback will give you post-event answers on how to approach the project at your next show.ÓSome suppliers also work off the ÔStop and StareÕ method. Phil Baker, creative director at Melville Teamwork, said a good indication of a working stand is if visitors physically stop to admire it: ÒWe all eat with our eyes, especially in busy environments. If a stand makes people stop in their tracks, you are generally onto a winner.ÓAll well and good so far, but an exhibition presence shouldnÕt be viewed as a Ôone offÕ marketing promotion. If it is to be part of a yearly strategy to win new business or start new relationships, how can the stand be an integral part of that process?ÒI feel you can only truly measure the impact of a stand if you have something to measure it against,Ó said 4D Design and Display MD, Pete Allen. ÒKeep past measurements and combine those with your knowledge of the venue landscape to give you a solid starting block to build from.ÓAllen also recommends understanding the changing trends that your visitors may have experienced, especially if a show runs only once a year: ÒIf you understand your audience intimately, you can craft your stand to something that should appeal to a big portion of them.ÓDon't get technical with meWith the focus on technology seemingly more apparent in this day and age, is there still space for a stand that doesnÕt contain some kind of Bluetooth messaging service or 100-inch plasma screen? Many suppliers seem to think there is.ÒMany companies seem to be looking for three key things when planning their exhibition presence,Ó said business development manager of 2Heads, Steve Gibson. ÒThese are consistent brand image, value and being as ÔgreenÕ as possible.ÓÒSustainability is at the top of a lot of our clientÕs lists,Ó agreed Elevations MD, Mark Thomason, who added that more companies are exchanging hard copy literature onto memory sticks as one way to help Mather Nature.ÒExhibitors should seriously think about using hardware and structures that are reusable,Ó continued sales director of Sovereign Exhibitions, Andy Hickinbotham. ÒEven if it initially costs a bit more to implement, it can help shorten the design process the next time around and aid brand consistency.ÓThere are now a multitude of suppliers offering the latest in sustainable pop up banners, graphic displays and low-energy electrical products, and most contractors would be happy to source these for you if asked. However, if you do need to change your stand each time you exhibit, just be aware you donÕt fall pray to current trends or gimmicks.ÒRemember that todayÕs fashion is tomorrowÕs wallpaper. Trends in colour and shape are less important than the overall environment, especially one with simple, clear messaging,Ó added Allen.Exhibition stands have the power to instantly project brand messages"Trends in colour and shape are less important than the overall environment, especially one with simple, clear messaging" - Pete Allen

14 www.exhibitingmagazine.co.uk June 2011 - EXHIBITINGcover storyAny savvy supplier should tell you a successful exhibition presence stems from having intelligent and engaging staff that the stand houses. ÒThis is true, and a large stand should try and have one dedicated space for private meetings,Ó added Perry. "Heroes in a shell scheme"What about those of you who love to exhibit, but canÕt afford to order a custom-built stand or purchase 1,000sqm of floor space? Fear not because, as we are all told to believe, small is beautiful.ÒDonÕt be frightened of changing the basic package you get from your organiser,Ó said MD of Clements and Street, Denis Quinn. ÒAlthough this may add to your bottom line, altering things like carpet colour, interior wall linings, furniture or floral displays can streamline your small space into a real Ôon brandÕ area and increase the overall return on investment (ROI) post-event.ÓÒI would encourage shell scheme exhibitors to look at the use of lighting to help stand out from the crowd,Ó added Baker. ÒGood lighting can transform a shell scheme and help it stand out from its neighbours.ÓAnd it seems lighting companies are expanding their product offerings to the event sector, as demonstrated on page eight of this monthÕs issue, so shopping around is encouraged.But the overarching rule for shell scheme exhibitors to heed is to keep it simple. You donÕt have the room for massive banners or huge space for product display, so keep your messaging clear and bold with no clutter taking up valuable room.ÒAlso, if it is possible, try and ask your organiser for a position on the corner of an aisle,Ó said Thomason. ÒHaving two sides of your stand open on separate aisles can increase the chances of visitor interaction.ÓBreaking it downAbove all else, you are reminded to keep individuality at the forefront of your exhibition presence, but not at the expense of your objectives.ÒYou donÕt have to be too conservative though. For example, so many exhibitors serve coffee or sweets despite the venue having food outlets, so why donÕt you offer a fresher hospitality concept,Ó said account director at Sharman Shaw, Simon Jones. An effective stand design should express your brand seamlessly and aid in achieving your objectives. It shouldnÕt matter if your stand is tall, long, in the centre of the venue or taking advantage of new technologies; if you fill it with the right personnel and have a clear working relationship with your supplier, it can help you reap the rewards that exhibiting can offer.Take a seat: even shell scheme stands can look impressive on a budgetTop 5 supplier tipsÒMake access onto the stand easy by not putting up barriersÓ Mark ThomasonÒUnderstand your own brand so that your stand can reflect it and aid ROI" Alison PerryÒKnow the exhibition target audience and align your messages and graphics accordinglyÓ Simon JonesÒDonÕt shoehorn elements into your stand for the sake of it. My favourite example of an element is a golf simulatorÓ Andy HickinbothamÒEnsure you have communication with your supplier throughout any design developmentÓ Denis Quinn12345