Exhibitions and trade shows – Tips by HOTT3D
Depending on your budget and needs your method of exhibiting yourself will vary…here are a few ways it can be done based on budget which, lets face it tends to supercede your needs most of the time.
1. If you are a really good salesperson – stand on a “soapbox” with a megaphone. This method will in fact work for any exhibitor who is supremely confident and can project confidence in their product. If you have the gift of the gab then you probably dont need to be standing on a soapbox in the first place…and if so you probably wouldnt be doing this for a living in any case
but, for most of the world the following will apply
2. Do-it-yourself display- determine what you need to do and create your own display. This may involve home timberwork/ steelwork/ printing or sourcing various display items on the cheap. Get those tools out, draw a sketch and google locally to find the cheapest possible methods of gathering your source material. Use whatever is stashed in that garden shed or workshop to hack a display together…that old black and white copier will come in handy. You may need quite a few staples or nails to hold it all together. Staple gun, wire, hammer and nails , exhibitors with more gear than you are all friends of this level of exhibitor. Duct tape in particular is your friend as is becoming very friendly with the neighbouring display owners around you. Whatever you do make damn sure you plan, double check and then triple check everything exactly (to the millimeter) including width, height and length of your space as well as exactly what you get with your stand space eg: electrics, carpets, lighting…
3. Portable displays – there are a huge variety of portable displays on the market that satisfy a wide range of needs. From bannerwall backdrops to banners that work in the wind to modular frame displays. Bannerwalls, rollups, magnetic popups, xframes, literature dispensers, modular floor systems, modular frame systems, telescopic banners, popup a frame, aluminium aframes, large format printing…effective branding is made of these. Portable displays are best suited to outdoor events such as golf days or sports events yet many can be usd indoors at congresses and exhibitions as an alternative to full-scale exhibition stands. Anyone can sell you a portable display, but will they advise you on whats best suited to your long-term needs! Remember price is not always the key factor here!!!
4. Modular “kit” exhibition stands – many exhibition companies out there offer a kit form of exhibit. You hire the structure and lighting and own the graphics. Most are constructed in a modular aluminum system such as octanorm which talkes inserted graphics. These exhibit companies make their money on repeat business and reuse of systems. The stand looks way better than a portable display, but will look similar to many other exhibits on the show. Cost effective and best suited to companies doing either one off shows with limited, yet appealing budget and want a “better than portable look” without breaking the bank. Many companies buy a system stand to be reused over and over again on multiple shows per year. By changing graphic content and layout, companies can achieve a very flexible approach to having to cover many shows per year. Modular stands can generally be rearranged or redesigned to alter their look and appeal.
5. Custom Exhibits – Designed out of either system or timber these are the business when it comes to individual branding that fully represents who you are. But be warned, it doesnt come cheap. By its nature a one off custom designed stand will cost far more per m2 than say a luxury house. It is designed and constructed in a very short time and the resources needed to achieve this means it is cost heavy. Stands can be small from a few square meters to huge monster double storey stands with features such as lounges, meeting rooms, bars and even restaurants. Beware of taking the cheapest quote and rather focus on whether the companies you are considering are spending time to get to get to know you, your brand and what you are offering. Do they understand your brand and are they putting the time in. Have they a proven track record and do they put pride in their work. Will you get there on the shows first morning to find your stand builder still cutting and sawing after having been awake for 2 straight days
so to analyse your needs
1. What is your realistic budget.
2. How important is it for you to “trump” your competitor rather than focusing on your product or brand. Generally its best to forget about your competitor.
3. How big or important is the exhibition/ conference/ trade show and does it warrant the spend relative to ROI
4. Choose a display company carefully and one thats understands yourself and your needs
5. Carefully analyse the various proposals received not only based on budget, but also by how best they serve you
6. Beware of going cheap. It may be better short term, but its always tragic when a display system disintegrates at the 2nd or 3rd show
7. Printing companies do not necessarily understand what is needed for exhibiting successfully.
8. Will the company chosen follow through
9. A lifetime guarantee does not mean it will last your lifetime!
10. How many shows a year do you need to use the equipment. A good supplier will advise whats best for you not them!