“Keep it simple – give your audience one thing to remember, not ten to forget”.
Simon Hallows, director at Parker Design, outlined some key exhibition design tips for marketers in a talk at ExCeL in London. He received an invite to share his expertise as part of an exhibitions training day organised by Smart Exhibiting.
For anyone considering exhibitions as part of their sales and marketing plans, Simon suggests you ask yourself three questions: Why? How? What?
1. Why am I exhibiting?
Am I trying to sell my product? Do I want to generate leads? Am I offering my services? Maybe I want to meet my customers? Is my ultimate goal to generate awareness? Do I want to collect data?
2. How are we going to achieve it?
By creating intrigue – exhibitors only have a second or two to capture the attention of their audience, so by creating intrigue, you’ll engage them even before they’ve set foot on your stand. Once you’ve attracted their interest, offer them the option to interact with the stand and your product. The experience is then guaranteed to be more memorable after visitors have walked away. When the show’s over, measure your ROI and gauge whether you should do it again.
3. What? (this is the practical stuff)
When you get to the ‘what’, start thinking about product demos and how your branding should be applied to the stand design. Also, consider if you’ll need storage. Will you be offering refreshments? Any AV elements? Do you need to include furniture? Do you want visitors to stay for a long time, or do you prefer a constant flow?
Now here’s the fun bit.
Once you can answer the three main questions, the fun starts and you’re ready to start looking at the design of your stand.
- Wherever possible, and if budget and time allows, work with an experienced exhibition designer – the value they add will be worth the investment.
- Keep your message simple and visible. Will visitors be able to tell at a glance exactly what you do?
- Think of the visitor journey and the flow around your stand. Will people know where to go and who to go to if they have a question?
- Make sure the design and layout are attractive but not intimidating, make people feel welcome.
- Remember to avoid barriers, and not just structural – sometimes those barriers can be human, in the form of an overly eager sales team!
Once your visitors are in, make sure they stay and engage.
One way to do this is by including interactive elements into your stand that also capture data.
If it’s relevant to your message or product, include games and challenges, and install a leader board – your audience is likely to be competitive and they’ll come back to your stand to see updated results and beat them if necessary. The experience, and your brand, will be sealed in their minds.
Location, location, location
Think of your location within the exhibition hall. There are no bad plots, just bad exhibition design. The stand we built for BrightHR proves it.
Size (and scale) may not matter
If you have the budget, go ahead and dominate the show, like we did for Sage with our double decker exhibition stand design.
Have your own seminar theatre and you’ll become the hub of the show.
But don’t worry if you don’t have the budget or the space – make it an intimate and personalised experience.
Ultimately, by keeping it simple your exhibition stand design will deliver on your objectives, and it will give the right message about your brand. It’s what you put on your plot that visitors will take away with them.
Learn more about effective exhibition design.