Pro exhibition stand ideas to help your business gain a competitive advantage
According to research, our attention span has markedly decreased in just 15 years. In 2000, it was 12 seconds. 15 years later, it shrunk significantly to 8.25 seconds. In fact, scientists reckon we now have shorter attention spans than goldfish, who are able to focus on a task or object for 9 seconds
Now that we’ve caught (and possibly already lost) your attention with that sobering piece of seven-year-old information, let’s get into what we actually want to discuss.
The undivided attention of visitors to exhibition stands is a precious commodity! As we all know, however, one can lead a horse to water but one can’t make it drink.
So how are you going to maximize your exhibition space so that it becomes a breeding ground for brand recall, the exchange and sharing of superb ideas, meaningful convos and ultimately more leads?
We’ve got a few pointers.
Exhibition stands are critical marketing tools in 2022
Let’s face the facts. Exhibition stands and kiosks might be a little bit old-school, but they’ll never stop being effective. Even in the digital marketing age there’s no real substitute for face-to-face interaction and the peace of mind that’s imparted when you chat to industry leaders and product expert! Consumers still want to hold a new product in their hands, we know this because we feel the same.
For want of a better example, do you prefer buying shoes online or in a physical store? That’s a rhetorical question because we know the answer already.
So what’s the big idea? As a business owner, being acutely aware of what people want to know about your product right off the bat is critical. That way, you can communicate it to them before their attention drifts.
Before all of that though, you need to attract the attention of exhibition visitors. Exhibition stand ideas are as useful as you make them.
We’d love to share some of our own.
Top exhibition stand ideas to help you get ahead in business
Your exhibition stand must accentuate the USP of your product
Your exhibition stand is about your product so there’s no shame in punting the best things about your business in this space. Your unique selling point is unique to you, so make sure to get that across.
Encourage visitors to try out your product
Whether it’s energy drink, computer parts or trail-running gear that you’re selling, it’s a good idea to let people get a feel for what they’re buying.
Invite visitors to experiment with your product in the form of a game, quiz or demo. If you gamify the experience, it’ll take things to a new level.
Exhibition stand designs should reflect your personality and offering
- Always be genuine about who you are and the messages you wish to convey as a business owner.
- People buy into genuineness and they can also smell when something is fishy.
- Play to your strengths. If you’re an emerging oat milk brand, for example, focus on the health benefits of your offering, rather than being the most tech-savvy stand at a trade show.
- Your exhibition stand design will actually do a lot of the talking that you can’t.
- Think of your exhibition stand as a more charming, inanimate extension of your personality. If you do that, everything should flow quite freely from there.
Your exhibition space should attract visitors with a casual yet professional ambience
Make your exhibition stand a place that’s conducive to conversation because that will guarantee that prospective customers stick around and have a look at what’s on offer.
You already know that your product is top-notch, it would be a shame if potential customers never found that out because your exhibition stand design was dull.
Now, we aren’t saying that you hire a barista for the day or a shirtless muscle man to pour cocktails, but there’s no harm in using the space smartly and making it look (and smell) pretty so that it has an inviting feel.
It’s one thing to entice visitors over to your stand, but it’s quite another to keep them engaged and stimulated.
That leads us neatly to the next point.
Engage visitors with relevant information
Your marketing team should prepare a short sales pitch but they should also be ready to improvise at the drop of a hat. People really do ask all sorts of strange questions, and you need to be prepared for that.
Prepare answers to any type of question that you might be anticipating at your exhibition stand. Once you’ve done that, prepare a few more. And once you’ve done that, Google a few more.
If you’re able to share an unusual piece of wisdom or an interesting tale, that’ll create a memorable experience. Just don’t go too far off topic!
Turn your exhibition stand into a meeting space
If your exhibition stand becomes bottlenecked by an over-supply of visitors having a chat, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just make sure that you have comfortable seating on offer and WiFi (see above).
Encourage people to share their own ideas
Why not go right back to basics by putting up a whiteboard and buying a few whiteboard markers? Invite visitors to share their own creative ideas, because what’s the worst that can happen?
We all want to have an opinion and be heard. Your visitors and the other exhibitors at an exhibition are no different.
A whiteboard can contain a prompt as simple as “what do/don’t you like about our exhibition stand today?” or “write down a personality trait you like about yourself that starts with the same letter as the one at the beginning of your first name.” The more cheesy the prompt, the better!
These are silly examples, but they all reinforce a point we find so important.
REMEMBER: Exhibitors often forget that clients can be the best teachers. It’s not just hot air. All you need is one great idea to light a fire. Perhaps your next customer might become your biggest inspiration. Facilitate that possibility by opening a dialogue.
Worst-case scenario – You’ve conducted some practical market research.
With a small exhibition stand, less is more
When life gives us choices, we have to make rational decisions as far as possible. The question “less or more?” doesn’t have a correct answer though.
Read more books, drink more water, hug your friends more and certainly call your mother on the phone more than you currently do. But this isn’t a life-coaching session, it’s a blog about exhibition stand ideas!
The point is, a lot of the time in our industry, it’s preferable to do a lot less. The research that we put into the different elements that attract people to our stands is extensive. The execution is minimalistic.
Many exhibitors make the mistake of making their small exhibition stand too cluttered. Don’t be that person.
Provide a memorable experience, but that doesn’t mean fireworks
Providing a memorable experience for potential customers isn’t going to boil down to you preparing a long PowerPoint presentation or creating an immersive experience.
The only thing people will remember is how you made them feel. If those feelings happen to be “informed” and “educated” then half the battle has been won.
The other half of that battle involves making your exhibition stand visitors feel special. We’re not going to suggest how that should be done, because it’s up to you and what your brand ethos dictates, but bear it in mind.
The nuts and bolts of exhibition stand design ideas
Products for exhibition stands
The array of exhibition stand design ideas and options you have will be directly informed by the types of exhibition stand that you employ at trade shows.
Modular exhibition stands are easier to transport and are re-usable many times over, making them the most cost-effective, system-built solution for individuals, corporates and show organisers.
Custom exhibition stands offer more freedom to create any shape or element that your heart desires. Custom stands cost a premium because they use timber, paint, spray paint and other bespoke elements.
Hybrid exhibition stands use custom elements and some system elements, making them the best of both worlds.
Hybrid design stands use aluminum systems to create large wall structures with awesome fabric graphics, and they employ great custom elements like reception counters that could be shaped according to your brand identity.
The sky is the limit, so it all depends on what your priorities are and how much budget you’d like to leave over for digital marketing and reaching your target audience and sending them a resonant brand message.
Services for exhibition stands
Don’t forget that there’s so much more to exhibition stands than just the physical products. The logistics and planning involved is often enough to make your head spin, but you can just easily palm that all off to an expert.
Identify an exhibition stand specialist that prioritizes these services:
- Strategic planning
- Determination of project value and detailing upfront
- Custom price calculators for bespoke projects
- Building beautifully, building on time and building according to job spec
- Custom design and production services with full transparency throughout
- Carbon offsetting
- Net zero
That way, you can rest assured that all bases are covered and you can concentrate on your business and what you’re good at. Products and services really do go hand-in-hand in this business.
Maximize floor space
Stand ideas aren’t just limited to how you use your physical stands. Correctly using your floor space can be a pivotal competitive advantage.
You don’t need to be an interior designer or an expert in ambush marketing to realize that some quirky brand-related messaging on the floor could work wonders. Think breadcrumbs leading to a mystery location…
Engage with visitors throughout the exhibition
Not engaging with your visitors is a cardinal error that many exhibitors make. Find a happy medium where you’re communicative and engaging with guests without inundating them with small talk.
Once you’ve got their attention, you need to keep it. Either that’s through interactive design, a digital screen or your sparkling personality.
Read the room and the situation, and act accordingly.
Free WiFi isn’t even negotiable
If the building doesn’t have internet then let trade show guests hotspot to your mobile. Chances are you’re dealing with fast-paced people who need to access information on their phones at all times. That, or they have dwindling attention spans. Remember what we said in he intro?
Do whatever it takes to make your exhibition stand an internet-friendly place. If your potential clients are connected to the internet, they’ll be a bit more connected to you. If you only learn one thing from this post let this be it. Also, wear sunscreen.
Attract attention of potential clients with your unique corporate personality
Again, attracting attention doesn’t need to involve something drastic like mating calls, music and elaborate canapes. Eye-catching, bright colours are great if those are aligned with your brand. If your brand colours are more neutral, make sure that those are communicated instead.
Keep your messaging simple
A sure-fire way to encourage visitors to NOT frequent your exhibition stand is by making your brand collateral and messaging complicated. You want to create an environment that fosters interactive experiences, but what you don’t want is to make visitors have to think too much. They’ve likely got plenty on their mind already.
Making potential clients feel involved in the experience is key. We’re not suggesting you do something as drastic as install a photo booth with props, but you could do a lot worse than having all of your social media handles on display and some incentives for visitors to take photos from your stand space to share with their networks.
You never know which different segment of the market you might reach. Social sharing is the type of thing that you cannot control, but you can certainly nudge people in the right direction.
Standing out at trade shows isn’t an exact science
Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to a neighbouring exhibition stand which might be attraction a bit more attention than yours. As you well know, you are selling something completely different to the next guy.
As such, you are appealing to separate target audiences, even though the same people might come up to both of your exhibition stands to have a gander.
Have fun at your exhibition stand!
If you live, breathe and enjoy your product, those things should all come across in your exhibition stand. Have fun because it’s likely that will rub off on visitors.
Good moods and fun are infectious, like a bout of sneezes.
Follow up with an enticing call-to-action
Exhibition stand ideas don’t stop at the exhibition itself. If you’ve had an engaging conversation with a visitor to your stand, make sure to engage them beyond that experience.
Offer up a useful freebie (no, not a pen that’s going to be buried in a handbag for eternity) in the form of free content, a quote or some personalized advice relating to that person’s lived experience. From there, the lines of communication are well and truly open.
Exhibition stands as marketing tools are alive and well. Make sure that you capitalize on all that they have to offer for you and your business.