Edward Vickery, head of drpexhibition, says there are several ways to stand out from the crowd at an exhibition.
Whether an exhibition is large, small, on two floors or in one room, if you have a stand you need to ensure that it is more distinctive than the rest.
How else are you going to get that all-important footfall? If your stand looks the same – a mundane, classic stand that’s essentially just a replica of the one neighbouring it – why would someone choose to visit yours over someone else’s?
Moreover, even if it is slightly different, what does it have that intrigues and excites people enough for them to stay?
This is where originality comes in. If you can (providing you have the budget) create an entirely unique and bespoke stand – do it.
So, how can a stand be bespoke? Well, here are some tips:
Where appropriate, and relevant to your client’s aims, think about how you can make your stand interactive and engaging. Consider touchscreens, videos, gamification, AR, VR and high definition audio-visual communications. Augmented reality (AR) is a great opportunity for delegates to be immersed into the brand, and explore the information about the brand or product in innovative ways, using markers on the stand.
The markers could be placed on images, walls, or the floors of the stand. The markers could even take the delegates on a journey within the stand. This element is like gamification, which, with aims and objectives, can give delegates a new, competitive, and fun way to learn more.
The industry has begun to get saturated with virtual reality (VR), and sometimes you can find a queue of 20 people just to use the devices. Whereas, with AR, 20 or more people can be on the stand using tablets to interact all at the same time; it’s more of a group activity, and more sociable, rather than singular and insular, and creates huge amplification post-event.
However, overall, it depends on the objectives as VR could work better than AR in certain situations, and vice versa.
Within the Stand
Make your stand a welcoming environment in which people want to stay– you can do this in several ways.
Lighting: Bespoke branded lighting, such as GOBO. This light shines through a physical stencil or template that is placed inside or in front of a light source, to control the shape of the emitted light. This intelligent lighting is programmable, moving, and can be timed to music too. Another different type of light is LED halo glows, which are very popular at the moment. This bespoke lighting makes things appear 3D and gives depth.
Flooring: Flooring can really change the dynamic of an entrance to the stand and the journey of the delegate. It can also draw them in. You could try embossed logos sewn into the carpets, or lighted flooring, such as matts underneath that create puddles. There’s also the option to use interactive tiles embedded into existing flooring.
There are always trends in the industry, and often when people think they are being original it can result in everyone looking the same.
One thing I have noticed is the use of unfinished or unfurnished wood, such as raw wood, being used to structure a stand, or as seating. This is most likely derived from another trend of being environmentally conscious, and repurposing your exhibition using local or reclaimed produce and materials.
Think Outside the Box
Significantly, the main difference between a bespoke stand and a custom stand is when people use ‘off-the-shelf’ stands, or regurgitate stands without repurposing them.
System stands might work for some brands, but they are essentially just products and anyone can use their infrastructure. Usually, clients expect more than this simplicity.
Take creative experiential elements, for instance, where they take away from an emotive point of view, with a lot more immersion and return on investment – no longer just about ‘how many business cards have you got?’, because they expect to have something that they can measure afterwards. Qualification, rather than quantity, of leads are key.
Also, don’t just know the client – know your audience demographics and what they would engage with; engagement depends on how well you understand the demographic of the delegates visiting your stand, for what could work on one may not work on another. In essence, it’s about creating a journey with the given environment.
The best stand I ever came across was a number of years ago at the NEC Motorbike Show: they had decorated the stand with upside down top brand motorcycles. The racetrack the bikes were on was inverted, with moving elements of it as well. All about the theatre, creating a journey, and thinking outside the box – it’s better than being static!
With an original and bespoke stand you can really put your head above the competition. However, whatever you do choose to create must be consistent with the company’s brand, values, messages, motivation, drive and objectives.