Brands are currently preparing for design events taking place in the summer, looking out their trends and style books, talking about the stand and probably a lot of ‘fluffy’ stuff, but have you thought about how it all works together?

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What’s the point in investing £10k + in a stand and resources to exhibit at the likes of 100% Design, if you haven’t thought about how you’re going to maximise the opportunities in the lead up to the event, during the event and after? You’re time with an attendee is very limited!

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Here’s our top 10 tips for getting it right:

  1. Research – do your research – ask the exhibition/event organiser for exhibitor and attendee profiles. Find out what PR/marketing activities the organisers have and find out how you can participate. There are always free online resources and ways for you to present what your stand will be about. What were the highs and lows of the previous year? Who had the best stand and why did it stand out? Were there any clever marketing activities that your competitors carried out in previous years? Knowledge is power!
  2. Objectives – have a think about what your objectives are and make sure they are S (specific) M (measurable) A (achievable) R (relevant) T (time-related). Of course it will be to raise awareness of your business product/service and to increase business, but what specifically do you want? Do you want to gain XX hot leads, make £xx sales at the exhibition or is it to effectively launch a new product to a specific market and test the product and gain feedback?
  3. Tools to consider – exhibition press office, live reporting by the media partner of the exhibition, your own live reporting (blog, Twitter or why not stream your stand and launch live on Meerkat or Periscope?!), marketing materials such as sample books, interactive screens for visitors to engage,  data capture, social media follow signage, website URL prominent, QR codes for quick scanning, and the list goes on! There’s also great insight into attendee behaviour at stands and the impact your design has on them.
  4. Plan – having a plan gives you direction and helps keep focus. Develop your plan based on what you found out in the research stage as well as incorporating your objectives. Ensure everything links back to a Key Performance Indicator for measuring and evaluating later.
  5. Brand – don’t forget that your brand will be on full view and you need to ensure the stand, materials, staff etc are all in-line with your brand, it’s values and personality.
  6. Roll out – think about the timing of rolling out your plan – you want to engage people before they attend the exhibition, so your brand has already ‘touched them’ and the exhibition acts as a face-to-face meet. Get on their agenda and get on their plan to visit your stand!
  7. Monitor and react – monitoring your activity means you can react and amend if required. It might be more of the same or it might be that you find giving out sweets, for example, isn’t the hook you thought it would be! We once had a beach theme on a client’s stand, complete with sand and deck chairs and a giant beach ball and we gave away brand sticks of rock – it went down a storm!
  8. Evaluate – there’s no point in undertaking an activity, especially one as costly as exhibiting, if you’re not going to evaluate. So go back to your activity and your KPIs and measure your success. Was it worth it? Will you do it again?
  9. Follow up – from your evaluation and from your activity at the exhibition, who do you need to follow up? Was there feedback at the exhibition that you can use to implement changes and improvements?
  10. As with everything – learn from this experience and move onwards and upwards for the next time!

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Team Aura has worked at the likes of the Geneva Motorshow, The Furniture Show, 100% Design and AIX (Aircraft Interiors Expo – Hamburg) on behalf of clients. Aura has also worked on the flip side – we’ve handled the PR for the overarching exhibition e.g. Glasgow School of Art PDE Degree Show and New Start Scotland. We know how tough it is, but the more planning you do, the more effective your presence will be. Get in touch with us if you think we can help you – it would be great to bounce some ideas around about how we can help you get noticed and tell the story of your brand!

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