Five old-fashioned tactics to make the most of your modern exhibition stand

Last Modified: August 9, 2017 | Posted by: Katie Callear

There is a lot of talk about how to design and build modern exhibition stands. But, even in a digital world, there are practices that stand the test of time. Having earned our stripes in the world of exhibitions over the last three decades, we’ve taken a quick look at some timeless tactics that never go out of fashion!

1. Face-to-face networking

Today, online and social networking is increasingly popular. And, in our last blog, we took this one step further as we looked at the growing potential of VR events. But, even with the tech available to network remotely, you still can’t beat face-to-face interaction with potential suppliers and customers. As such, your exhibition stand must encourage visitors to strike up conversations with your team and foster networking opportunities.

Find out more about how you can do this with our three simple steps to exhibition stand success.

2. Good exhibition stand design

Making your stand inviting is as important today as it has ever been. So, maximise your exhibition space by using colour, signage, and lights to draw attendees to you. Of course, on-stand technology can help you to do this. But no matter how much tech you deploy, if your space is too cluttered visitors just won’t come in. When it comes to good design, the space you leave empty is just as important as the structures you include.

Check out some of the stands we’ve designed for our clients over the years in our photo gallery.

3. Give your brand a boost

Exhibition attendees will always love a good giveaway, and branded gifts are an excellent way to foster goodwill and raise your profile with other visitors as your logo gets carried around the hall.

But, in 2017 you can only go so far with branded pens. Even thoughtful drinks can have the reverse impact if the result is overflowing bins of crushed up bottles carrying your company name. Likewise, all your effort could go to waste if you fork out on a branded coffee station and baristas only to find that the exhibition organisers are already doing this. So think carefully about how best to use freebies to represent your brand.

At your next event, consider these alternative giveaways to truly stand out from the crowd.

4. Being relevant

Knowing what you want to achieve, and what visitors are likely to want from you will always be key to exhibition stand success. So, once armed with this information, work with your exhibition stand supplier to make sure your attendance helps you to meet these objectives.

Of course, most exhibitors will deploy some tricks to attract visitors to their stand. But, while giving away coffee (or something a bit stronger!) can help to get a queue forming, this won’t help your business if the free drink is the only thing they remember about you after the event is over.

Likewise, while seating areas are a relatively cheap way to fill up empty floor space, and encourage people to hang around, we’ve seen delegates who have actually fallen asleep on sofas during the afternoon! So, if you are deploying such tactics, make sure that they support your objectives. For example, rather than giving away something for nothing, encourage conversations while people are waiting for their brew, provide rolling presentations for them to watch whilst eating, or even make them earn it (e.g. make them do a quick survey or exchange contact details in return for their freebie). Of course, this will only work if what you are giving away is perceived to be worth it!

5. Maximising your exhibition stand

The best exhibition stands don’t just look good, they also provide new and profitable leads long after the show is over.

For example, 15 years ago, the Apex team created an exhibition stand for Cabana, a leading supplier of well-known soft drink brands. Exhibiting at two events taking place just before the Commonwealth Games, Apex capitalised on the zeitgeist and came up with ‘The Gold Standard’ as a sporting themed creative concept. The stand design included a ‘medal’ logo, lane markings, winners’ podiums, stadium floodlights, medal themed giveaways, and flickering silk flames.

Cabana Commonwealth Games Custom Exhibition Stand


But we didn’t stop there, and, as Cabana looked to strengthen its position in existing and potential markets, we also helped with pre-event marketing, materials, and activities at the two shows – including a competition to win tickets to the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games – and a continued program of promotion afterwards.

As part of this campaign, printed invites were posted out (and given out at the show) to targeted prospects. This came complete with an individual code which allowed them to visit the stand and try their digits on a padlock showcase holding a giant ticket. If successful, visitors were invited to come back later when the winner would be revealed. This meant Cabana benefited from a second visit from most of their prospects – boosting brand engagement and opportunities for networking.

While this particular campaign took place 15 years ago, diminishing budgets and the need to demonstrate ROI mean that in 2017, maximising bang-for-buck has never been more on-trend.

At Apex, we use a combination of traditional expertise and inventive technical know-how to ensure your stand sets you apart from your competitors, and kick-starts those all-important conversations. If you’d like to find out more about how we can make your exhibition stands a success, contact us today to find out more, or give us a call today on + 44 (0)1625 429370 to discuss your requirements in more depth.