How to Stop, Educate and Engage Your Delegates

We were recently asked to design an exhibition stand for a new client. It was in an industry sector that we are not familiar with so we sat down with our client over lunch to explore the market and the potential customers that might be passing through the exhibition hall. All seemed fairly straight forward. We were able to profile the potential customer, develop an idea of what might attract their attention and were well on the way to delivering an exhibition concept that would blow the competition clean out of the water. We had some great ideas and started to discuss how best to implement them. We needed to consider the level of information available on the stand, the hospitality requirements, literature, position of logos and so much more.

It was at about this point that the client mentioned that he wanted the literature positioned at the edge of the stand. We asked “why?”, his response was simple, he wanted to make it easy for the delegates to walk past, pick up a brochure and move on. Wow, this stopped us in our tracks. Why would you want to encourage potential customers to just pass your stand and grab a brochure, we could not help but think about all the potential sales that have walked past the exhibition stands for all of the previous years without even being noticed. At Ignition we are firm believers that it is the job of the exhibition stand to be a contributing factor in delivering the required results. These results might be sales, increased company profile or product/service promotion and will be significantly increased if the staff on the stand are provided with opportunities to engage with the delegates. Simply put, the exhibition stand and the exhibition stand designer must be working to stop educate and engage your delegates.

I am a shy retiring person and if I am to be used as an example I really don’t like stepping onto other peoples exhibition stands. Crossing over from the isle to the platform is a huge step for me but it can be made easier if the exhibition stand designer has considered this in the design of the stand. The tricks are simple, attract the attention of the delegate as they pass by the stand and get them to change their pace. When delegates see something on your exhibition stand that they are interested in they will stop and explore. If the object of interest is interactive then delegates cannot resist interacting. Psychologists will tell you that as shoppers (or delegates in this instance) interact with the products on the shelves they cease to to be browsers and become shoppers (ever asked why the always put the fruit and veg at the very front of the supermarket?). This is the same for exhibition stands, as the delegate interacts they are more receptive to an approach from the staff on the stand. The interaction might be as simple as reading some information, watching a video presentation or interacting with an exhibit. Picking up a brochure from an exhibition stand is an interaction but if this is done at the edge of the stand you miss the slim opportunity to engage with your potential customers.

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