When you’re a sponsor at a trade show or conference your stand design can be crucial to whether people stop and chat or pass on by. Here’s my advice for ‘standing out’ from the crowd with your stand design.
Know your space
I’m a visual person so my planning usually starts with getting a copy of the event floor plan and photos of the venue (ideally I’ll pop in for a site inspection also). When you’re planning the layout of your stand consider these things:
- Visitor flows
Where are the presentation rooms? Which direction will people likely walk past your stand? If you’re in a tradeshow where booths are typically set back from an aisle it can help to place signage on the edges of your stand wall (that way people walking along the aisle will quickly know what to expect without having to look into your booth. Some visitors will avoid making eye contact with sales staff for fear of being cornered by an overly pushy sales person.
At the AWS Summit we knew the crowd would be exiting the main presentation hall and flowing past our stand from left to right so we positioned our competition on the far left angled into the traffic.
- Key amenities
The floor plan should tell you where things like coffee carts, bathrooms and exits are. These will influence traffic flow and also how visitors might interact with you. If you’re at a conference near a coffee cart you might have the advantage of lines of waiting people – can you give them something to pass the time?
- How much space are you allowed to use?
Often you’re told that you can only have 2m x 3m of floor space, find out if there’s any restrictions or if you can extend from this into the walkways (often this is a case of asking for forgiveness not permission though!). Also can you ultilise the space above your stand? A hanging sign can be a good way of attracting people to you in large format shows. Bic does a particularly awesome job using the air space in this stand!
Attract a crowd
An empty stand filled with sales people can be mighty intimating. You want to think of ways that your stand will help draw in a crowd so that others are curious too. Product demonstrations or interactive activities help to do this. Here’s a few live demos I saw working at the Build NZ show.
It’s a billboard not a brochure!
Think of the visual impact of your stand. Plan for fleeting glances not in depth reading. Make it easy for someone to understand who and what you are in 5-10 seconds while walking. The golden rule of billboards is 6 words or less and it’s a good place to start with stand design too.