Sep 04, 2011

How to Create Great Branding Impression at Exhibitions Exhibitions are such an underutilised means of expressing a brand. I asked Dan Frank of Nimlok for his views on how to get the most out of exhibitions. Here are Dan's views Exhibitions are a great opportunity to promote your brand and products as they give you a fantastic chance to meet hundreds of prospective clients face to face. But they also carry a great risk. The image you project will stay with them and influence how they react to you and your brand. Much like the high street poor presentation will turn people away from your brand and great presentation will bring them in. There are two chances to create a great impression at an exhibition. 1) The exhibition stands. Think of them as your shop front, where you can catch your visitor’s eye. 2) How your staff behaves – Helpful enthusiastic staff will create a far better impression than dead eyed suits reciting sales pitches by rote. In fact for some trade shows it may be worth ditching the suits. Research has shown that the exhibitors who wear lively and catchy colours such as red, green or purple are more likely to attract people to their stand than those wearing more neutral colours such as white or grey. It is important to realise that classic sales techniques often won’t work well at exhibitions. Not only do exhibitors need to be personable but also need to show off the expertise of the company that is represented. After all someone who doesn’t understand the company will find it difficult to engage visitors or come across as enthusiastic and it is widely recognised that “nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm… and a great smile!” Exhibitors can almost be thought of as method actors, engaging in a role for long periods at a time. This process is a tough form of emotional labour, as it involves continuously managing emotions in order to be consistent with the image that the brand needs to display; regardless of whether these emotions are consistent with internal feelings. Exhibitors cannot afford to appear tired or bored, even when answering the same questions hour after hour. The level of control that these performances require can be both stressful and alienating. There are some useful tools. Professionals in the industry recommend using scripts which can help make the experience less repetitive and mentally draining. In addition you should make sure you bring enough staff that everyone can have breaks. A good ratio is one hour off for every two on. This gives staff a chance to sit down, relax and have a bite to eat away from the display area. After all rested staff will do a better job by far. First impressions count and are essential for any exhibition. While there is no certain way of attracting people to your stand hopefully these guidelines should help you get and keep leads

Anna Farmery

Social Marketing Architect, Speaker, Author and in spare time completing PhD on the future of the social business model

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