How to best utilise experiential marketing techniques in organising & commissioning your exhibition stand design

Andy Dixon - January 2010

Now that we have our feet firmly under the table of 2010  we are starting to pitch for a wide range of design &/or builds for various types of events, props, sampling & exhibition stands.

Last year saw us consolidating our client base & expanding into new areas, playing on our strength of exploring new techniques & materials, the highlight of which had to be the construction of our giant bauble props for the 2 HMV stores in Oxford street. Utilising new techniques & materials to us we created 30 giant baubles in screen printed, vacformed PETG.

This year we aim to expand our client base helping companies to fully explore their marketing potential through experiential activities – consumers appreciate the extra efforts that brands go to in order to interact with them through 1 on 1 activities & sampling stands are now common place in shopping centres & supermarkets, it is getting tougher to stand out!

Bombay Sapphire - Exhibition Stand

Exhibition stands & the brand ambassadors that inhabit the exhibition space generally don’t appreciate their true potential, and we believe that this is an area where we can add value to that offered by conventional exhibition stand designs & builds.

In order to create an experience that truely attracts the attention of others it should trigger an emotional response within us and motivates us to action upon those emotions.

Here are some ideas that will help you to create an experiential exhibition experience rather than just a plain, static exhibition stand.

1.  Start with the audience. In order to design an effective experience its important to understand your audience first. What are their emotional and rational triggers and inhibitors? What do they need to feel and understand in order to act on your objectives? Make sure your experience puts your audience in a position of power and confidence. After all, its all about them, not about you or your products. Although you are creating an experience for the masses, it’s important you drive a sense of intimacy with each and ever member of the audience – make them connect with you and their experience will last longer.

2.  Know your objective. What is your reason for investing in creating this exhibition stand? Ensure your reasons are specific to this time & space, not just recycled from previous years. What new things can your audience learn from interacting with you at this time and in this intended space? Once you have come up with these reasons ensure that they govern all decisions on the project – stick with them & you can ensure that your final exhibition stand experience is cohesive.

Sample 3D Design Render

3.  Design the experience to be immersive with all senses. Our memories are created from our surroundings – not just what we see, but what we smell, touch, hear & taste as well. If you can create an exhibition experience that utilises all the senses then you stand a good chance of standing out from the competition – and being remembred. Here are a few tips:

  • Sight: Make it compelling: exciting video,vivid photography, appropriate colors and graphics all play a part, as well as inovative ways of exhibiting these within your space.
  • Sound: The volume is often just as important as the audible content itself. Remember to use ambience and silence to your advantage. These can be powerful engagers or distractors.
  • Touch: Give your attendees something to touch, and to engage with. Think about texture. Holding something in their hand has been proven to drive value perception and ownership. Also don’t forget about temperature or air quality. At a tradeshow even plush carpet with a thick pad creates a welcome retreat for foot-weary business infantry. In speaking sessions, make seating comfortable, but not too comfortable.
  • Smell: Often an area overlooked – & it can be tricky to manipulate smells in environments where others are exhibiting. But, if you can manipulate your own exhibition environment to enable your audience to meet a positive smell they would not expect to encounter in a trade hall then you could be onto a winner!
  • Taste: Especially important for hospitality settings. Make sure the food and drink is of the highest quality possible as well as utilising the obvious sampling possibilities available if your product is food or drink based.

4.  Don’t forget about interaction. Interaction with things, as well as people. Nowadays there are so many technological possibilities available for interaction – from augmented reality to touch screens & interactive tables, there are so many must have technologies crying out to be used on an exhibition stand. However, don’t forget you don’t have to get technical to create great interaction – the simple ideas are often those that stand out and get remembered!

Clarins - Experiential exhibition stand - Selfridges

Arguably, the most important part of any experience is the people present and audience interaction with those people. Ensure that the human interaction on your exhibition stand is professional, engaging, friendly, and most of all, human. This is what will build real long term brand relationships.

5.  Tell a Story. People remember encounters best when they are easy to recall & connect with – try and tell a story throughout your exhibition stand rather than simply positioning your products & literature around. Success will be determined by your audience, your message and the way in which the story is told.

Follow these simple guidelines & you will stand out from the crowd & get remembered for the great product or service that you offer.