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    Exhibitions: Dare to Step into Excellence

    Not a single individual on the face of this planet was born with a mastered skill, perhaps a talent yes, but not a skill. According to the BusinessDictionary.com, a skill is an ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carry out complex activities or job functions involving ideas (cognitive skills), things (technical skills), and/or people (interpersonal skills). Exhibiting IS a skill…and an Art.

    The art of exhibiting, like most activities in the marketing realm, requires the implementation of cognitive, technical, and interpersonal skills; of which can only be better understood and perfected through repetition. Marketing professionals, when first tasked with the organisation of an exhibition activity, often don’t get it right the first time. When you make mistakes, you learn. And this is what we ALL regard as experience; a renowned proud element to inherit throughout the pursuit of any form of excellence.

    Exhibition excellence...a myth or possibility?

    Achieving exhibition excellence is not a myth. It has never been one, and we can confidently tell you that it’ll never become one either. Is it an opportunity? Undoubtedly. The definition of excellence, across the professional board, cannot be defined to act as a benchmark for all time, it is ever-changing.

    With that said, herewith are a few guidelines specifically composed to usher SMART marketers into a journey towards achieving exhibition excellence:

    1. Fascinate

    Something fresh and new is easily detected, and the brain is often forced to take a minute to analyse the new object and conclude whether it’s worth exploring or not. A line item that should be added to each exhibitor’s exhibition stand design checklist: Will my exhibition stand design attract the attention of my targeted audience from the other side of the hall?

    A fascinating exhibition stand design involves much more than gimmicky and wild attractions, it’s about delivering value and having a signature difference that sets you apart from all the noise. No matter how great your message, if you fail to connect with your audience, no one will listen. You have to fascinate them.

    2. Be different

    Just before you brief your exhibition stand designer, research what appeals to you as an individual, consult your colleagues and seniors on what type of elements they would like to see on the stand, visit a design conference, discuss exhibition stand trends with your stand designer and keep your company corporate identity in mind.

    Once you have the design figured out, focus on your message. Derive pre-show and post-show campaign strategies; think about stand staff, give-aways, lead capturing methods and substance. What are you doing differently? What will set you apart from your competitors?

    3. Once you have sourced an exhibition stand designer that you are most
    comfortable to work with, review your initial lighting design concept together.

    Collaborate with your exhibition stand designer and go through your lighting plan together. Identify what it is that you have envisioned for your stand, and your exhibition stand designer will raise effectiveness and cost-related lighting concerns, offer suggestions, and determine what is feasible. During the exhibition stand design phase, your designer can give you a good idea about what lighting strategies will and won’t work with the proposed design, and where you might run into problems.

    4. Working with the Press at your selected exhibition

    More than half of all exhibition visitors want to see “what’s new” in products and services. “New” is one of the two most effective words in communications today, which is why “new” and exhibitions are synonymous. Therefore, make sure your company promotes its new products, new services, new personnel, and even new facilities at exhibitions.

    Prepare and publish a Press Release that highlights and speaks on what’s “new” for your company, and how this will be experienced on your exhibition stand. During the exhibition show, schedule a Press Conference. This then includes sending out special invitations in advance, arranging for special treatment for VIP’s, speeches by company leaders, electronic and audio visual support materials etc.

    5. Pay attention to your exhibition stand visitors

    After conducting the relevant research about the exhibition you’re participating in, you have a good idea of the visitor calibre you’re to expect on your stand. Exhibition stand visitors, like you and I, are people with various emotions, frustrations, expectations, and agendas. Their moods are unpredictable and difficult to detect, anticipating how they could possibly be feeling allows you the advantage of better preparing yourself and your team to engage with them appropriately.

    6. The “little” things DO count

    The unexpected special surprises that co-ordinators throw in, the prizes or giveaways, and the contests that take place. These REALLY do matter, and in order to perfect these, you have to know and understand your audience. Find out what entertains them, what they would appreciate as gifts, what their expected experience is, and how to make this experience even better. Everyone loves to be blown away.

    7. Focus on Quality over Quanitity

    Getting the right kind of traffic to your exhibition stand starts before the exhibition show, with pre-show activity such as social media interaction and marketing campaigns. “Define who you want to come to your exhibition stand and target them specifically,” Gilvar continues. “If people did nothing but that, it would be an amazingly successful event.”

    8. Understand the importance and relevance of exhibition stand project management

    Many companies are guilty of assuming that exhibition stand project management is a task that can be solely handled by one of their staff members if they dedicate a few hours per day….wrong! Exhibition stand project management is a task that entails the overseeing of the entire creation, production, and delivery process of the exhibition stand, furniture, electricals, exhibition stand staffing, company products to be displayed, and marketing content, just to name a few. Hiring a dedicated exhibition stand project manager grants your company staff more time to perfect all that is to be prepared internally for the show. You have less worry about the actual exhibition stand, and you are given time to prepare for press releases, media days etc.

    And last but not least…

    9. Make your exhibition stand the party that people want to attend!

    Creativity, innovation, excitement and result have become the eventing benchmark around the globe today, and exhibition organisers, exhibition stand designers and project managers need to understand and communicate this to their Clients. Most people lead time consuming and “serious” lives…why not make your exhibition stand at your exhibition an experience that they cannot forget, and therefore one they look forward to attending again the following year?

    SSQ Exhibitions is a design and project management agency that is dedicated to creating targeted brand experiences, especially customised for YOU! If you would like to contact the SSQuad to discuss your exhibition requirements in greater detail, call us on: 011 792 1241 or email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Further to this, to peruse more of our industry articles, we invite you to click on the link below:




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    EXSA enables connections through the networking and communication of our Forums and via our website (www.exsa.co.za).

    Besides providing EXSA’s directory of members, an exhibitions calendar and news feed, the EXSA website also offers a wealth of knowledge and industry guidelines available to its members.



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