How you present yourself at a trade fair greatly depends on your corporate identity and what you want to achieve; still, there are some general rules I believe one should follow when it comes to gaining attention and increasing brand awareness. Let’s cast a light on what is often overlooked when, for example, exhibitors choose stand location or select their team. As always, I also highlight what I find especially important when the show you attend takes place in Germany.
1st Commandment: “You shall always try to get a good location for your stand!”
“Good location” in this context means the best place to achieve your trade fair objectives. If your aim is to boost the sales of active components, do not join a trade association’s booth placed in the hall dedicated to electromechanical components. If your objective is to promote your latest software release, targeting C-level executives, do not hide in a hall where people would expect c-class components.
“Good location” also means trying to grab an attractive position within a suitable hall. In general, the stands close to the hall entrance are very popular. The more isolated the booth, the more expensive. This means that if you are in a row and in between other stands (with neighbours to your right and to your left), usually floor space will be less costly. You need to pay more for a booth that can be accessed from two, three or even four sides. However, you might have other priorities and considerations, like proximity to your most important competitor. One of my ex-bosses always insisted on having our booth located close to the toilets. He was convinced that traffic was especially high there, and that people would be relaxed and open to new impressions when they came back out.
Many event organisers offer “early bird” prices and special packages; it will not harm you to get in touch with the trade fair representative well in advance and ask what benefits you gain from booking your booth early. Please, don’t play the waiting game – it might not end in your favour. Next time we meet, don’t forget to ask me about the world-leading trade show I attended some years ago, when a top market player ended up in a row stand, 20 square metres at a max, because they waited too long; or maybe thought they could negotiate with the organiser. They were our stand neighbours, really nice guys! What a pity they could only squeeze three or four of them and a football table into that little booth.
2nd Commandment: “You shall always use the official (!) trade fair media!”
Ensure that your company name is listed correctly in the official trade fair media (online catalogues, apps, show guides and/or print catalogues). If the feature is not included in the standard (obligatory) advertising, hopefully you have allocated some budget to add your logo – at the very least. Your company URL should be linked to your website, and don’t forget to update your online presence (professional and social media accounts) with the special occasion.
Something I see quite often these days when checking the exhibitor profiles in the online directories, like I recently did for the upcoming EMO: utter nonsense or embarrassing computer-translated texts that apparently nobody checks. Please, do me a favour and get that reviewed and corrected by a native speaker!