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Mar
20

New office a reality for interactive experience company

Joe Ashton, ei Creative Director and Co-founder

Exhibit Interactive (ei), an event technology business which started out less than two years ago with a virtual address in Coventry, has just moved to new premises at Blackminster Business Park in Evesham.

Previously based at Pure Offices’ in Warwick, ei moved to its new home earlier this month as it looked to house its growing collection of immersive technology equipment, and provide for future expansion within its team.

Creative Director and Co-founder, Joe Ashton made the decision to help set up the business when he saw the direction the events industry was heading. With less focus on large, single use stands at big trade shows and more on immersive technology, reusable modular stands and proprietary conferences, ei has been able to grow its portfolio to more than a dozen clients and is looking forward to an increase of more than 100% on last year’s turnover.

Joe said: “Having worked in the exhibition and events industry for 25 years, I’ve seen how expensive single use stands, piles of printed marketing literature and bored sales people achieve nothing for visitors. ei has been set up with a focus on immersive technology. Engaging customers in a company’s brand or product by enabling them to experience it through tech such as augmented and virtual reality, touch tables and 360o filming. This is technology which makes people say ‘Wow!’. The exhibition stands which might provide the backdrop to this experience are just that – a back drop. They’re inexpensive, reusable, but professional and on brand.”

ei has a small team of office-based staff but the company’s approach has been to focus on the business, keeping overheads low and bringing specialist support in as and when it’s needed. Joe continued: “Our focus is on finding the right people to work with us when we need them and making sure we deliver, and exceed, our clients’ expectations. I have a team of about 10 trusted suppliers from accountants and logistical support, to PR and design. We probably do need a few more permanent staff and our new office will allow for that growth, but this move has really been about giving us a much bigger area to demonstrate the technology we work with – and that’s what ei is all about.”

Projects to date for ei include a virtual reality (VR) flood management experience for Wavin, an augmented reality (AR) app for an international drinks dispensing business Manitowoc and a ‘Minority Report-style’ touch table for builders’ merchant Jewson. The Company has also recently produced VR experiences for international building materials company Saint-Gobain and its insulation brand, Celotex – both of which were showcased at the recent Ecobuild trade exhibition in London this month.

Joe continued: “In 2012 I wrote a presentation which predicted what the events industry would be doing in 2017. I talked about AR, the usability of social media and the end of printed literature. Many of my predictions have come true but I missed the benefits that modular stands offer and the growth we’ve experienced in VR. I’m pleased to say though that ei is riding the wave and fingers crossed, moving to new bigger offices is just the start of our success.”

Visitors to ei’s showroom can experiment with VR, AR, a touch table, 360o camera and even play table tennis.


Mar
07

Immersive tech wins over stand design at Ecobuild 2017

For this year’s Ecobuild (March 7th to 9th), event technology business exhibit interactive (ei), has created experiences for two of its clients which will enable visitors to explore their products using virtual and augmented realities (VR and AR) – and the stands both have one thing in common…

ei has designed both stands as reusable, modular systems which can be built again and again at trade shows and proprietary events. Nothing over the top, or big and brash, but professional and on brand, allowing the technology on each to engage visitors and be the star of the show.

At stand C143, visitors will need to hold on to their stomachs and have a head of heights when they experience a brand new VR adventure for PIR insulation manufacturer Celotex, which is set in a domestic loft. And for those who want to experience an AR world, the ei team has designed an app which works by holding a smart phone or tablet over a neat little pop-up house. By simply rotating the model, visitors can explore different products from the Celotex range, gaining a far better understanding than they ever could from a printed or online brochure.

Moving across to C144, ei will once again be setting up Saint-Gobain’s popular MULTICOMFORT stand. This includes a demonstration zone for Oculus Rift VR technology, giving visitors a virtual experience of one of four MULTICOMFORT holistic building environments.

Joe Ashton, ei creative director, said: “Saint-Gobain and Celotex take their exhibition presence very seriously. They think carefully about where they’ll invest money each year, which events they’ll gain the most ROI from and how they want to engage visitors in their brand. Because I know the teams want to find the right solution for their events, it’s refreshing to see how keen they are to opt for reusable, modular stands, choosing to invest more time and money in developing immersive technologies which they know will engage visitors.”

In 2016 ei asked exhibition visitors what the most important factors were in attracting them to a stand. Two of the areas where companies spend the most money – design and graphics, registered a measly 5% and 0%. New products, networking opportunities and new technology on the other hand, scored roughly a third of the opinions cast each.

Joe continued: “I’m confident there will still be large, single use stands at Ecobuild 2017, which only pay a fleeting glance to technology. Experience has shown me that stand design really isn’t important – engage your customers using immersive tech, that’s what’ll generate ROI for you.”


Feb
01

Immersive marketing for the construction industry

First published in the RIBA Insight monthly briefing

Immersive marketing is bringing BIM to life and engaging audiences in new and exciting ways.

BIM is now being adopted widely across the construction industry as an effective means of communicating and transferring detailed information accurately along a project timeline. It’s a demonstration of how technology is evolving to help us work better and smarter …but can we edge the boundaries even further?

Usually the answer to this sort of question is, “Yes, but we don’t properly understand the next steps yet”. Or, “Yes, but it would need some hefty investment. Maybe it would be better to get our heads around the complexities and opportunities of BIM first, before we start heading down any other routes”. Am I right?

I’d argue that, because the answer is ‘yes’, we can edge the boundaries. The next steps are understood, completely affordable and can push your project, products and ideas into a completely different world.

The term ‘immersive marketing’ is getting a fair amount of press coverage right now. It’s about engaging your audience in your products or services in a captivating and memorable way. It might be touch tables, 360 videos or social media walls at an event. Or, by making use of the opportunities presented through CAD modelling or BIM, allowing your customers to step into another world by experiencing your work through augmented or virtual reality.

Augmented reality (AR) became big news in 2016 when Pokémon Go hit the headlines. At around the same time my business, Exhibit Interactive was just rolling out its first AR sample. We’d taken a CAD model of a water valve, recreated it in 3D and, by using our own ‘Captivate’ app, users could hold their tablet or smartphone over a ‘marker’ and magically see the water valve appear in front of them.

Water valves might not float everyone’s boat, but that initial sample demonstrated what was possible. By thinking creatively about what markers can be printed on drinks coasters, business cards, coffee mugs, key fobs, it’s easy to see how the augmented reality world can become very accessible.

Virtual reality (VR) has also grown enormously in popularity over the past 12 months, with headsets featuring on a great many Christmas wish lists. Again, by using the output generated through CAD or BIM and readily available hardware, your project can be experienced in a virtual world before the turf has even been cut.

The decision over whether AR or VR is the more appropriate tech for your project comes down to what the product is and what you want your audience to experience. AR and VR in themselves offer amazing experiences and could potentially be applied to almost any situation in everyday life. The industry isn’t quite there with that one yet, but the opportunity they present for the construction industry, and for marketers working in this sector, is that this is new.

Relatively few developers are using this technology at the moment as a means of bringing their plans and models to life. We’ve all seen countless CGIs and static models. These materials give a reasonable visual idea of what an architect or developer has in mind, but they don’t immerse the audience.

Marketing methods are evolving all the time and I’ve seen a great many innovations during my 20 years in the events industry, but I’ve never experienced anything that generates the captivation that immersive marketing technology can achieve. It’s incredibly affordable, easy to develop, and enables BIM to be used far beyond its primary purpose.

Author Joe Ashton is Creative Director at Exhibit Interactive, an interactive agency specialising in solutions for the construction Industry.

Joe will be discussing and demonstrating immersive marketing’s uses for the construction industry at a CPD seminar on the 23 March 2017, run by CIMCIG. Find out more and book your place today.

 


Jan
26

Exhibit Interactive raises the bar at Jewson Live

We developed a stand and tech for our client Jewson to promote its Juice by Jewson rewards programme. Here’s the story:

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Event technology company exhibit interactive (ei) raised the ‘Jewson Juice’ bar for interactive exhibition design at December’s ‘Live’ event, by introducing state-of-the-art touch table technology to promote the Jewson customer rewards programme.

jewson-at-jl-2016-01ei won a competitive tendering process for the design and production of the leading builders’ merchant’s stand at its second Jewson Live event held at Birmingham’s NEC in December. By presenting a concept which was clean, simple and integrated key messages alongside the clever use of interactive touch technology, the Jewson marketing team felt it provided a fresh approach to exhibition design and fitted with aspirations for their brand.

Jewson launched Juice by Jewson rewards programme last January and aimed to use its 2016 Live event as an opportunity for customers to redeem the points they’d gathered over the year. Its stand was one amongst 180 exhibitors and as the organiser of the event, there was an expectation for them to do something out of the ordinary.

The stand itself was a straightforward modular design but the star of the show was undoubtedly ei’s interactive touch table. By moving images and documents around on the 46” table top screen, users could ‘throw’ selected items onto a 60” wall-mounted screen behind the Jewson Juice Bar.

Joe Ashton, ei creative director, said: “For a company the size of Jewson to opt for a simple stand design at their own high profile event and place the focus on interactive technology, says a great deal about how approaches towards exhibition presence are changing.

“With clear branding and uncluttered messaging all the attention focussed on the technology. It got people talking, they wanted to have a go with it and amongst the interactivity came conversations and relationship building opportunities, which is what Jewson ultimately wanted to generate.”

jewson-at-jl-2016-03Jewson marketing executive, Elliott Thomas was first intrigued by ei’s approach to event technology when he invited them to speak at the Jewson Live exhibitor briefing event in October. Elliott said: “We haven’t focussed heavily on using technology on our exhibition stands before, other than a few screens or hand-held tablets, but I was impressed when I saw ei demonstrate the touch table. It was an idea I was keen to try out with the objectives of engaging our customers in our rewards programme, and differentiating ourselves from our competitors.”

Jewson branch managers commenting on the stand said:

“It’s the best out of all the stands we’ve see here today.”

“It’s a simple layout but uses hi-tech.”

“I always look forward to seeing the Jewson marketing stand and I wasn’t disappointed.”

 

Jewson and ei already have a number of new projects in the pipeline, with a keen focus on technology for the future.

 

http://blog.jewson.co.uk/5696/squeezing-more-from-purchases/

 

 


Jan
03

ei makes MULTICOMFORT a reality for Saint-Gobain

Just before Christmas we helped our client Saint-Gobain showcase its MULTICOMFORT concept through a brand new VR experience. Here’s the story…

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Event technology company Exhibit Interactive (ei) brought Saint-Gobain’s unique MULTICOMFORT concept to life sg-jewson-02just before Christmas, through an interactive exhibition stand and virtual reality (VR) experience at Jewson Live (Thursday 15th December).

Previewed at a conference for Saint-Gobain employees earlier this month, ei delivered on a brief to help the leader in sustainable habitat and construction materials markets, communicate the different aspects of its MULTICOMFORT model by enabling it to be experienced through immersive technology.

ei designed and built a reusable modular exhibition stand for Saint-Gobain which set the scene, explaining what MULTICOMFORT was. It included a zone for Oculus Rift VR technology giving visitors a virtual experience of one of four MULTICOMFORT environments. The entire setup was then transferred to Jewson’s event at the NEC.

In the virtual reality demonstration, users can play videos to see products in action, experiment with acoustics and sounds, and explore how the holistic building approach works to create spaces that require less heating, have better quality air and bring the outside in.

Joe Ashton, creative director at ei, said: “Saint-Gobain gave us a brief to develop a VR experience for their MULTICOMFORT concept. They explained a need to demonstrate it at a number of different events, including Jewson Live, so the most obvious option was to develop a modular exhibition stand. By taking this approach, Saint-Gobain had a professional-looking, reusable and cost effective stand which supported the VR experience we designed for them, as the star of the show.”

Stacey Temprell, Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland Habitat marketing director, said: “We’ve worked with Joe and the team at ei for some time and modular stands designed by them have worked extremely well for us. When we talked about MULTICOMFORT and our need to find the best way to communicate the concept to a wide audience, ei recommended VR.

“Using this state of the art technology, visitors to our stand at Jewson Live were able to immerse themselves in a MULTICOMFORT space and understand the difference between it and conventional buildings. VR has helped bring our concept to life and we’re excited to see how other immersive technologies could support our business in the future.”


Dec
20

ei provides refreshing tech for Manitowoc

Manitowoc Beverage Systems' ALBI drinks dispenser

Manitowoc Beverage Systems’ ALBI drinks dispenser

Here’s our latest news about a client’s augmented reality project…

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Event technology company Exhibit Interactive (ei) has provided a refreshing solution to launch Manitowoc Beverage Systems’ over-counter electrical soft drink dispenser Advanced Lean Beverage Innovation (ALBI), using an augmented reality marker printed on a drinks coaster.

Visitors to Manitowoc’s stand at Brau Brevaile in Germany last month (November 2016) were able to view a 3D computer aided design (CAD) model of ALBI, which had been cleverly created by ei to demonstrate the product to customers using augmented reality.

Manitowoc chose to use augmented reality (AR) to launch ALBI as it meant customers could essentially take a sample product away with them after seeing it at the event. They could then ‘try it for size’ on counter tops in their own food and beverage outlets with the aid of a drinks coaster and a free to download app.

Emma Gardner, marketing manager at Manitowoc, said: “We saw a prototype which ei had created showing how a product sample could be demonstrated using AR with a 3D CAD model. It’s not something we’d seen anyone else in the industry do before, so felt it was the ideal option to launch our ALBI product.”

Open the Captivate app and hold your phone over this image to see the ALBI drinks dispenser in augmented reality.

Open the Captivate app and hold your phone over this image to see the ALBI drinks dispenser in augmented reality.

The drinks coaster which was designed and produced by ei, was printed with a graphic of a smart phone featuring the ALBI logo as an AR marker, together with the tagline ‘Thirsty to know more?’. By using ei’s free-to-download ‘Captivate’ app, users can simply hold their smart phone over the ALBI marker and a 3D model of the dispenser appears in front of them – seemingly in mid air. By tilting their smart phone they can rotate the model to see detailed features and ‘virtually’ slot it into place on their counter top, to see how it might fit.

Emma continued: “It was interesting to see the reactions of visitors at Brau Brevaile. They saw the ALBI product and then they saw it using augmented reality. They were hooked. It just added a completely new dimension to our launch. Even posting the drinks coasters out to contacts after the event meant they too could see a virtual 3D model of the product and enjoy almost the same experience as those who attended the show.”

Joe Ashton, creative director at ei, added: “Samples, literature and even exhibition stands are static. Demonstrating a product using AR brings it to life and when it’s as easy to access as a free app and a cardboard drinks coaster, you can’t but help be intrigued.

“We specialise in helping companies bring their products to like using AR and this project with Manitowoc was a great example of how products can be launched and provide customers with a memorable experience, without breaking the bank.”

 


Nov
17

Broughton Software stands out with LabHQ LIMS

Here’s the press release we issued for a happy client who achieved excellent ROI by using a professional, modular stand at an industry event:

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Broughton Software achieved stand out for its LabHQ LIMS software system at Lab Innovations 2016 this month (November) thanks to a unique exhibition space designed by Exhibit Interactive, helping turn around 30% of enquiries into strong business leads.

The pharmaceutical and healthcare software development company attended the annual industry event held at Birmingham’s NEC to raise awareness of its lab compliance software, LabHQ Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). This year however, the Company wanted to find a way to stand out from other exhibitors and position itself as a leader in its field.

Broughton enlisted the help of Exhibit Interactive (EI) – an experienced exhibitions team with a focus on interactive technology and modular, reusable stand systems as a way to generate an enviable level of return on investment.

Andy Mooney, Broughton Software commercial director, said: “Previously we’ve attended Lab Innovations with a portable pop up stand within a standard white shell scheme. This has been fine to an extent, but we’re a successful, growing software business and we’re keen for manufacturers to see us as a professional organisation who they want to work with.

“Building a stand on a grand scale wasn’t a consideration for us, but EI suggested we opt for a modular structure. Graphics panels were professionally designed by our own inhouse team according to the spec provided, EI then built the stand for us in next to no time and dismantled it ready to use again. We also chose a striking blue background to stand out against the swathes of white shell schemes at the event and it clearly worked.”

EI’s stand design was for a 4m x 3m space and included a meeting area and large screen to demonstrate Broughton’s LabHQ LIMS software. Joe Ashton, EI creative director, added: “A modular stand design was the ideal option for Broughton. It was cost effective, it showcased their technology and through understanding the event, they knew the right choice of colour palette would help get them noticed.”

Broughton Software will be demonstrating LabHQ LIMS at a series of events in 2017. For further information visit www.broughtonsoftware.com and follow  @LabHQLIMS


Nov
10

Make 2017 modular and immersive

The season for developing stand designs, marketing messaging and product propositions for launch at next year’s major trade shows is now upon us.

We sigh and brace ourselves however, knowing that venues up and down the country will once again awash with larger than life single-use stands, piles of printed literature and hoards of sales reps standing around discreetly checking their phones, all of which we know, achieves very little return on investment.

What we should be seeing are reusable, modular stands which use immersive technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, touch screens, touch tables – technology which brings products, brochures and scenarios to life. We know this is what visitors want to see, because we’ve done the research.

In fact it always amazes me when people say their stand is creating a buzz. Visitors might look at it and say it looks great, but where are they placing their business? What have they gained by visiting your stand? Have they had the opportunity to immerse themselves in your products, or understand what your brand is about and how it’s relevant to them? Or have they just been wowed by the stand design and walked off with some free sweets?

Focussing your attention on having the right technology on your stand to showcase your products will gain far more in ROI then spending thousands on a stand which looks pretty. I know this is a leap of faith for many companies who feel it’s more appropriate to have the biggest stand at the show, but listen to the research – if you want to achieve ROI, modular and immersive really is the way forward.

We’re slowly starting to see more clients taking this approach and the time-lapse included here shows how straightforward a modular system is – yet professional and incorporates a tech element too. Worth a thought.

 

 

 


Sep
07

The Exhibition Stand of the Future revisited

Back in 2012, while at my previous job, I was asked by a PR agency to design what I thought an exhibition stand would be like in 5 years’ time. He wanted to try and create an online conversation to help with SEO.

As we approach 2017 I am taking a look back at what I predicted to see what became reality and what didn’t.

Exhibition Stand of the Future

Above is the illustration I designed. Lets see how I did.

Visitor Information

Prediction: Augmented Reality Glasses featuring facial recognition would provide the wearer with useful information about visitors.

Reality: Although Augmented Reality is more widely used today, it has failed to deliver as a wearable facial recognition solution. The wearable market has moved on significantly but is still very much in early development today. The most talked about back then was Google Glass Most people think that Glass was a failed experiment for Google but their website states that the journey has not ended.

We are starting to see wearable products such as the Microsoft Hololens and the Daqri Smart Helmet being offered to developers but we are a few years away from a mainstream use.

Visitor Interaction

Prediction: Augmented Reality allows the visitor to interact with products in a virtual environment and increase dwell time.

Reality: Augmented Reality (AR) does indeed allow visitors to interact with products. Today we are using AR to help companies show their products in a captivating way. And when visitors see what AR can do they certainly hang around or ‘dwell’ to discover more. What I did say that was someway off was that it would be in a virtual environment. AR allows CAD products and graphics to look like they are in the real world environment not a virtual one.

Power Supply

Prediction: Advances in energy efficient mobile power sources will make it possible for exhibitors to bring their own power supply to the show.

Reality: This is an interesting subject. The solution for this is definitely on the market. Just look at the growing popularity of electric cars today and you can see that battery technology will grow into other sectors. Personally I think this is being held back by a monopoly of rules. When an exhibitor is paying upwards of £400 for a 3kw power supply and £800 for a 3-day internet connection, show organisers and venues are sitting comfortably on an impressive revenue stream. Why would they want to disrupt this? But how will they react when someone says “I don’t need your power, I have my own”. We will have to wait and see on that one.

Energy efficiency is here in the form of LED light fittings which are seen on most stands now and require much less power to run.

Social Media

Prediction: Social media is already a firm favourite with exhibition organisers, exhibitors and delegates. Looking to the future, this will be much more integrated with Twitter streamer via DOOH screens or LinkedIn networking groups hosted on the exhibition stands.

Reality: DOOH (Digital Out Of Home) is basically a screen that reacts to the current time. A perfect example of this would be the Sky Sports News channel with its breaking news. We have started to see the use of social walls on stands with live tweets and photos appearing on screens, usually using a specific hashtag to encourage online debate. These appeal because those not attending the event can still join in online.

LinkedIn is still a popular tool for professionals but the groups are firmly debating online.

Integrated approach with PR

Prediction: PR and marketing content creates a reason for journalists to attend the stand for briefings with senior personnel. Exhibition stands will double up as venue for press conferences or mini-lectures.

Reality: A mini PR campaign to help launch a product or service at an exhibition can prove a great way to generate online interest, and many exhibitors are doing exactly that. The sight of cameras and people being interviewed on exhibition stands is quite common now. Video is what we all want. It’s pretty obvious that an exhibition is a great place to create content to use beyond the event, and many exhibitors are taking advantage of this. For a while there was a trend to hold mini-lectures or seminars on exhibition stands, but pretty much all shows now host large industry seminars. Organisers use these as a core reason to attend a show.

Lead Generation

Prediction: Touch screen technology will enable visitors to catch data faster and more accurately, giving better lead generation.

Reality: Creating leads is the core reason for exhibiting. It’s surprising that even today exhibitors still mainly use data pens provided by the organiser to collect data. Surprising because these pens are unreliable and costly. Some organisers are offering event apps that provide data capture as part of a bigger solution for both exhibitor and visitor. Back in 2012 I was suggesting touch screen technology would help. Touch screens are indeed a great way to capture data and can be used in conjunction with viewing and requesting digital content.

However, despite all the technology we enjoy, today the good old business card is still king. It’s so simple and tactile and remains popular. Our data capture solution is an app that scans business cards.

The end of printed literature

Prediction: Printing marketing literature will be a thing of the past. Content will be shared via NFC or social media and will be downloaded directly onto a smartphone or tablet.

Reality: Having lots of printed literature on a stand seems to be something a lot of exhibitors still like to do, despite the many reasons not to. However, the message is slowly filtering through with more exhibitors now opting for digital solutions instead. Content is indeed shared online but in the form of links. Very rarely will a document be downloaded on a smart device, this is usually on a desktop via an email.

The massive growth in video explainers is also having a big effect. Videos can be viewed and shared much easier than a brochure.

Product Enquiries

Prediction: Near Field Communication (NFC) is already enabled on some smartphones and will allow for contactless data exchange or product purchase using a simple unpowered chip.

Reality: I clearly had a thing about NFC back in 2012. NFC is the technology we use today for contactless payment. NFC chips are in our bank cards and oyster cards. Nearly all Android smartphones use NFC. Apple use it in their phones but do not allow its use beyond Apple Pay. NFC still offers massive potential but until Apple allow access to the NFC chips in their phones then it will never become mainstream.

What I completely missed

Virtual Reality: I didn’t see this one coming but then 5 years ago who did. The growth of VR is mainly down to the popularity of gaming. Forward thinking companies quickly realised the potential of commercial uses of VR particularly for training and education purposes. It’s now very popular on exhibition stands.

Modular Systems: Modular exhibition stands are ones that can be re-used many times in different configurations. The have been around for many years but the increased popularity of using large scale seamless graphic images on exhibition stands has made them a popular choice today.

Multi-touch: Back in 2012 touch screens were simple. Multi-touch technology now allows for pinch, zoom and spin with multiple users. This creates a great user experience on an exhibition stand.

Facebook: Those of you (including me) that dismissed Facebook have to eat humble pie. Facebook have embraced VR with their acquisition of Oculus, and they allow 360-degree video on their site too. Businesses like mine have realised Facebook is a great way to get content out to people.

On the whole I think it was a pretty good effort for nearly 5 years ago. I’ve already started thinking about the exhibition stand of 2022.

Interested to know more? Contact us here or call Joe on 07973 279169 to talk about how we can help.


Aug
26

Five things to think about (which might rock the boat) when planning your next event.

Nobody likes change. It’s the fear of the unknown. What if it doesn’t work? Will I have wasted my money? Best to just stick with what we know. Right?

Possibly not…

The main (researched*) reasons people visit trade shows and exhibitions are to network and find out about new products/technologies. So when you’re planning your next event, it makes sense for these objectives to be front of mind in order to generate the best possible return on investment for your business. And that’s usually want we want to do.

So here are five top tips, gleaned over a couple of decades working in the events industry, which we think are worth thinking about when planning your next event:

  1. Get the right people manning your stand

The right people might not be your sales team. Here’s why:

  • They know each other and are likely to spend time more talking to each other than engaging with visitors
  • Even if they’re told to switch mobiles off, they will probably still be picking up work emails etc, rather than engaging with visitors
  • They’ll probably want to take a tour around the show too – that’s great in some ways, but doesn’t help in engaging visitors on your stand.

So what should you do instead? Hire in agency staff. Train them fully and then use your sales team to follow up the quality leads they will have generated by the bucket load.

  1. Do away with armfuls of printed brochures and product literature

Printing vast quantities of brochures is a waste of money and a waste of resources. Half of it gets chucked in the bin anyway and visitors don’t want to lug a tonne of brochures around with them all day. Have a few flyers maybe, that’s fine. People like things they can touch and feel but leave the heavy detail to downloadable pdfs or other media available to view on your stand. Which brings us neatly to our next point.

  1. Invest in technology and get people interacting

Touch screens, social walls, augmented and virtual reality. These technologies can bring your company and products to life more than any brochure or sample can, because they allow interaction. Then instead of the usual line: “Would you like to take a brochure?”, say: “Have you had a go with augmented reality yet – take a look at this?” It’s a bit more of a conversation starter.

  1. Big and brash is so last century

This is without doubt one of the areas that businesses are uncomfortable about changing. Everyone wants a bigger, shinier stand than their competitors, even though they usually end up in the skip afterwards. Why not stand out instead for having the most technology-driven stand? Take a reusable modular approach, branded etc, but remember, it is just a stand. Visitors don’t interact with stands, they interact with people and technology/products.

  1. Host your own

Proprietary events or user conferences are rising in popularity. You host them exclusively, invite a targeted list of people you want to engage with and in return promise them access to new ideas, technologies, products, people and CPD points. You can completely immerse them in your brand and don’t have to compete with hundreds of other exhibitors to get your message across.

 

*Survey carried out at CIH 2016: 37% of visitors said new products attracted them to a stand; 30% said networking; 28% said new technology; 5% said stand design; 0% said graphic messages.