Stand out from the crowd: a guide to creating an engaging event


The graphic reads a well targeted and eye-catching presence at exhibitions, showcases and other industry events can capture the attention of attendees, and ultimately lead to enquiries and sales.

Exhibitions, showcases and other industry events offer the ideal opportunity to promote your business.

When done right, a presence at such events is a great way to make a lasting impression. An eye-catching stand combined with involvement in panel discussions and fringe events can capture the attention of attendees, and ultimately lead to enquiries and sales.

Our team is highly experienced in helping to achieve a return on investment, and can help create a strong, rounded presence – from stand design to photography and supporting copy. We’ve played a key role in bringing client-run exhibitions including the Howarth Timber Trade Day and M-AR’s education-focused exhibition to life.

Here are our five tips for getting the most out of exhibitions.

Know your audience

With such a large number of exhibitions and events throughout the year covering every part of the construction industry, targeting your specific audience should always be the first step when it comes to choosing which events to participate in, and when designing your stand.

At exhibitions, you could have the most eye-catching stand but if it’s not designed with the correct audience in mind, it’s a missed opportunity. Knowing who is going to be in attendance is important, so you can ensure that you’re relaying your key messages to the people that you want to hear them most.

There is a very limited window in which you are able to grab the attention of passersby, so your stand needs to be well positioned and easy to find, and don’t forget to ensure your stand is supported with sector- and audience specific information that will appeal to your target customers.

Don’t skimp on quality

Once you’ve identified your audience and key messages, investing in a high-quality stand design and supporting collateral is the ideal way to showcase your business. Your branding should be the key focal point of your stand to capture the attention of passersby.

Having clear yet concise information about who you are and how you can help your customer base is vital for engaging with potential customers. Key messages should be presented in an easily absorbable manner, and presenting these in eye-catching ways, such as on-screen animations, is a great way to increase relevant interest.

Always use high-quality print on any visuals you prepare, and make sure that your image sizing is correct to the dimensions of your stand so images reproduce clearly and aren’t pixelated. Having your agency involved in this process from the beginning will definitely help to smooth the road here, as our experience means that we know the right questions to ask and can advise on what will or won’t work in any given setting.

And of course, proofread any copy: it’s very easy for people to notice small mistakes or inconsistencies, especially at the larger graphic size exhibition stands require.

The image shows the exhibition at Howarth's Trade Day.event

Howarth’s Trade Day event, in celebration of their 175th anniversary, saw more than 1,000 visitors and 60 leading brands joining them on the day.

Interaction is key

Creating an eye-catching design for your stand is one thing, but when somebody approaches, you don’t want them to lose interest. A great way to avoid this is by designating an area with seating to allow people to sit and talk with you face to face to allow them to ask any questions they may have.

Samples and other interactive features can help draw people on to your stand. For example, if your product is kitchens then a mini-kitchen can show people the quality of the products and range available in a way that is not possible from photos and brochures.

Competitions can also be an effective way to entice people on to your stand, whether that be in person at an exhibition or through your social media. This is an ideal way to build interest before, during and after the event.

Stay in their memory

Somebody may be very interested in what you have to say, but giving them something to remember their visit to your stand by can help encourage a follow up enquiry after the event.

Ensuring the people who are manning your stand are aware of your goals helps to convey your key messaging. Preparing a 30-second pitch and clear calls to action when relaying information to visitors is a helpful tool.

Planning in advance is the best way to ensure your presence at the event will be memorable, and this allows time to plan the most effective collateral to take with you. For example, are you looking to build a database? If so, you’ll need at least one device with sign-up capabilities set up, with QR code-based scanners proving increasingly popular. Trying to obtain sales leads? Make sure members of your sales team are available on the stand and taking a proactive approach to interacting with visitors.

Product samples and branded merchandise – such as water bottles, bags and pens – are always popular and can help to encourage enquiries after the event. If you create a database during the event, be sure to send a follow up email to thank people for visiting your stand with direct contact details.

The image shows M-AR’s education-focused exhibition

Design and development of presence for M-AR and Rivington Street Studio at Education Estates Exhibition.

Tiny details can make a huge difference

There are a lot of smaller details that need to be considered with exhibition stands, which can easily be forgotten. On a practical level, it’s important to consider:

  • Where key messages are displayed – this should be eye level to make it easier for visitors to absorb the information.
  • The size of your logo – it needs to be large enough to be spotted from a distance without taking over the whole design when closer up.
  • Lighting quality in the exhibition space – your stand being too bright or poorly lit won’t encourage people to approach.
  • How to dress your stand – simply having posters and a table isn’t enough to grab someone’s attention, whereas adding finishing touches such as plants and soft furnishings can create a more welcoming environment for visitors.

If you’d like support for making an impression at an upcoming event, get in touch with our team today.


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