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Standing out from the crowd

If your business will be exhibiting at one of the dozens of events taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre before the end of 2015, take a look at these top exhibitor tips as provided by the venue itself.

In an ever increasingly competitive market, brands are looking at new and innovative ways to enhance their show presence to gain the competitive edge and attract visitors to their stands. Yet it doesn’t all have to be overly complicated and expensive. With a premium on ensuring your marketing spend delivers solid ROI, here are our top 10 tips…

 

  1. Make yourself visible: It might be obvious, but the easier you are to find, the greater the footfall. Digital signage is not only greener and clearer, but your messaging can be easily changed; mistakes rectified and the ROI more apparent than expensive printing onto wood, board and paper. Follow the 100-10-1 rule and you’re heading for success before you’ve thought about the stand. The rule is, ensure three levels of signage; tall banners with top-line messaging that can be seen from 100 metres away; signs with more detail to pull people onto the stand that can be read at 10 metres away, and detailed information signs that can be read from just a metre away on your actual stand.

  1. Get your leads charged up: Your 100-10-1 rule digital signage has brought increased footfall to your stand, now how do you keep people there? How about a device charging stand? A simple, yet highly effective, group of power points accessible to all keeps visitors on the stand for more than five minutes. Even if they drop a device off to be charged, and leave it, they’ll have to return. And they’ll return with a warm feeling that you are the company that helped them out when their phone charge died. If there’s space and budget, why not install a few interactive elements, like iPads or touch screens, to the charging stand; so visitors get a virtual company overview while waiting for their devices to power up? Tech-savvy exhibitors also now offer attendees closed-loop Wi-Fi on their stand, to better engage attendees by inviting them to join the network. Closed-loop Wi-Fi makes the booth “sticky” because attendees tend to stay longer as they surf the web.

  1. Show them the light: Advanced LED technology allows for stand lighting and screens that are cheaper, lighter and higher resolution than ever before. Although they may cost more initially than traditional lighting systems, they are generally more energy efficient and longer lasting. Transparent LCD s, for example, allow for viewing of a physical product with media overlaid. Touchscreens are becoming large enough to serve multiple users at the same time, on the same device, so no more waiting in turn. This technology means your compelling content is nearly always accessible. Transparent LCD screens also use 90 per cent less energy than conventional LCD panels. A touchscreen transparent LCD is an effective, re-usable, creative and dynamic way to delineate your stand space, too.

  1. Be more materialistic: Stand costs can be prohibitive, and while there are cunning ways of re-purposing stands as permanent features of your office, many exhibitors are considering the actual fabric of the stand. Fabric continues to be a stronger player in design discussions as a budget-friendly material that ships light, yet still looks sleek. Fabric can replace weighty wall structures and result in reduced drayage-related costs. Fabric’s utility can be enhanced by not only creative design (in some cases, designed to look just like wood panelling), but by integrating technology. Conductive fabric means the walls/barriers of your stand can help explain your products and services. Stand visitors can activate media or launch an interactive element simply by touching the fabric, which is embedded with sensors or conductive elements.

  1. Lead the way: Stand designers are building event routes around the “paths” that different types of attendees or buyers will take. They’re targeting content, product and messaging around those paths, thereby preventing attendees from being exposed to anything that’s not relevant to them. One approach is to create ‘zones’, event and trade show footprints that draw attendees into different parts of the booth or experience and puts them on a path that then informs, educates and entertains them. These paths can be experienced with interactive multimedia, and elements such as LED carpets, to show the route. Carpets that connect to a visitor’s smartphone via sensors and wireless networks and direct them to your stand are also under development.

  1. Let’s get social: Social media kiosks allow event attendees at both consumer and B2B events to post information about their experiences online, in real-time. Running a live competition on your stand, gathering data and requesting attendees to post a social media activity in order to enter, is an extremely effective way of gaining new leads and great publicity. There are many off-the shelf data gathering competition apps available. Leveraging feedback from real-time social media followers’ in-booth allows product specialists to show attendees in real time what people like about a product, discuss their posts and address problems. The immediacy is energising and lends credibility to the in-booth experience.

  1. Keep it socially simple with auto-tagging: RFID bracelets can auto-tag what a person is doing at an event and where they are. Photos can be automatically snapped as a person enters a certain zone on your stand, and delivered to your social media channels. For example, Coca-Cola activated a programme where users registered their Facebook accounts—and their faces—to gain entry. Facial recognition kiosks throughout the event captured photos, activities, location and more; all were instantly posted to that person’s social media network pages. Social media aggregation companies such as tintup.com now allow for automatic collation of all social media relating to your company or an event to be displayed on one portal created for the event – i.e. a social media wall on your stand.

  1. Near-Field Communication: RFID’s faster, more far-reaching cousin, NFC , enables smartphones and tablets to exchange data with each other when they’re touching or in close proximity. More smartphones are being released with NFC built-in, which means marketers won’t need RFID tags; they’ll let event attendees trigger the experience themselves. In the near future, conferences and events will be badge-less. Through NFC technology, devices trigger the experience. Instant check in. Bump phones with another attendee and instantly connect. As an exhibitor, you will be able to instantly capture foot traffic and leads. Samsung leveraged NFC at SouthBySouthwest, placing ‘TecTiles’ throughout the Austin event that NFC -enabled Galaxy owners tapped to receive offers from local businesses.

  1. Virtual Reality: A basic shell stand can now represent the most complex ideas, products and services thanks to virtual reality headsets. Facebook-owned Oculus Rift will be available next year for around US$1500, and will enable you to present your company in new innovative ways. Pharmaceutical companies are already leveraging the technology to bypass tight regulations, for example, taking attendees through a simulated experience of medical condition. Marriott used it to great effect at this year’s Arabian Travel Market as part of its Travel Brilliantly campaign. Pre-selected visitors to the Marriott International booth at ATM had the opportunity to “Get Teleported” instantly to see, hear and feel what it is like to be on a beach in Hawaii and high above the city of London.

  1. Augmented Reality: Unattractive QR “bar codes” are out, and augmented reality (AR) activated by a target is in. The technology is being used more robustly, and is being tied to downloadable apps. A target can be anything, such as a sticker. Point a mobile device at a sticker on your hand and suddenly you’re viewing a rotatable, 3D image. GES leveraged this technology for Tyson using AR and an LED wall to serve up Tyson’s food on a digital tray. You can even bring a simple product poster or brochure to life with AR. Save money, time and effort in shipping real products with AR, by showcasing your products in impressive AR, which is still new enough to pull in the crowds to the most (otherwise) basic of stands.

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