Trade fairs and exhibition appearances offer an incomparable opportunity to attract people's attention and to come into direct contact right then and there. At the same time, this is the challenge: How do I manage to draw people to my trade fair stand?
Bram Couvreur – owner of Maister, a versatile creative design agency in Belgium – tells us what matters in expo design and why the design concept of the exhibition stand should not end with the build.
Bram, what is the most important thing to keep in mind when designing an exhibition booth?
Bram Couvreur: Identity. We strive to highlight the most important aspects of the company in a new or fun way. This might be a new product, new brand identity, etc. It's important that a potential customer gets interested at a single glance. As a Creative Design Service office, we believe that a strong concept throughout all aspects of the brand creates a consistent brand image which is recognizable and unique.
Do you have three tips how to generate the biggest long-term impact at a trade show?
1) Experience! You don't always need to show off everything. Lure the client into your booth with what makes your brand unique at that time. We prefer working products and exhibits over mockups. By doing so your potential client gets more engaged to your brand and your product.
2) Uniqueness! We focus on what needs to be represented and which message we want the visitors to take with them. When thinking outside of the box you should not limit yourself to the exhibition booth. Sometimes your product fits a better purpose outside of it.
3) Consistency! Stick to the concept: A great concept is embedded throughout all aspects of the company (graphic, marketing, architectural, interior …). As previously stated, it makes your brand stand out for all the right reasons.
Experiences are becoming increasingly important if you want to attract people's attention and retain their loyalty to your brand in the long term. Trade show appearances, events and live communication play a prominent role in this. Would you like to learn more about this and be inspired by new solutions? Then you shouldn't miss the Dimension Expo & Event Marketing at EuroShop!
Is there something you should NOT do with an exhibition stand design?
Bram Couvreur: Never try to imitate another brand. We like to focus on a unique and recognizable overall concept. In this philosophy we strongly believe that each brand or company can create its own narrative that speaks volumes. Bigger isn't always better.
What advantage do you see in a trade fair appearance compared to other marketing channels?
Bram Couvreur: Engagement – both with the products as with the people behind the brand, trade fairs offer an opportunity to connect people to each other. Trade shows make it also possible to explore businesses which may not be directly linked to the field of expertise or interests of the attendees.
Do you have an example where the trade show booth and appearance were optimally integrated into the overall marketing concept of a brand?
Bram Couvreur: Recently we've designed a small trade show booth for Aqualex, a company specialized in water taps for both domestic and industrial use. One of their key features is delivering cold, sparkling and filtered water in a single faucet.
Last year we've designed a concept store for this brand that's completely focused on water. In this store they focus on water-related art. Each piece of art had its own nook in the store so each piece could be highlighted individually. In doing so we were able to attract new and existing customers who might not be searching for a water filtering solution.
With this concept in mind, we created their latest exhibition booth for the event Architect@Work that would highlight the new design of the circular controller of the residential faucets line. We've convinced Aqualex also to hand out free water outside of their exhibition booth because it attaches the consumer directly to the product they exhibit.
What current design trends are you observing in the industry?
Bram Couvreur: We don't really look into design trends. When creating a concept we focus on simplicity in any form, shape or color. We like that our concepts serve a purpose before trends. We love that we can push the envelope with our ideas and that our clients love our creative process. For inspiration we look into the works of our own and others that uphold this ideology. New tools and technologies also inspire us to challenge our creative process and evolve. It's the constant learning process that makes our job interesting and inspiring.