Taking a "shell-scheme" stands at industry or specialist exhibitions is still one of the most popular and cost effective ways to get your brand in front of a ready made audience and (hopefully!) a steady stream of potential new customers. The problem, of course, is that you're often one of many similar exhibitors trying to attract people to visit your stand. But a shell-scheme stand doesn't have to be standard, or boring. We've used this case study to help you think about what you need to do to get the most out of your shell-scheme stand.
We've built hundreds of exhibition stands and shell-schemes over the years and know how to make even a realtively small stand into a welcoming and stand-out space. That's what this new client wanted to achieve for their up-coming series of exhibitions at their international industry events over the coming months. Working with our trusted suppliers, we created branded graphics and put together an inviting space for them to meet and greet their customers and prospects and get their message across.
Their EMEA Regional Segment Manager was kind enough to recognise the efforts of his own team and Chill Out! in making this happen.
The degree of collaboration that went in to bringing this event together and delivering it was quite something.
We used the stand for a pre-event drinks gathering for invited customers and guests.
This event was the first of a series of exhibitions being attended by our client throughout Europe over the coming months. This first one was at the EAGE Exhibition in Madrid, Spain. Their aim was to build brand recognition and to increase awareness in the marketplace for their extensive range of products. This was our first engagement for a new client following a referral from a long-standing contact.
Seequent (Bentley) geo-data management and modelling attending the EAGE (European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers) conference and expo in Madrid, Spain.
This was a relatively short-notice activity with only 8 weeks from briefing to event. The venue was a major industry conference and exhibition in Madrid in Spain so we already anticipated logistics and shipping issues given the new customs rules between the UK and Europe.
The client wanted spaces to host small, regular presentations through the day, and to allow for individual discussions or 1-1 demos. We also suggested a welcome desk as a focal point for customers approaching the stand.
The space was a standard, double-width shell-scheme with the advantage of being on the end of an aisle of similar stands. There were limitations imposed by the venue as to what could be done with the stand as they wanted to maintain a level of consistency across the exhibition.
- Shell-scheme stand fit-out
- Liaison with exhibition organisers
- Graphics design, printing, layout and fitting of stand
- Sourcing of branded material and give-aways
- Furniture provision and placement
- Shipping and logistics
- A new client referred to us by a long-term contact
- Relatively short timesales - 8 weeks from initial meeting to exhibition day
- Limitations on stand layout to conform with exhibition rules
- Last minute changes to graphics designs to accomoate a change in stand layout
- European rules for shipping goods into the EU
The Chill Out! Solution
We've designed and built hundreds of stands and shell-schemes for our clients over the years and have checklists for everything. Many of our clients don't have the time, resources, or perhaps the experience, to do this themselves. We can save them a lot of heartache and money by using our experience and our network of trusted suppliers. Here's our guide to creating a stand-out stand.
Taking a Stand - read the full manual!
Most exhibition organisers publish a stand-guide or manual that covers the rules and regulations of attending the specific event - it's important to find and read this as it usually covers health and safety restrictions, power requirements and shipping details, as well as any standard suppliers that you're required to use. And if something isn't mentioned, then ask the organisers - you might be surprised at how supportive they are. And reading the manual can often save you time and money - by not missing deadlines for example.
This manual will often detail what flexibility you have in stand design and how creative you can be. For example, will the organiser allow you to simply use the floorspace and remove all the 'shell' of the shell-scheme - effectively freeing up the space for a small bespoke stand build. Other areas we've looked at before include:
- Can the roof be removed? Do they allow above standard height (usually 2.5m) displays
- Can you cover up the (usually very boring) front signage?
- Can the carpet or the floor material be removed and replaced? Can graphics be laid on the floor?
- Can you cover up the stand poles and supports to allow continuous graphics? We often do this with additional separate 'false wall' style standing banners.
To meet the customer's needs and keep the stand open, we suggested the informal presentation area you see here with simple cube stools. And to allow for conversations, we placed the 1-1 area on the other side of the stand. We also suggested they have a 'reception desk' as you see here. Our experience from talking to customers and delegates at large exhibitions is that people feel unsure about approaching a completely open stand - they don't know who to go ask for help. A clearly designated reception desk makes this very clear and allows staff to capture delegate details before passing them on to the relevant specialist.
An early draft mock-up of the stand
Stand graphics - don't overdo it
We overlaid the back wall with a single sweep of graphics from the customer's library so that the stand looked much more integrated than separate graphics panels. And we used the floorspace to highlight the customer's various product brands. In this case the customer's various products are already recognised brands in their marketplace - they just might not be associated in the visitors mind with the company brand.
You can also see that we haven't tried to squeeze too much into the graphics. Remember that the graphics only have one aim - to bring people onto the stand. We're not expecting visitors to stand and read a long list of bullets - you can make a branded infographic easily available for them for passers-by to pick up. Think of your stand as a sales funnel and have messages to appeal to people at different points in your B2B funnel -
- Awareness - your brand and display graphics
- Interest - brochures, infographics and presentations
- Consideration - demos and conversations to address their questions
- Decision - if you can ask a recent new customer to sign the contracts on your stand then it makes great PR!
Even the experts get it wrong (rarely!)
But it's how you handle it that counts. In this case the layout information we were working with indicated that the stand was only open on to the front - with both side panels filled in. We naturally planned displays and graphics to make the most of the available 'wallspace'. It only became clear very late on in the process that the stand was as you see it here. We were able to use our long-term relationship with our graphics provider to make the changes. We work with them all the time and rarely have issues like this, so they were happy to fix it for us.
Shipping stuff to your stand
One of the most useful things in most exhibitor's information pack or manual is exactly how to address material to ship to your stand. In some cases, such as this particular event, shipping material to the venue was not allowed at all - we had to carry the branded materials ourselves. In other venues it's possible but with restrictions - and you'll definitely lose or delay shipments unless you follow the address format.
Shipping goods to the EU
We're well used to sourcing branded goods - whether give-aways or branded collateral - and we have some excellent trusted suppliers that we love working with. However, given the changes in customs rules and difficulty shipping to the EU, we've now started working with similar suppliers based in the EU that can create and ship material locally to the event, wherever it is. And of course it all helps meet our sustainability goals which have become even more important to clients in recent years.
And talking of sustainability, if you're creating material for a particular event please keep recycling and sustainability in mind. No point in throwing away hundreds of dated or event branded brochures. And if you're planning gifts or give-aways, the days of branded 'tat' have long gone. Quality, really useful or nothing is our motto.
Comments and quotes
Generally great event, well organised booth and marketing collateral.
Thanks again for all your continued support.
If we look at the feedback in numbers, this was a very successful event -
Over 100 leads. Over 250 people registered for our online training.
Great job team - we should all be very proud
This from the EMEA Regional Segment Manager at the client
The degree of collaboration that went in to bringing this event together and delivering it was quite something. I cannot thank Teresa and Aimee [on my team] enough for being the most meticulous, detail-oriented and all-round excellent Marketing Team leading this, as well as Neill Hendry and Helen Martin from Chill Out! Event Management - we absolutely could not have flourished this week without your support.
As we've said before, the first event for any new client is always the most difficult - you're both getting to know each other, your likes and dislikes and the way both organisations work. The real lesson here is about communication and listening.
We've helped deliver hundreds of exhibition spaces - from complete exhibitions to multi-tier bespoke stand builds to shell-scheme stands and even just dressing a table top! We're alway happy to help or just give you advice. Talk to us about your exhibition needs.