The last one standing

First impressions count, especially when it comes to expo and exhibition stands. Exhibitions are an important networking and business platform and if you want people to visit your stand, then you need the ‘X factor’.

“‘Engagement’ will become 2013’s trend word and is bound to be used more often than any other when developing a marketing plan and subsequent briefs for exhibition stands,” says Nigel Walker, director of Complete Exhibitions. It’s more than biltong, chocolates or coffee; the looped presentation running on the screen and the collection of business cards; or t-shirt giveaways. It describes the strategic shift happening within the industry. The most sought-after attribute: Creating an experience.

Walker explains: “Exhibitions and events have been moving in this direction for some time, but even here the rate of change will accelerate significantly. However, exhibitions stands have focused upon the aesthetics and design for some time, sometimes exclusively. Exhibition stands can no longer remain islands of design excellence. Engagement will become equally, if not more so, positioned within the client brief.”

It’s often said that exhibitions are one of the only mediums, if not the only, that has the opportunity to engage all five senses at the same time. This is the advantage of exhibitions over other marketing mediums. The experience will be brought about and enhanced by touch screens. Multiple tablet points will be incorporated into the design, either as fixed points or mobile work stations.

“By building motion sensors into a display, not only can the stand become more energy efficient, but the ability to turn on and off as clients move will encourage visitors to engage with the exhibitor. Fabric walls, innovative lighting that changes with the mood or time of day, textured walls and floor coverings will become common. Apps for smart phones will boom over the next 24 months. The current ranges of apps are useful, but don’t exploit to the fullest the opportunity to engage with the visitor and out-compete the competition. What you can dream about, will become the norm very shortly,” Walker concludes.

SSQ Exhibitions is a multi-discipline exhibition stand and set design operation specialising in the conceptualisation, design and installation of award-winning exhibition stands, sets and stages, mall displays, road shows and product launches.

“We manage all elements of the project from inception to flawless execution, including custom design, installation and project management, both locally as well as abroad,” says Kim Risely from SSQ Exhibitions.

“With 20 years of combined experience in the exhibition operations field, SSQ Exhibitions is a passionate, creative and highly focused SSQuad that delivers on target, on budget and with military precision every time,” she adds.

SSQ Exhibitions has completed a couple of big projects in the past few months. These are:

  1. Zimmer office launch: Zimmer decided it was time to move offices this January and tasked SSQ Exhibitions to escort them into their fresh new start. “Aside from refurbishing its design, we also added complementing elements throughout its offices to ensure the brand is represented, emphasised and vividly communicated, ”explains Risely.
  2. Mining Indaba: “Bursts of energy and excitement began our year here at SSQ Exhibitions with the world’s largest mining investment event and Africa’s largest mining event, Mining Indaba. We had the great privilege of looking after the Anglo American stand and networking lounge, as well as the Exxaro stand and networking room.”

Risely concludes: “We’re looking forward to two of South Africa’s most prestigious shows that are coming up, namely Tourism Indaba 2013 and Johannesburg International Motor Show 2013. The SSQuad has been preparing for several months and are looking forward to working on some incredible stands.”

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