• home

    Trade Fairs: Creating a Successful Image


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001

    Understanding where your stand is located is part of the planning process.

    Trade Secrets tells exporters what they can expect to invest in a trade fair, and what they can expect to get out of it.

    Q. What are the typical costs of participating in a trade fair?

    Costs can vary greatly depending on the trade fair. To prevent over-spending, it is essential to prepare a comprehensive and realistic budget, and then adhere to it.

    The steps are:

    • Decide on the objectives to be achieved through participating in the trade fair.

    • List the necessary tasks to be undertaken to achieve those objectives.

    • Estimate the costs involved.

    To ensure that a participant does not overspend or underspend on various exhibition-related activities, a detailed listing of all possible areas of expenditure must be made and then resources allocated proportionately. Typical costs are described below.

    • Stand Costs. Consider space, stand design and construction, electricity, water, waste, gas, graphics, furniture, floor covering, equipment, floral decorations, transportation, lifting and handling costs, telephone and fax connections, insurance, storage and security.

    • Staff and Stand Running Costs. These may include staff training, hotel accommodations, staff uniforms, exhibitors badges and passes, catering and hospitality.

    • Promotional Costs. Budget for preparation and production of press information; rental of rooms for press conferences and seminars; design and production of sales literature; pre-show publicity, including design, production, postage, mailing list preparation and/or rental from a commercial list provider; sponsorship of fair events on web sites; fair-linked advertising such as gifts, souvenirs and stand photography.

    Q. What are the keys to success for an exporter at a trade fair?

    Research has revealed that a majority of buyers use trade fairs as a primary source of information when making annual buying decisions. A firm's stand illustrates the capabilities, efficiency and commitment of the firm. The exporter should think of the stand as an introduction, and the means of making a good first impression, essential to attracting potential customers. Firms with limited space can compete in the trade fair arena by using good design techniques and a well-trained staff. There are simple techniques that can be used by small firms to make a strong impression.

    The trade fair stand is an expression of the firm and should be designed to rapidly convey its image. The stand must make a strong visual impact on the visitor at a glance. It must perform the dual role of being an effective showcase for the firm's products and services, and at the same time an efficient platform for demonstrations, discussions and sales. Research has shown that firms exhibiting at trade fairs have approximately seven seconds to capture the interest of passers-by.

    Furniture has a significant effect on the overall image of the stand. Chairs make a stand less dynamic; the objective is not to provide an oasis for trade fair participants who are tired and need a quick rest.

    Professional, well-designed literature should be available. Well-displayed literature can be the focal point for a stand, allowing people to browse and learn about what a firm has to offer.

    The stand must not look cluttered. It must have enough room for people to come in and look at products displayed. If a demonstration is needed, the stand must be large enough for a sufficient number of people to have a clear view.

    If possible, encourage people to handle products. A product which can not be handled should not be displayed, as it makes buyers wary.

    The key to success lies with the staff present. Staff must be friendly, approachable and well-informed about the firm's products and services.