Tips To Take Advantage Of The Middle East Coatings Show Dubai 2018

For almost 25 years now (since 1993), the Middle East Coatings Show has been the go-to show for those who supply the raw materials and/or manufacture the equipment for the coatings industry. Consider it to be an annual meeting place in the Middle East region, one that you should look forward to for obvious reasons. And if you do decide to exhibit, here’s how you could get the most out of your participation:

Pre-Show

Have your objectives in black & white – Whether you want to meet new prospects or showcase a new product to your existing clients, or simply plan to increase your brand recall value, make sure you are done identifying your goals before the show. Only then can you make the most out of any show; the Middle East Coatings Show (MECS) Dubai 2018 is no exception.

Forge some social connections – Of course, you’d be following up with the prospects after the show; every exhibitor does that, but it is even more important to connect with them before the show. Use social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to your advantage – follow them and get the word out – let them know that you are exhibiting at the show, and do anything and everything to make a lasting impression. The endgame is to ensure that they remember you, should they attend.

Bonus Tip – You could announce your participation on different social media platforms and even let the prospects know your stand number, using the hashtag #MECS18. It’s also a good idea to use the show’s social media channels to get as much exposure as possible.

No shortcuts please – You may be tempted to send the same message to your prospects that you would to your customers, but please don’t do so. Tailor your marketing communication for your own good – when a custom message can do wonders, why not use one?
During the Show

Get your staff all prepped up – Whether you are thinking of sending your internal staff for manning the stand or have a team of sales professionals on board, who could crack a deal or two, make sure they are already with the answers to the possible questions. It’s advisable to send over experts so as to show off your knowledge and expertise, and of course get an edge over the competition. Whoever is at the stand should have undergone some sort of training, or else they may end up warding off the prospects, unknowingly.

Again, do everything you can – As discussed, don’t resort to shortcuts. Speaker sessions, for instance, can be overwhelming, but if you are at the show, better grab the chance, and convince the visitors that your products and services are indeed better than that of the competition. Product demos could also be of great help, even more, if you have recently launched a new one.

Wow with technology – Your prospects, especially the millennials, will come your way, only if you give them a reason to – technology does just that – with interactive screens and AR and VR, you could be the crowd magnet at the Middle East Coatings Show (MECS) Dubai 2018. Isn’t that what you want?

Post Show

Thank your prospects – Even those who didn’t turn up should feel like they missed out on something important; do it in a subtle yet clever way. Also, email all of your databases and use social media to express gratitude. Those who visited you at the show made it a success for you and must be thanked. And yes, do pick up the phone and start with the follow-ups as soon as you are back from the show.

5 Tips To Make The Most Out Of Your Outdoor Event

An outdoor event is certainly a breath of fresh air, a much-needed one, especially if you have been exhibiting out of convention centers for long, but then, it does have its share of challenges as well, which must be addressed. Here is how you could do it, and get the most out of any outdoor event that you decide to be a part of:

Make an informed choice

Not every event can help you meet your core objectives – the objectives of participating in the first place – outdoor events are no exception – more so because they have their own limitations. For instance, if your products are more technology or engineering oriented, it’s better than you look for one of those conventional options, and give the outdoor event a miss, at least for now. There’s no point in hitting the outdoors if your objectives can’t be met. Don’t do it just for the sake of it.

Find out all there’s to know

Are there some permits that you need to acquire? If yes, then how do you apply for them? And what kind of amenities are on offer? More importantly, as you would with an indoor facility, try and develop a clear understanding of anything and everything that could be a deal-breaker; you don’t want any last-minute surprises, do you? Likewise, if there are USPs, find out; you could very well plan to cash in on them, but only if you know, right?

Have a backup plan ready

Not trying to scare you off or something, but an inclement weather could cut short your event before you even start. It’s important that you keep a tab on the weather and plan well in advance – what would you do if it rains – does your booth have sufficient coverage? And what if the event is canceled? What would you then? Is there an alternate arrangement in place? If not, think of one.

Don’t underplay

Events warrant the use of equipment – the same goes for the outdoor ones – you need lighting, sound systems, Wi-Fi and a lot of other things that should be arranged for. However, now that you are exhibiting outdoor, you may also want to take along extension cords, duct tape and sync cords – things that could really come in handy.

Make the visitors feel comfortable

Just because you are exhibiting in a relatively new environment, doesn’t mean you’d pass the buck to your visitors – they are at an event and they expect comfort – indoors or outdoors, it really doesn’t matter- give them what they want. Arrange for suitable seating and find out if the sanitation facilities have been taken care of. Oddly enough, you may also have to check the pest control status – horseflies are such a buzzkill. Do you get the drift?

Tip: Play safe; have some hand wipes and sanitizer and perhaps a bug spray on you.

Don’t be intimidated – just cover your bases, and you are good to go – Mother nature has a lot to offer – are you game?

Exhibition Stands: Then And Now – The Evolution!

Exhibition stands have come a long way – they are nothing like they used to be. In fact, the exhibitors have been quite experimental with their shapes & styles, designs, materials, lighting and technology, and anything and everything.

Shapes & Styles

The days of trying too hard for the so-called cool exhibition stands are long gone; today, the exhibitors are smart enough to realise that if they come up with a stand that provides a comprehensive overview of the equipment, the solutions, and more importantly, their brand, the attendees will come and visit of their own accord. Booth designers too have started emphasizing the need to build stands that are highly functional and in sync with the what the customers demand or expect. Some other factors that have crept in over the years, for good, include but may not be limited to:

– The need to understand the theme or the very purpose of the exhibition. For instance, those in the  HVAC industry mostly go for insular and/or peninsular stands. They are unlikely to go for anything quirky, and would rather invest in a high-tech stand, one with a minimalistic and simple design.

– Bulky awkward constructions have also been let go. Instead, the focus now lies on providing a suitable environment for work and negotiations; anything that could act as an obstruction is a big no-no.

– The features of the product or the equipment on display seem to have taken over. The shapes of the stands nowadays give a clear picture of what’s in store for the visitors.

– The use of 2-level stands is also on the rise. They have always been there, but their use is more common now. Even today, the exhibitors believe that a second floor can give them more room for talks and in-booth meetings with the VIP visitors, but then, they don’t let their budgets take a hit; such floors are only constructed if the investment is worth its salt.

Materials and Decoration

Well, the materials in use are pretty much the same, but they are being taken advantage of in newer forms. Wood, for example, is widely used even today, but the emphasis is on putting its derivatives like fiberboard and chipboard to good use. Also, the modern equipment makes it possible for the designer(s) or the carpenters to get the wood cut and processed with higher accuracy. Again, not much has changed in this context; even good old sheet metal is still widely popular, and so is aluminum. Having said that, the all-glass stands are increasing in number, but then many also condemn them citing safety issues. Here are some more changes that have taken place in the recent times:

– The classical technique of painting the stand has been shown the door. No one wants to putty the surface and work on alignment and priming; the designers today have the resources to do a much better job. They are often seen resorting to decorative plastics, laminates, polystyrene and even composite materials that go down well with the intensive lighting.

– While printing has been in use since time immemorial, it has more or less evolved – exhibitors now prefer direct UV printing on PVC, metal, chipboard, and believe it or not, the carpeting.

– Live and artificial plants are being increasingly used for decoration as they make the booth more inviting.

Lighting

This element has also undergone a drastic change from how it was perceived say a couple of years back. The focus these days is on reducing the eye strain and making the stand more comfortable for not only those who occupy it, i.e. the exhibitors and their staffers but also for the visitors. For this very purpose, the designers are increasingly using floodlighting, in addition to the fluorescent lamps that can be seen almost everywhere. The idea here is to smooth out the contrast between light and shadow, thereby making it easier for everyone to get a better view of the products. And of course, LED systems are the need of the hour – LED searchlights, LED spotlights, and LED backlight strips – they are all now an integral part of the stand design.

There have been quite a few other changes as well – in terms of multimedia, and even more surprisingly, the human factor. Virtual reality and robots are more common than ever, but yes, if they are attracting the visitors, who’re complaining?

 

Ways To Avoid Graphic Design Disasters At Trade Shows

Graphic Design Disasters Could Be Your Biggest Pitfall. Tread With Care At The Next Trade Show!

A picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t paint a grim one, especially when you are investing your time, money and effort in an exhibit. You want to attract the visitors and not unknowingly shoo them away. Act like it. Be wary of graphic design disasters, err on the side of caution.

The visitors shouldn’t have a hard time finding you

Your graphics should make you stand out. Camouflaging is a big no-no, and so is obscuration. You don’t want anything to get in the way of the visitors’ sightline, right? That’s because it’s imperative that they see (and understand) the message that you are trying to convey. And how do you ensure that?

By taking the following into consideration before you visualize how your stand would actually look like, once the show begins and the visitors come on over:

– The floorplan
– The entrances
– The location of the theatres/seminar halls, if any
– The stands that surround you

Once you have the information with you, work on displaying your message in such a way that it vehemently catches the visitors’ attention. Yes, booking larger stand spaces is always a good idea, but more space doesn’t necessarily save your message from concealment, height does. Take full advantage of the airspace above the stand. Although hanging impactful banners up there should serve the purpose, you can always ask your designer to help you with stand-supported high-level signs, just to be on the safe side. There you go – these long-range graphics will signpost your stand – the visitors would now find it easier to find you. Pun intended!

Be quick; the visitors won’t wait forever

3 seconds to be precise – that’s how long they’ll be there for you to make or break your impression. And the irony is that within these 3 seconds, you need to catch their attention, convey what you are trying to say, and leave a mark. Is it really possible? It very much is.

– If your graphics are not mere photos, but bits and pieces of information, they’ll be an important piece of the puzzle. The visitors often wonder what’s in it for them, and that’s exactly the question your graphics should answer.

a. Go for colorful and relevant images and choose legible fonts.

b. A concise copy always helps.

– Implement the hierarchy of graphic communication

a. You now know what the visitors want to see and understand first; prioritize it.

b. Immediately tell them who you are. As soon as they walk in. Using your logo should suffice.

c. What you do should come in second.

d. And if there’s any time or space left, play around with your USPs.

– The more the images, the better

a. Remember, you have only 3 seconds. You need to act quickly. Let images do the work

b. Does your portfolio include any famous brands? If that’s a yes, do use their logos to your advantage.

c. If the visitors recognize these brands, they’ll think highly of you, no matter if they are in direct competition with your customers or have a great deal of similarity – either way, you are in a win-win situation – if you could help your customers, you can also be great help to the visitors (hopeful prospects by now).

Brevity is good, but so is detail

When the 3-second phase is over, it’s up to you how you can make the visitors stay for a longer while – a relatively lengthy and detailed copy could come in handy here – display it on a stand. Just be sure of the placement, understand the zones of your stand, and you are good to go. Use the copy to educate the visitors, and who’s to say, it won’t help you qualify them while you are at it? The endgame is to capture their attention for a few more vital seconds so that your team has a better chance of reaching out to everyone.

It’s also advisable to involve your booth / graphic designer early on so that they develop a clear understanding of your exhibit theme and message right in the beginning, and have enough time on hands to come up with a crowd-pulling stand.

Are Fabric Displays The Game Changers That You Have Been Waiting For?

Pop up stands have been there for ages – in fact, you yourself may have used them at a couple of shows. They are good, aren’t they, but then they do have their share of disadvantages, some of which you may have experienced first hand.

– Have you ever dragged behind a 30kg pop-up stand while walking down a crowded city street, on your way to the exhibition venue? Or did you rather get it transported? If that’s a yes, did the transportation cost add to your already inflated exhibit marketing budget? Either way, wouldn’t you prefer something lighter for a change? Something that weighs far too less?

– What do you usually do when the pop up stand gets all dirty? Just wipe off with a sponge? Easier said than done, dirt and grime are okay, but could a sponge help you with the marks that result from general wear and tear? Not really. The display could use some real-time washing, if not in one of those regular or industrial washing machines, then at least by hand, if it’s way too soiled to be used at your next show.

– If you have been exhibiting for quite some time now, chances are that you already know how to assemble a pop-up, but if you are a first-timer, aligning the graphic panels could be an ordeal. Assembling a pop up stand is no rocket science, agreed, but then a little comfort never hurt anyone.

– Have you ever wondered why the back of your stand doesn’t look attractive as the front? Perhaps you do know that using more than one pop up a stand would serve the purpose, but can you really afford? Shouldn’t you opt for something with a greater deal of flexibility? Makes sense?

– Good or bad, pop up stands won’t vanish into thin air – just not yet. They are affordable, especially in comparison to other available options.

However, if you do decide to splurge a bit more, go for fabric displays – they win hands down – weighing just about 9kgs, these displays are easy to wash, can be assembled without much difficulty even if you have had no prior experience, and let you pull off a 360 degree display – basically, they are the perfect solutions to whatever challenges you face with pop up displays (including the ones already discussed).

And if your designer prints through the fabric using a heat-transfer technique instead of printing on-top of it, you could always use the stand for many more shows to come – the design won’t fade away or crack easily – win-win!