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Fine Food 2012 – An Engaging Experience

by daniel

Online sourcing, emailed newsletters/trade journals, and targeted search-related advertising have all put pressure on the traditional trade show model, and it's no surprise that many long running trade shows in Australia are struggling (Retail Expo, anyone??) One trade show that continually bucks this trend is Fine Food. As Fine Food Melbourne 2012 wraps up, it's a perfect time to look back on the show and ask the wider question, how can an exhibitor get the most out of their trade show attendance, and specifically, drawing visitors to your display. There are many great articles that humble even the most prepared and proactive exhibitor (we love this post by Steve Blank), but we're focussing here just on your display. A great trade show needs to blend the right mix of brand promotion, product display and functionality. Regular visitors to Mills Display stands in the past will attest to our less-than-ideal result, where we tried to cram a representative of every product across our 3,000 SKU range. The pendulum can swing too far the other way where at best a visitor will make the effort to visit an esoteric, perhaps even surrealist-inspired stand, just to find out what you do (and for every visitor who bothers to do this, imagine how many thousands don't). Fine Food Melbourne 2012 was our most successful show ever. Of course it helps that we can design and build our own stands in house (and we'd love to do the same for you too - just ask!) but the principle is that it's an effort that draws in staff from across the business to a project everyone can get behind. Management to Sales to Design to Manufacturing: it's one of the most rewarding times of the year. The result: an antique refrigerator straight out of a 1950's diner refurbished with LED strip lights, with a clear acrylic side showcasing our brand new and world-beating gravity fed system (Waveflo). Add to that a beautiful fire-engine-red push bike, retro flooring, pre-printed 'capability bags' and a lolly-dispenser to die for (or at least single-handedly alienate the entire Melbourne University Dental School). You know you've created an engaging stand when visitors constantly try and purchase your exhibition displays. The lesson for us is that if you can settle on an engaging concept that your whole company can get behind, generating real enthusiasm and interest, that becomes infectious and will transfer to your staff on the stand and the visitors walking by.

This article was published on Monday 11 February, 2013.
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