Trade shows and exhibitions are a great way to advertise your company or product, giving you both visibility and credibility in a room full of potential customers. But exhibiting at a trade show can be daunting for even an experienced exhibitor. What should your stand look like? What do you take? We’ll explore the answers to these questions below. 

Why do you want to exhibit?

Before we go any further the first thing you need to do if you are thinking of exhibiting at a trade show is to sit down and consider your why. Why do you want to exhibit? What are you hoping to achieve from an exhibition? What does success look like? Answering these simple questions will help to give you some direction as to how to set up your stand and the kinds of things you may want to take with you in order to achieve your goals. Some examples of reasons why people exhibit at trade shows are:

  1. To strengthen their companies brand
    Exhibiting at a trade show is a great way to add credibility to your brand and be seen as a key player within your industry. A well designed and professional stand reflects well on your brand and company and will help potential customers to feel that you are a business they can trust.

  2. To generate targeted leads
    One of the most common reasons why people exhibit at trade shows is to generate targeted leads. Most trade shows are centred around a theme or industry which means that you can pretty much guarantee that the people in the room are your target market making it a great place position yourself.

  3. To close sales
    For companies that sell products that require little lead time then trade shows can be a great way to close sales and get products moving off the shelves. Many companies offer trader show deals to help close sales quickly on show days. Trade shows can also be great at closing more complex sales as they provide a great way to network with potential customers and to reinforce the value of your product.

  4. To be immersed in the industry
    Although lead generation and sales are both valuable to your business so is being immersed within your industry or sector as this allows you to see where trends are going and to adapt accordingly. Exhibitions offer fantastic networking opportunities and possibilities to create new strategic partnerships.

What should your stand look like?

Your exhibition stand is your chance to stand out from the crowd, it should be on brand and attractive and give passers-by enough information for them to understand what you do and what you have on offer. In an age where people are surrounded by visual media, a dull exhibition stand is not going to attract the attention of passers-by and you could lose out on some potential face to face contact. Some key things to consider when designing your stand include:

  1. The structure
    Your architectural structure is the backbone of your stand and so it’s important to consider how you want your stand to look as well as how easy it will be to erect. 71% of marketers agree that the least amount of budget should be spent on the underlying architecture of an exhibition stand because although it is important it doesn’t attract attention in itself. One way to make sure you don’t spend excess on your structure is to make sure that it can be used for multiple stand designs.

  2. The branding
    If there’s one thing you must get right on your stand it’s the portrayal of your brand. Your brand is what makes you unique and will make you recognisable from afar. A well-branded stand should be instantly recognisable and portray all of the key elements of your brand message. When thinking about the branding of your stand also take into consideration the uniforms of your staff and any materials you may be handing out to ensure they all align. 

  3. The knowledge you wish to impart for visitors to take away

Most exhibition stands tell the story of a company or their product so think carefully about the knowledge you want to impart on your visitors, what do you want them to take away? Do you want them to learn the features of your product? To see your company values? To read a testimony or a quote? Whatever it may be ensure to have it on your stand in pride of place and consider whether something interactive like a TV would help to better impart your message.

What to take with you 

This list would probably be shorter if we focused on what not to take with you to an exhibition, and in all seriousness, there can be a lot to remember. What you need to take with you to an exhibition will depend a little on the duration of the show, how many people you have with you and if you have help setting up your stand but we’ll try to cover the essentials below. 

  • Your stand and graphics or any pop-up banners (don’t forget these!)

  • Any portable displays such as a leaflet or business card holder

  • Chargers, batteries and extension leads (have you paid for a socket?)

  • Sellotape, Blu-Tack and pins for last-minute fixes

  • Scissors or a cutting knife just incase

  • Pens and paper for notes 

  • Your laptop or tablet (Do you have wifi?)

Sales materials and stationary
  • Visitor incentives such as gifts and freebies, for more promotional ideas, click here

  • Business cards

  • Flyers, leaflets & brochures

  • Forms for prospective customers’ details

  • Promotional offers

For you and your staff
  • Your exhibitor badges

  • Food & water

  • Comfortable shoes 

  • Tissues (you never know)

  • Wet wipes (perfect for a freshen up)

  • Chairs or stools if not provided

  • A camera to capture moments for social media 

  • A big smile!

If your show is for more than one day and you’re also staying overnight then there may be a few other things to add to this list and you’ll want to remember to bring plenty of changes of clothes to always feel fresh and your best. 


Exhibiting at a show can be a really a fun and exciting way to promote your brand, smile, be energetic, engage with passers-by and be genuine and the sales leads will come to you.