When you attend an exhibition, there are usually two choices: shell scheme or space-only. Shell scheme means you’re given a structure from which to work; essentially a box that you can fill. It’s likely many others at the exhibition will have that same box…the same height, width and overall look and feel.

The shell scheme option could be a cheaper one but you generally get what you pay for. Don’t get me wrong; shell scheme serves a purpose. It can give you a platform at the exhibition you need to be at. That said, it could be limiting in terms of how you present your space and, in hand, your brand.

Shell scheme has the potential to look cheap if not dressed properly (this task is usually carried out by the sales team who should be concentrating on the job at hand – selling), it’s much harder to stand out from the crowd and you have far less flexibility in terms of what you can achieve, practically and aesthetically. Some trade shows even have stringent rules on what you can and can’t do with the shell you have paid good money for, taking away your creative control from the get-go.

Then you’ve got the bespoke option. With this, you pay for floor space, however much you need/can afford and you have the freedom to do whatever you want (within reason of course) within that space.

It goes without saying that this freedom is a major plus point. If you opt for a bespoke exhibition stand, its entire purpose will be to serve you at the show. You can design it in a way that works best for your brand, your product, your service and your potential customers.

If you choose to go for a custom exhibition stand, the likelihood is you’ll employ a professional contractor for the design and build. The beauty here is, they are the experts and they can help you achieve a bespoke stand that’s right for your business. You’ll provide a brief, based on what you hope to achieve from attending the show, and they will (hopefully) wow you with a stand that can do just that.

The design of an exhibition stand is super important (read our Exhibition Stand Design Trends and Planning Your Next Exhibition Stand articles). It’s what will set you apart from your competitors. Every company is unique and stands should reflect that. With a carefully thought-out design, you can create impact and intrigue. The correct use of colours, graphics, materials and the latest cutting edge trends can help to stop visitors in their tracks and make them pay attention to your stand. Attending an exhibition isn’t about blending in, it’s about making a statement and you can only really do that with a custom build.

It’s not just the ‘look’ that you can tailor with a bespoke exhibition stand – it’s the practical elements too. Do you need meeting areas? Do you need comfortable seating? What about lighting? What about storage for your products and promotional giveaways? With a bespoke stand, you can have it exactly how you desire, down to the very last detail. You want an interactive hologram? You got it!

I think visitors and exhibitors alike would agree that in most cases bespoke stands look more professional. One look at a custom built stand and you can tell that company means business. And if they’re taking it seriously, there’s more chance potential customers will take them seriously. Perceptions matter. It’s also important that your sales team have a space from which they are proud to sell from.

A slightly less glamorous, but oh so significant benefit is that a bespoke exhibition stand can be used again, as opposed to the shell which stays put, ready for the next show. That means, if you’re planning to attend another event, or 10 more, you can put it in storage and wheel it out again. In fact, MxL has been storing and installing the same stand for a company for almost 15 years. Think of the money they have saved!

So when you’ve bitten the bullet and decided you’re going to make your mark at an exhibition, make sure you give your product or service the platform it deserves. You’re paying a lot of money to be there, so you may as well make it worth your while.

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