By Marcello Biazolli and Francisco Mistrello
On paper, stand design is all about project management, and detailed schematics but the end product is much more than that. Exhibition stands can be magical places where the public can escape from reality and engage with products and brands. The best exhibition stands create moments of interaction that create valuable brand loyalty.
The client brief is always our starting point. After carefully reviewing the brief we ask clarifying questions and we promote an open dialogue about what the client is trying to achieve. We provoke our clients by challenging them with deliberate and thoughtful questions that make them think differently and stay open to exploring new ideas. We keep going until everyone is on the same page and we get a clear image of our solution. There is no secret formula for success, but it’s crucial that every single team member puts all their energy behind one core concept.
One of our assets is that we bring our clients an external view, an up-to-date view from outside the internal day-to-day scope that is not restricted by internal policies. We use informal focus groups to explore the target market, sometimes with members of our own team. We are fortunate to work with a diverse group of people from all over the world, that allows for cross-pollination of ideas across the whole company; a huge asset for us.
When we present our solution we go beyond the brief…often way beyond the brief. We may suggest something provocative that is outside of the client’s comfort zone. This is exactly what’s needed to provoke meaningful emotions. After all, this is what our clients ask for. The client is, of course, always right. Fortunately for us, it’s almost always when we do go way beyond the brief that clients really get excited about the solutions we create.
This was just the case when we created the Microsoft’s Xbox stand at Brasil Game Show. This award-winning stand included, among many opportunities for Xbox playing games, an opportunity to jump from a tower into a ball pit. This was definitely not what our client had in mind, but we saw the reaction from the public queueing up just to make the jump, we were certain that this is a winning concept.
Our litmus test is simple. We ask our clients, and other team members, if they’re excited to experience the stand themselves. If we don’t get an unequivocal, “yes!”, then we go back to the drawing board. A “maybe” or, “I think so…”, is just not good enough. A response of, “not me, but I think our clients would like this”, is also a clear sign that we are not quite there yet.
The end result must get a “thumbs up” from everyone involved. When Voqers become fans of the brand we know we’ve done something right. And when the show opens we can see the reaction from the public. We can witness the emotions they live through and this makes us very happy. It gives us the energy to keep innovating and creating better stands year after year.
We believe that our stands have a VOQIN’ DNA. They are thought-provoking, fun, engaging and most importantly, they come alive with energy and emotions. Our clients’ stands are always busy, which our clients absolutely love. We’ve won numerous stand design awards and we believe this is why our clients come to us again and again.
Over the years, stand design has changed and adapted to both our clients’ desires and the response we get from the public. Often there is a need to do more with less. One way we do this is by connecting unrelated clients through partnership opportunities. One successful example where we leverage this was at our 50 year Camaro Launch Experience. Here we worked with another client (Microsoft) to provide us with driving simulator stations to entertain our guests, through an immersive virtual experience, while they waited for their turn on the real race track.
Fortunately not all trends are about smaller budgets. We’ve seen many more brands embrace playful theme park style activations with multiple activities. We’ve also seen a greater focus on sharing content and providing value to the public. With the rise of social media, there is a constant need for stimulation and creating “instagrammable” moments that compel the public to share their experience online. We always embrace this opportunity and understand that we must be able to surprise the public so that they feel compelled to post about the experience on social media.
It’s always a good sign when our whole team is eager to work on stand design projects. No matter what job role they have, they are always keen to contribute. As Voqers, we’re always looking for the best ways to provoke meaningful emotions. This is very important to us and we simply can’t wait to help our clients tackle their next stand design challenge.