Many businesses display at trade shows and exhibitions as part of their corporate, overarching marketing strategy.  These exhibitions can carry quite a heavy financial investment, so it is important to get the most from these opportunities. In order to ensure a good return on your advertising outlay at these events, you should consider all the exhibition display options and choose the most effective for your business.

Most exhibition organisers will give you the choice of options for your display stand and space – a shell scheme stand, or a space only stand.

Here is a brief guide as to the advantages, or otherwise, of each option:

Shell scheme stands

Shell scheme stand design usually consists of three walls, or modular panels, supported by a poled frame. This will often be complemented across the top with a fascia board displaying the company name. This basically provides the blank canvas for you to dress accordingly for your corporate display. Whether you choose to light your ‘set’ and, if so in what fashion, is down to your own shell scheme stand design. The stand will normally have access to electrical sockets and you may want to provide different display equipment to help showcase your business.

The individual panels of your stand can be decorated with your chosen shell scheme graphics, so ensure you are aware of all the panel sizes and formats before undertaking your display designs. Consider the promotional materials you want to include on your shell scheme stand – pop-up displays, banner stands, A-boards, brochure and leaflet holders and any furniture you may need.

You can make your stand as corporate and formal as you like – alternatively you may want to provide carpet and chairs for prospective visitors to sit and browse your promotional offerings in a more convivial, informal environment – it all depends on the nature of the display you think is most appropriate for your business.

Space only stands

This, effectively, is a ‘naked’ space – you rent the floor space and have free rein to use it as you wish. This option is really for those companies who are looking for a more bespoke exhibition and who want to use their own pre-designed exhibition stands. These exhibition stand designs have often been custom-built and may be used at numerous exhibitions or business events. Planning, preparation and budget for dressing a space only stand is greater than for the more prescriptive shell scheme stands, but offers greater scope for variety in the display.

The appeal of a space only stand is that you can design your display from scratch, using whatever materials, props and furniture you wish. The use of a custom-built, or semi-custom built display stand often gives a more professional and high-end impression and will stand out from the more formulated and repetitive shell scheme stands.

This exclusivity though, obviously, comes at a cost, so budget may dictate which option you choose. A space only stand will likely require the use of professional exhibition services in the form of an exhibition design and build contractor, who will cater for all aspects of the exhibition stand design and appearance. Although this carries a financial overhead, it does offer a professional-looking and quality stand, and free your staff up to concentrate on the business of promoting your products and services.

Your exhibition stand should promote your brand by displaying your corporate name, logo, colours and images – and have all your corporate marketing and promotional materials available to distribute to visitors.

Both exhibition stand options have their benefits – you should have a clear plan of what your aims and objectives of the trade show are, and plan your display options accordingly.

Trade show and exhibition planning checklist

If you plan your trade show events properly, they can be a very effective marketing vehicle for your business. We’ve put together everything you need to know in our planning checklist.

Read our exhibition planning checklist

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