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You’re not alone.
There are varying degrees of shoddiness; some might be more tolerable than others. If you’ve experienced any of the following, then it could be a sign you need a new exhibition stand designer. Here’s a list of the most common scenarios we hear about along with some helpful tips and pointers.
9 signs you need a new exhibition stand designer
We’re not talking small ones, either. How you can lose a 6m x 6m stand defies us, but it has happened to one of our most recent customers. It wasn’t the first time some of their exhibition stand went missing, either.
If you’ve paid for a stand, furniture, shelving and countless extra stuff and then entrusted your exhibition stand builders to look after it when it’s not in use, then it should still be there!
If they can’t even look after the whereabouts of your stand, then maybe it’s time for you to upsticks too.
Tip: If you’re not using your stand frequently, we’d recommend looking at stand hire; that way you can keep it fresh and built to the space you’ve hired and, most importantly, you will have peace of mind it will all be there on the big day.
This is a big one and shows up in varying degrees.
Exhibition stands arriving in the hall for build, not finished and a missing team through to feeling like your pound isn’t worth the same as the newest, shiniest cool brand your exhibition designer has just won and subsequently made you to feel you don’t matter to them.
One client said she felt the office dog got prioritised ahead of her. That must’ve hurt!
Tip: When looking for a new exhibition designer, consider the types of clients and stands they build. Are the stands comparable in style to yours, are the clients in similar industry or size?
Finding an exhibition designer who works with businesses that have commonalities has advantages.
They may understand the challenges of your day to day responsibilities and will have processes in place to make the planning, design and installation easier for you.
Ask them about their support and service, so you know what to expect.
Expensive and unclear
We’ve all bought gig tickets thinking it’s one price when it’s quite another when we come to pay with the extra charges chucked on top. “We loved the design they showed us and then realised half of it wasn’t included in the price. It was infuriating and disappointing rolled into one” said one client to Dave.
This client felt they were so far down the road and the deadline was approaching, they had to just go with it. Not only that, they’d signed up for a run of stands with the exhibition company.
Tip: A good brief which includes information about the budget can set the expectations from the outset.
We regularly help marry budget and vision, articulating what might not be possible and presenting a solution that will look great and work financially.
You didn’t like what you saw
“It just wasn’t what we envisaged or wanted at all”.
But, by that time you saw it, you were in the exhibition hall the day before the exhibition.
“We’ve seen this play out for real on stands around us. It’s excruciating watching you try and tune out the awkward conversation taking place. says Dave.
Tip: Work with an exhibition company who will pre-build your stand. “We know it’s one of the biggest worries for you, so we fully pre-build every stand in our workshop before the exhibition and invite you to come in and see it.
If there is anything you need to tweak or change, then you’ve the opportunity to do so before ‘the big day’.
We can see the weight lifting off their shoulders as a client see’s their stand for the first time. No joke, we even had one client almost cry”, says Dave.
There is more than one type of stand in the world. In fact, every stand should be individual. If you’ve excitedly opened your email to see a long anticipated visual to see the same as you’ve always had or been massively underwhelmed with a stand with zero creativity and an off the shelf vibe, then escape whilst you can!
Insight: A good design is a combination of understanding the event, you, your ideas, what you want to achieve from the event in order to create a good brief whilst having an open conversation about budget.
Share your sketches and ideas, it always helps to envisage what you want to achieve. If you go through that process with a good designer (naming no names) you will not get an identikit stand.
You had a good account manager but they left
When you signed up with the exhibition company you had a really good account manager and then they left and it’s never been the same since. The care and attention, quality and the relationship ‘they just really got us’ has disappeared down a black hole, sound familiar? It’s probably time to rethink things.
Insight: You can’t predict a good staff member leaving. On the other hand if you have a different person every time you come to exhibit and the staff turnover is high, that might be a red flag about how the company operates: staff morale might be low or their financial position difficult which is worth some investigation from your point-of-view.
Here, at Motive, If we leave, then it’s because we won the lottery and we’re sipping frozen margaritas on a desert island somewhere, because, otherwise, your project is always overseen here from start to finish by one of the three owners.
Graphics that won’t stay up
One of our loveliest clients talked about how she had inherited an exhibition stand as part of her new role. She told us the first couple of exhibitions were a nightmare as all the graphics kept peeling off the walls and they kept having to restick them any way they could.
By the end of the exhibition they looked a total mess.
Eventually, someone in her team said it was time to change things, as it was stressing her out so much.
She had been reluctant to move to a new exhibition designer as she knew how much had been spent on the stand and she felt bad leaving it behind, but eventually, she cracked. A decision she never regretted!
Tip: Don’t accept some random explanation. There is no legitimate excuse or reason any exhibition company can conjure up that will cover this, unless there was an act of god (flood, cyclone, that kind of thing). It shouldn’t happen. Ever.
You’re doing all the work
You’re paying for project management but feel like you are doing all the chasing, planning, milestone planning, ringing and emailing.
If you’ve ever said: ‘I don’t know what I am paying for here’ to yourself, team or stand builders, then we’d be putting a new exhibition stand builder on your to-do list.
“I’m reminding our clients when we should be starting to think about the next exhibition, not the other way around. It’s about making your life a bit easier.” says Ed.
Tip: There are differing levels of service across exhibition companies. This may change depending on the option or package you choose.
A good exhibition designer will get a feel for how experienced you are and your workload and build the support around you. “If you’re spinning a lot of plates or new to exhibiting you might appreciate extra support and guidance, and this is where we excel”, says Dave.
Sometimes it is out of your hands and they’ve gone bust…
Finding a really good exhibition firm you got along with like a house on fire only to find they have gone out of business since your last exhibition is soul destroying.
Even more so if you had your stand in storage with them.
Tip: Dave says, “If they alert you they are going into administration, you can liaise to see if another exhibition firm can parachute in and retrieve your stand.
We’ve done this a few times in the past year. It’s never nice to see another exhibition firm go under, especially when it’s one of the good guys”.
Where to go from here
When looking for a new exhibition firm, don’t settle for the first one you phone. Really think about what you loved about the firm and actively seek out someone who you hit it off with and feel comfortable working with.
What bits could’ve been improved? Look to remedy it with the new exhibition firm.
Are you ready to make the change? If so, give us a call. We’re a friendly bunch!
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“The customer service was second to none…”
“The customer service was second to none (after a few bad experiences with other companies, this was a welcome relief).”
“From talking to David about what we needed, to discussing the design with Ed, the administration staff and then having it all set up and taken down by Ed and Max, it was faultless.
Genuinely lovely people who put everything into it and were just easy to work with. Thanks so much, we will be using Motive again!”
Tillie from LuxFilms
David Hennessy is our Managing Director and co-founder of Motive Exhibitions. Based in St Neots we help businesses across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire exhibit across the UK and beyond.