Wednesday 31 May 2017

Don’t miss our Great Stand Giveaways! How to stay in visitors’ minds long after your event

 How many times have you attended a trade show, only to return to the office weighed down with expensively heavy printed brochures and more branded pens than you could ever use in just the one lifetime?

We know.  We’ve been there, too.  Which is why we’ve decided to use this week’s post to convince your business to ban those free pens at your next exhibition, once and for all!   

When done well, giveaways are a fantastic way to generate goodwill and get visitors smiling, which translates to a fantastic impression for you and your brand, and could result in plenty of extra business.

The first step to a great stand giveaway

It’s important to think creatively about your customer base.  Trust us, an original item that’s genuinely fun, or genuinely useful (preferably both!) that also represents you and your brand will definitely draw in visitors, and you’ll find you remain in their thoughts long after the show has finished – making it far easier to follow up on prospects later on!
(Just remember not to get too ambitious…after all, that life-sized cutout of your MD may have seemed like a fun idea at the time, but who’s actually going to carry it around all day?)

If you’re struggling for innovative ideas, read on for some of our top giveaway tips:

Think of something unique 

Have a brainstorming session with your team, where you throw around ideas related not only to your business, but something unique to your customer base.  Link back to your brand messaging and your product or service’s USPs, and then let your imagination run wild!

Give something people will actually use

“People will always use pens,” we’ve heard some companies say, but now we’re storing everything in the cloud that’s far less true than it used to be, so think again!  How about a eco-friendly tote bag instead, some branded teabags or jars of good coffee?

Try something quirky

If the idea works with your company, a T-shirt featuring a witty slogan should get people talking!  If you can relate it back to your brand, product or service in some way, all the better.

      Make good use of tech

We don’t know many people who don’t love gadgets, so how about a branded USB stick or a battery phone charger?  A travel alarm clock might work well here, too.

The ‘keep it on the desk’ challenge

The Holy Grail for giveaways is something people will keep in plain sight while they’re working!  Branded Post-Its or notepads are often a great way to sneak onto your visitors’ desks.

On a practical note…

We’ve seen many a company come up with a fantastic, high-quality giveaway, only to find they’ve got no room on their stand for them, so everything looks cluttered and unprofessional.

So…make sure you’ve got proper room for whatever you’re giving out.  Make your giveaways as high-quality as possible, particularly in their design and colour, and use bags to give them out if you can, too – this results in handy extra branding as people browse the rest of the show! 

If you’d rather not hand anything out, or you have a limited budget, running a prize draw or serving free coffee at your stand (as long as it’s the good stuff!) can also be very effective.

We hope we’ve given you plenty ideas for your next exhibition…think of our advice as a free giveaway, if you like!  And remember, as part of the service we provide, our team here at Guardian Exhibition & Display can take delivery of your chosen giveaways and bring them to you on the day, meaning they’ll be nice and safe as you get on with organising the rest of your event.

Simply contact us (here) if you’d like to know any more about the friendly, professional and experienced exhibition and display services we provide.

Friday 19 May 2017

How to attract - and engage with! - your exhibition visitors

If you work in sales or marketing, it’s likely you’ve got what’s commonly known as the “gift of the gab”.  That wonderful, charming ability to speak eloquently and fluently, making people feel completely at their ease from the moment you begin talking to them. 

No?  Well, even if you do have the gift of the gab, finding the opportunity to put it into practice at an exhibition can be insanely hard, with so many visitors milling around and so many other businesses looking to grab their attention.

So how can you effectively attract visitors to your stand, then keep them nicely engaged while they’re there? 

Luckily, our friendly team here at Guardian Exhibition & Display have got plenty of experience helping clients boost their brand at trade events all over the world, and we’ve managed to boil those all-important laws of visitor attraction and engagement down to three key elements:

Stand, Staff and Service.

Allow us to explain…

We deal in dazzling displays, so you might expect us to stress the importance of an eye-catching stand, but trust us, it is important. 

Think about it – your stand is the first thing that will catch visitors’ eyes as they scan the exhibition room, looking for people and businesses to talk to.  So it makes sense to plan your stand out well.  It has to be friendly, and it has to grab attention right from the first glance. 

Bright graphics can help you stand out, along with TV screens and moving images to add a spark of immediate interest.

(If you’re confused about what type of stand would work best for your business, we’ve written extensively on the subject in previous blog posts.  If you haven’t got time to read, why not give us a call for a chat instead?)


There isn’t much that’s more off-putting at an event than staff who dither, clearly unsure as to why they’re there.  So make sure your team understand your company’s event objective right from the off.  Are you looking to increase sign-ups, for example, or perhaps you’re promoting a specific product or service? 

If possible, run a briefing session beforehand so your team know what they should be speaking to visitors about, and what kind of approach they should make.  It’s so easy to think that all you need to do is turn up and get talking, but clear focus will win the day…not to mention more business.

On event day, run a stand rota system with shifts for everyone, including plenty of time for breaks.  Exhibitions can be hard work, especially if you’re there all day, so you need to make sure every member of your team is naturally upbeat, complete with an easy and approachable smile. 

Ensure breaks are taken away from your display area if possible – staff eating at their exhibition stand looks sloppy and awkward.

Lastly, equip your team with a uniform, or a branded outfit at least.  This isn’t only useful for on-stand interactions, but when they’re off grabbing a coffee they can still promote your business with ease!


It goes without saying that visitors should be greeted with a friendly smile.  But there are plenty of other easy things you can do to ensure their interaction with you is memorable.  For instance, why not offer a drink and somewhere to sit while you chat with them?  Simple courtesies like these can go a very long way indeed.

You can also run branded competitions to add an injection of fun, which also gives you a great excuse to take visitors’ details and follow up later on! 

You may well have grasped by now that the possibilities for visitor attraction and engagement at trade events are almost endless.  If you find yourself stuck or confused about which would work best for your business, then why not make good use of our experience?  Simply get in contact for our friendly and expert team to help you relieve any exhibition-related exhaustion!

Friday 12 May 2017

A Handy Exhibition Venue Guide to… Old Billingsgate

There are a few things that most people already know about Old Billingsgate.  For example, that the building was originally home to a bustling fish market – the world’s largest fish market, in fact – back in the 19th century. 

Fast-forward to the 21st century, and this stunning Grade II Victorian building steeped in historic heritage holds more than a few contemporary surprises! 

No longer a fresh fish empire, these days Old Billingsgate regularly hosts the cream of royalty, celebrity and enterprise in over 70,000 sq ft of adaptable, purpose-built event space that boasts some of the very best transport links around. 

Not only that, but Old Billingsgate’s Thames-fronting terrace is hard to beat for exceptional views of London at its cultural best, with London Bridge, The Shard and HMS Belfast displayed in all their dazzling glory. 

So come with us – and don’t forget your camera – as we take you on a tour of this truly magnificent venue!

©Old Billingsgate

A brief history

Old Billingsgate Market was once, famously, the only place to go for fresh fish. The largest market of its kind, the bewitching building became and still remains a true landmark that forms a crucial part of London’s heritage.

It was in 1982 that the fish market was relocated to a new site on the Isle of Dogs, and the intended purpose of the original building was for office accommodation.  However, the huge potential to showcase events in one of the most imposing and well-connected spaces in London was soon spotted, and there began Old Billingsgate’s dramatic transformation.

Now one of the most prestigious and versatile venues for conferences, events, parties and shows, Old Billingsgate encompasses three stunning spaces with facilities to suit any event, not to mention a terrace featuring unrivalled London views.

The venue’s three event spaces are The Grand Hall, with its triple-height ceiling, feature mezzanine and sky-lit ceiling, The Vault, featuring vaulted ceilings and exposed brickwork, and the sleek, modern Gallery.  The spaces can be hired separately or together, so no matter how large or small your event, you can be sure it will be perfectly accommodated.

Notable events

With its unique atmosphere steeped in history and style, Old Billingsgate has earned its reputation as one of the quirkiest and most flexible event spaces around.  Intimate musical performances are regularly staged here, as are cutting-edge conferences such as FinTech, and recent events such as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cook-off, featuring Britain’s top chefs joining Britain’s top CEOs in a kitchen-based battle!

Getting there

Old Billingsgate couldn’t be more conveniently situated, with an iconic position right in the heart of the City, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge on the Thames.  The nearest mainline station is Fenchurch Street, and the nearest Tubes Monument and Bank – and you can also easily reach the venue by air and river!

There are a selection of easily accessible car, van, coach and lorry parks near the venue, for easy loading and unloading of equipment and yourselves.


Old Billingsgate comes extremely well-equipped with everything an event could possibly need, with a dedicated on-site team to take control of technical issues, sound, lighting, and security.  Catering is also on hand for large and small groups of every description.

The venue is an extremely popular location for filming too, and offers its own dedicated brochure for any would-be Steven Spielbergs!

What else is available for exhibitors?

Flexibility is the buzzword at Old Billingsgate, with its spaces not only equipped with everything an exhibitor could need, but with so much exceptional versatility in where and how you can exhibit.  Three distinct spaces offer individual atmosphere, whilst throughout the building there is a fusion of historic character and contemporary charm that is genuinely unique.

©Old Billingsgate
 Can we help you with any questions about Old Billingsgate?  Here at Guardian Exhibition and Display, we’re old hands at helping our clients showcase their brands with display materials to rival the showiest of show spaces – and we’d love to talk about how we can do exactly the same for you.  Simply contact us to start a conversation.

Monday 8 May 2017

Renting or Buying...Which Display Stand Option is Best for Your Business?

To buy or not to buy?  That is the question…and it’s one we’re regularly asked here at Guardian Exhibition & Display, as businesses of all shapes and sizes consider their event display needs in serious detail. While we’re definitely not financial advisors, we do know a thing or two about investing in business-boosting exhibitions with an informative and memorable display stand.  Seeing as more and more clients have been asking for our advice on this very subject, this week we’ve decided to put our expertise to good use with a few hints.

An opening question to consider…

The first thing we tend to ask clients who are pondering whether to rent or buy their display stand is, how often do you actually plan to exhibit your company at trade events? 

Your answer may immediately determine your own solution to the renting vs. buying conundrum, since if you’re only going to be appearing at one event per year, renting would probably make more sense as you dip your toe into the water and test out the marketplace.

However, we’ve seen that exhibiting your brand can be truly addictive once you’ve seen all those enterprise-enhancing effects in live action!  So if you’ve got a hunch that you’ll be exhibiting more than a few times in total, then it might be worth considering an investment in a permanent stand.

The case for buying your stand

From our years of experience, we recommend that investing in a permanent stand is the best option if you’re definitely going to use it for a minimum of three times.  Not only will you benefit from owning your business display kit outright, you’ll also have complete control over transporting, building and dismantling it yourself (with full training provided by our professional team, should you choose us to help you create your display magic!)

We’re not going to tell you that investing in your stand will be inexpensive, because you get what you pay for and stand-out stand quality doesn’t come cheap.  However, you’ll own something that is pretty much guaranteed to increase sales at trade events – which is the proven best method to promote your brand and your business to a large audience.  In our opinion, this isn’t a bad return on your investment, and buying your stand also has the potential to actually save you money in the long-term. 

Reasons for renting

If you’re only going to be exhibiting on an occasional basis, or you plan on having something spectacular for one really big event, then we recommend renting as the best stand option for your business.

As with most services, flexibility is the key word when you rent, with the possibility of exhibiting with a totally different stand at every exhibition you attend.  You can even change the concept and design to fit each event and target group you choose (though we’d also recommend not being too different at each event – after all, one of the key factors of exhibiting is consistency, which better enables visitors to remember you!)

Renting your stand also gives you the relative freedom of not having to transport, build and dismantle the stand yourself, as all of this will be professionally taken care of for you.  Of course, this can turn out to be a costly exercise if you’re planning on renting a stand every time you exhibit – which brings us full-circle to the question we asked right back at the beginning of this piece, about how often you plan to attend trade events.   

If you’re still struggling to decide between renting and buying, go back to that question, consider your options from there…

…and remember that our friendly and professional team are always on hand to advise.  So if you’re dithering over your display needs, simply contact us (here) and let us help take the burden away!