If your business is looking to take the next step in the international market, it is essential to create strong brand awareness on a global scale. Although this is harder than it sounds, one proven way to reach a wider audience is to exhibit at major, related events abroad.
A good example of this is the thriving car industry in Europe, Asia and North America. UK suppliers have generated successful, solid leads simply by pushing their brand out into these markets.
These leads can then go on to, in effect, pay for the incurred cost of exhibiting abroad, while the business also benefits from substantial brand awareness, with the benefits far outweighing the capital overheads.
If you’re thinking about exhibiting abroad but need some expert advice, here are some top tips.
Fail to prepare, prepare to…
The importance of a well-organised schedule is recognised in most areas of business. But exhibiting overseas introduces a whole new wave of potential issues that, if not managed effectively, can lead to disorder, unwanted pressure and financial damage.
It requires completing a vast array of essential intricate processes to ensure a smooth transaction from your office to your exhibition stand. From visas, travel arrangements and shipping to translating all literature into the required language, managing an overseas exhibition requires a lot of dedication and hard work.
Although it may seem like you’re being gifted a free holiday at first, it’s key to establish early on that exhibiting abroad is no easy task. However, you already have the expertise and know-how and therefore as long as you prioritise effectively, set up a thorough timeline and manage important dates to meet deadlines, you should pull it off without encountering any setbacks.
Speak the lingo
When marketing to an international audience, it’s important to consider the language that you will use in your literature. For example, it would be futile to translate your brochures into German if you do not have a German office or any German-speaking members of staff as you may receive enquiries in that language.
However, if you do require this element, ensure that you translate and print your literature with plenty of time available.
Consider hiring a local translator on your stand too as it can go a long way with local businesses. It shows that you are willing to communicate as efficiently as possible and that you are trying to overcome the barrier of language.
It is also a good idea to spend a few hours learning a basic expressions from the local language leading up to the event and to provide your staff with helpful material. This shows both potential leads and your employees that you are making an effort to develop your company’s language skills and that you are invested in its future and your employees’ personal growth.
Build your empire
Designing and building an exhibition stand requires a lot of time, effort and money. It is essential that you decide whether you are going to hire an established UK company to construct your stand and then ship it over, or whether you will hire the services of a company local to the event.
Both options have pros and cons: with a UK firm you can voice your opinion at every stage, from graphics used to stand layout; whereas this will not be possible when using a company overseas, although handing over the management of the stand provides one less thing to worry about.
Trying to organise internet connection, lighting and other intricate details can be more trouble than its worth in an unfamiliar country, and by removing the additional cost of shipping, using a company in the country you are travelling to may be the option for you.
However, if you do decide to go with a UK stand constructer, it is recommended to choose one with overseas experience as it will be experts in this field and will manage any difficulties.
Who’s on your team?
So, you’ve laid out your plans and everything is well underway. Now you need to decide who you are bringing along on your journey.
Consider staff that are best suited for the task in hand. This may be those with expert marketing or sales skills, or those who can speak the local language.
Look up the local customs before you go and be sure to pass on important information to your travelling team to avoid a culture shock or creating a negative impression. In some areas, religious customs play a significant role in the way of life and therefore you need to ensure that you and your staff respect the culture.
Brief your staff beforehand to make sure they are fully aware of the business’ goals and message. Prepare any required on-stand uniform in advance so that they can professionally represent the company.
Remember to leave the company in capable, reliable hands so you can rest-assured that its business as usual while you are away.
Make yourself at home
Some of the major events are incredibly popular and therefore nearby accommodation can sell out quickly.
It is recommended to book hotels up to a year in advance for the best prices and locations.
When you have booked to exhibit, put this at the top of your to-do list as you may be left facing a long and expensive commute to your exhibition stand.
Before you set off on your long-awaited trip, be sure to prepare your mobile phone and any other devices for maximum optimisation when abroad.
This includes ensuring you can make and receive calls, have access to the internet for receiving emails or accessing information in your ‘Cloud’. By putting all of your critical and useful data online, you can access it on-the-go from any device, offering that added reliability if disaster hits and your laptop fails.