I don't know about you but one thing that breaks my heart is seeing some poor soul with a market stall or shop that's failing to attract customers. You know it's cost them a great deal, the investment all the hard work but no matter how good their product is without customers it'll all be for nothing.
For this Travel Technology Show my client's stand was located up in the Gallery which runs around Olympia's main hall like a balcony. A very modest stand but ideally positioned among the mobile technology exhibitors. My first thought were about how much traffic we would get as the main attractions were all down on the main floor and I could picture my client wondering why he'd bothered. Fortunately he'd done his homework and we had a decent footfall and because we were isolated in a specialist area a high percentage of the visitors were quality leads.
The key to being effective as a stand attraction is catching the passerby's eye. It's not easy because exhibition visitors are skilled at avoiding eye contact for fear of being trapped at a stand they have no interest in. That's where my large tv screen comes into it's own. Not just the fact that it's mounted in, the more unusual, portrait mode but the fact that my drawing is appearing live on the screen.
During the seven or so minutes it takes me to draw their picture the client gets a chance to find out what they need to know about the visitor. So many people I drew didn't at first think they had any interest in my clients business but because they had more time to consider it, without pressure, many of them left as potential clients yet without my presence would have admittedly drifted by with their gaze fixed directly ahead.
Of course with widespread usage of social media as a business promotional tool it's not just passersby that are attracted to the stand. Each picture I draw can be tweeted along with relevant hashtags for the show and the visitor does a lot of the work for you because they also post their caricature to their Facebook page and circulate it among their work colleagues and clients too. Very quickly the word gets around that your stand has the best freebie.
If that's not enough each caricature can be printed out onto 6x4" colour photos and worn around the neck in an ID Wallet which will be seen around the venue throughout the rest of the exhibition days carrying your logo.
If you do happen to be located in a really busy area you don't need to worry about overload either because the screen will provide the entertainment and cause people to stop long enough for your staff to engage with them. Even if I don't have a volunteer to sit for me I occupy my time drawing a made up caricature. It really doesn't matter so long as something is going on on-screen people will stop and watch and you wont have to worry about the likes of me feeling sorry for you.