How to write a great event or exhibition stand design brief

What makes the difference between a good design brief, and a great one?

We love it when a great design brief comes into the office here at Ignition, because we know that the stage is set to deliver a brilliantly successful project, both for our client and for our team.

So what’s the magic ingredient?

We see a lot of briefs; from global events and exhibition programmes to single stands at small meetings, and we know that the scale or budget don’t matter. What really makes the difference is the information that goes beyond the obvious, and that helps us develop a true collaborative partnership with the client.

Begin with the obvious.

What do we mean by the obvious, first of all? Every good brief should include the following as standard:

  • Company and product background, with links to further information

  • Business or marketing strategic objectives

  • How this event or programme aims to support those objectives

  • Details about the event – date, times, venue and so on

  • Booking details – is the stand space already booked? What kind of stand is it, where in the venue is it situated, what services are included?

  • What will be featured on the stand – product, service, something else? Are you launching something new, have you won an award?

  • Target audience –

    • what do you know about the people coming to the event?

    • How do they align with your target audience?

    • Do you have any insight about what they might be looking for, and/or key messages you want to get across?

    • What do you want them to do?

  • Regulations – if you work in a regulated industry, what are the do’s and don’ts for event marketing?

  • Do you have KPI’s for this stand at this show, and how will it be measured?

  • Brand guidelines, colour palettes and other design instructions

  • Details of any stand kit you already own

  • And of course, your budget.

If your brief includes all these, then you won’t go far wrong, but one of the reasons we always try to have a face-to-face session with a customer is to explore other aspects of their project. The information we look for is less easy to distil into a brief, but it’s worth the effort. (The other reason we do this is that we find building strong working partnerships with our clients is much easier if we spend some time getting to know them, human-to-human.)

Go beyond the obvious.

So when you’re writing your brief, think about whether you can include answers to the following questions:

  • What are your values, as an organisation? How should this stand (and future stands) reflect them?

  • How should your stand make delegates feel when they visit it? Excited, happy, reassured, amused?

  • What story do you want to tell on your stand?

  • What product or service are you best known for?

  • Do you have any examples of stands you like – either your own or others you’ve seen? What do you like about them? What don’t you like?

  • Have you exhibited at this event before? If so, what worked, and what didn’t? What were your overall impressions of the event?

  • If you have not been to this event before, what made you choose it?

  • How much technology do you want to use, and what kind?

  • Are there any groups with specific needs you are hoping to reach with this stand? We aim to make all our stand designs accessible by default, but if you have specific inclusion objectives then do let us know.

  • What happens after the event? Will you be following up with delegates, and can we support you to do this?

  • What about the materials? We are extremely experienced in reusing stand materials for all sorts of purposes, so let us know if you want us to keep that in mind.

Our clients tell us that it’s these questions, whether asked face-to-face, in writing or over the phone, that help them push their thinking further, and help us deliver projects that delight customers and delegates alike.

There’s more, but we’d like to share that with you in person. Get in touch with us today.