Can we make the exhibition industry sexy?

For hundreds of years businesses have been creating and attending exhibitions because they are one of the best ways to showcase products to consumers or the trades. Exhibitions let businesses talk to customers directly and provide an opportunity to check out what the competition is doing. Think of the World Fairs and Exhibitions of the 1800s, which started with the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London, and you get a sense of their importance.

It used to be that only larger corporations could afford to attend an exhibition but, with the development of materials and the portability of display stands, the market has opened up even more, making it feasible for small businesses to attend and make a success of an event.

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A look at the exhibition industry

Over time the biggest change has been around the need to immerse the consumer in “the experience of your brand” and this is one reason we need a fresh approach in the industry. Take the theatre for a second – every good actor has an army of talent behind them, from designing and building the set, operating the AV, painting the backdrops and working the front of house. These people could get paid more in other industries but they choose to work in the theatre because they love it, it’s their passion and it gets them excited!

For most businesses these days, their exhibition stand is a mini piece of theatre. And the whole exhibition is the stage. There are some clear parallels to the theatre which should not be ignored, such as design and build, lighting and front of house, but no-one seems to be selling the sizzle! Why?

Our biggest obstacle is perception.

Truth be told, it all comes down to perception. The exhibition and display industry is simply not seen as a sexy industry to work in. It’s not seen as a single business in the same way as film, theatre and music. Even though many young people attend music events and festivals these are considered to be in the music industry not the event industry.

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The need to get young blood into the industry.

We only have to look at how much has changed in the last decade with technology to see how it affects the industry. The new products and materials that are being introduced to the industry enable designers to really think outside the box. This gives them the opportunity to design and build a solution that not only attracts but gives consumers an experience or enables them to see something they may never have seen before.

This opportunity to build a ‘make believe world’ is not something that happens in every industry and it’s one that should be talked up and promoted. We must engage people on a stand in the same way that someone is engaged during a show or concert.

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The exhibition industry provides so many different career paths for young people, whether it’s specialising in a particular area or learning about the industry as a whole. There are so many opportunities including designing the overall concept, the design and build, the use of technology such as VR, the consumer experience, lighting or the actual running of an exhibition. All of these areas are exciting and sexy but if we don’t make our industry more glamorous and desirable soon then we are in grave danger of being left behind.

If you are interested in learning more or pursuing a career in the event and exhibition industry, then we are always looking for good candidates. Please contact us at Displays 2 Go, we would love to have a coffee and a chat!

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