Exhibiting at domestic and international events means juggling a lot of information. There’s so much to check off: currency changes, shipping times, building booths, understanding cultural differences, and more.
These challenges can take some of the joy out of exhibiting; it makes your job as an event coordinator harder than it needs to be!
Our on-demand webinar with Karen Cohen from Embarq Creative addressed how to combat these challenges. In How to Navigate the Complexities of International Exhibiting, we learned the three key things to understand to ensure you run your exhibiting smoothly: exhibit set up, customs, and language.
1. Exhibiting Set Up
Trade shows don’t have universal rules. Structural conventions have also become design conventions in
certain regions. Rules and preferences for setting up booths and displaying a brand vary depending on the region. European companies, for example, favor a shell scheme and raised platform over the typical US pipe-and-drape style.
Additionally, exhibit spots might not be uniform across the exhibit hall. Unfortunately, you might end up with a support pole smack in the middle of your stand. When planning a foreign exhibit, it’s very important to check the venue map so you can plan your exhibiting accordingly.
It’s also important to think about what makes your platform visually appealing. In most countries, exhibits are required to have a raised platform for wires to feed through so people don’t trip. While you might be tempted to ignore conforming your exhibits to another country’s aesthetics, Karen warns against this. In many parts of Asia, for example, forgoing a raised platform can make your exhibit seem cheap.
2. Customs Headaches
Ask anyone who has shipped anything abroad: they’ll be all too aware of the often lengthy and tedious process. Unfortunately, for many exhibitors, this is an unavoidable reality. You must leave enough time for your exhibiting materials to travel to another country. Take into consideration the average processing time of packages, when major holidays are in that country, and if what you’re shipping is crucial to future domestic exhibits. Anything that you’d need for a different exhibit in your home country shouldn’t be shipping. In most cases, you won’t have those items for at least a few months.
Not all exhibitors handle customs issues on their own. One way to manage your customs risk is to choose the appropriate partners. For example, if you exhibit in 10 countries each year, partnering with a booth design company that has experience shipping internationally will be beneficial. You will be able to trust that they know what forms and timeline are necessary.
Other vendors, like Mimeo PrintX handle all steps for international print collateral. They have in-region printers to eliminate customs issues altogether.
3. Language Barriers
Exhibiting in a foreign country where English isn’t the native language provides its unique challenges. Karen recommends hiring a local translator, that even if you have someone within your company who speaks the native language of the place you’re exhibiting. A local translator will be better able to understand local customs to ensure you’re not committing any social faux pas.
Anything you print with words also needs translation. This includes anything on your booth or your collateral!
Focus on these three areas to get started on your next international exhibit. However, your exhibiting preparation doesn’t stop here. Check out more of Karen Cohen’s tips in our on-demand webinar!
How to Navigate the Complexities of International Exhibiting with Karen Cohen, Embarq Creative