Stephan Murtagh, a.k.a. The Exhibition Guy is an expert when it comes to exhibitions. Training businesses in multiple areas such as exhibition project management and presenting, Stephan has incredible advice when it comes to making an exhibition a success. He has kindly written a guest blog post for us, sharing some of his top tips here on our blog, so if you’re heading to an exhibition soon, carry on reading to for some invaluable advice.

Think what you wear at an Exhibition doesn’t matter?

Don’t miss out on an opportunity for happiness and branding.

Having spent 25 years in the exhibition industry and in sales, I have seen my fair share of changes in both sectors. Years ago, when I started my sales career, the staple uniform was a suit and tie and it was just seen as the norm. In fact, if you arrived at the office not wearing a tie, it was almost a fireable offence!! Like business, what to wear at work has changed drastically and this is a good thing. These days people are more concerned with what comes out if your mouth and not what suit you are wearing…

I train thousands of companies exhibiting at shows globally each year and it’s a question that comes up all the time…What should we wear? There is no simple answer as every industry is different but, unless you’re in banking, I would ditch the very formal suit and tie as it can look too formal. People buy from people and real ones at that. The real essence of an exhibition is that you make your visitors feel welcome and engaged and keep your team motivated to best represent your company brand.

So what are we getting if we ditch the suits?

Brand Awareness

Exhibiting is all about branding and wearing professionally designed promotional wear that says we invest in our brand and that’s why you should invest with us too. This is the whole point of exhibiting. Think about it, you brand your stand well to create an impact so you should be doing exactly the same with your team.

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The Eden Video team at the B2B Marketing Expo in March

Comfort

Working long hours at exhibitions can be hard work so your team need to be comfortable. They don’t say suits are stuffy for no reason. By having your team comfortable, you are giving them the tools to really deliver what you need from exhibiting! Cotton shirts and nice polos mean comfort and branding go hand in hand. Having a uniform strategy it allows your team to focus on what they do best….selling your products!

RBS
RBS used personalised polo shirts for their Hackathon event

Professional Image

Having visited thousands of shows over the past 25 years, I am always drawn to a well-groomed team. There’s something about a team all dressed up that creates a real united front, as well as helping with the professional image of your company. Yes, we all have nice clothes and suits, but everyone dressed differently creates different levels of seniority. The essence of a good team is that they work well together and, on an exhibition stand…no one should be seen as superior.

NBR Screenshot
The C2O Field Sales Team at The Northern Bar & Restaurant Show

Team Unity

Visitors to shows are looking to work with companies who can deliver for them and nothing screams team more than a well turned out team and kit. For me, I see the team branding as simply an extension of your stand image and this is how it should be. By keeping colours, logos and imagery consistent, you are sending out an image and perception that we are not individuals. We are individuals in a team. This is the type of company I want to do business with.

Palate Company
Credit: Instagram // The Pallet Company

Time-Saving

As we all awake each day, we have the challenge and dilemma of what to wear. Where am I going today? Who am I seeing? Do I need to dress up or dress down? You are in reality taking this dilemma away from your team by using promotional wear for Exhibitions. There is no decision…. there is also no competition to see who is the best dressed. The last point may seem childish but in fact by not giving them a choice your actually just making it easier for them!

But what branded clothing is appropriate?

I think we can all agree that branded hoodies are great, but they are a no-no for Exhibitions as they are just too casual. They’re super for out and about but in an exhibition hall, they are too casual and are not practical for warm Exhibition halls. For me, branded work shirts and polos are the best as they are functional yet professional with many different spaces to customise. For example, with a shirt or polo, you should look at branding the back of the collar, which is great for when you are in a queue for coffee and the person behind you taps you on the shoulder and asks you your stand number. Also, nicely designed shirts and polos give the impression you have dressed up but you’re not overdressed.

Personalised Workwear Polo 2

Key Tips For Branded Exhibition Wear

  1. Keep the branding nice and simple and subtle
  2. Limit the branding to 2 locations on the promotional wear
  3. Ensure the branding and colour look is uniform across all team members
  4. Make it functional
  5. Get the buy in from your team on what THEY will be comfortable in wearing

The day of the stuffy suit and tie is gone and, in its place, comes trendier but more practical ways of creating impressions with the people you meet…and making your team happier at the same time.

When your team are happy, your clients are happy too.

Happy exhibiting – The Exhibition Guy

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