Scan shows commitment to exhibitions at Markex Cape

When it comes to the exhibition medium, Scan Display puts its money where its mouth is, exhibiting at eight annual shows and conferences. Over the past decade the company has generated good business and grown its brand at local and international expos. The medium’s consistent return on investment has resulted in Scan allocating approximately forty-percent of its annual marketing budget to exhibitions.

Scan Display recently exhibited at Markex Cape for the third time since the marketing show’s launch in the Western Cape. Scan has successfully supported the Markex shows for many years, and its stands at the shows have been acknowledged with numerous organiser awards.

Gary Van Der Watt, Director of Scan’s CT branch, says that although this year’s Markex Cape may have felt smaller than the last one, the quality of visitors and the commitment from exhibitors was evident.

Van Der Watt adds: “The Scan stand was prominently positioned and well received by both existing and new clients. In an environment that demands innovation, a tactile quality and an interactive platform, Scan again demonstrated its ability to satisfy the brief.”

Other local shows which Scan supports are: Markex Jhb and KZN; the annual SAACI conference; Design Indaba Expo; Woodpro; and the Human Resources Development Africa show. Scan uses The Exhibiting Show in London and the International Federation of Exhibition & Event Services’ annual conference as a platform to showcase its services to the global market.

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Scan rolls out new carpeting option

Scan Display has introduced rolled carpets for use at exhibitions and events, a first for South Africa.

Until now the standard carpeting choice for exhibition stands or events was bitumen-backed carpet tiles. However carpet tiles tend to bunch up with heavy use, making the surface uneven. In addition there is often a discrepancy between the colour of tiles, making the flooring look patchy.

“The trend in Europe is to use rolled carpet. This is carpet that comes in large rolls and is cut on site to fit your stand. This ensures a far superior look and finish. Rolled carpet comes in standard colours but can be custom printed with logos or matched to any specific Pantone colour,” explains Justin Hawes, MD of Scan.

Scan has already successfully used rolled carpet at South African Automotive Week (SAAW) 2007 and Miles Per Hour (MPH) 2007.

A further benefit of using this imported carpet is that it comes with a protective polythene plastic covering which is removed once installation is complete, ensuring the carpet is spotless at the start of your event.

“The simplicity and speed of laying make this carpet an obvious choice. From R35 per metre it competes with what is currently on the market. The carpet is also fire test certified to European standards.”

Tips for exhibiting at international shows

In 2007, Scan Display built exhibition stands at two overseas shows. Scan exhibited at Exhibiting Show in London for the first time, and built two stands for local clients at a medical show in Madrid.

Scan’s MD, Justin Hawes, says Scan has learnt some valuable lessons from its work overseas. He believes companies exhibiting at international shows face a whole new set of challenges. They should consider the following factors:

Planning in advance
Good planning is critical to ensure that exhibiting is a success, wherever the show. However, it becomes even more important for companies exhibiting abroad. Coping with the inevitable hitches associated with exhibitions is tougher on foreign soil. Exhibitors don’t have their own resources on hand to make any last-minute changes and everything seems to take longer as result of factors like greater traffic congestion in foreign cities.

Local representation
It is an advantage if the company contracted to build the exhibition stand works with a partner or subcontractor in the country hosting the show. This means that resources are on tap and there is access to people who are familiar with the local venue, suppliers and regulations. It also helps to have someone on your team who speaks the local language, especially when managing crises.

It is a good idea to reduce the amount of freight as much as possible and source equipment and print work in the host country. Freighting is both expensive and unpredictable. As a result of a customs strike, Scan’s team in Madrid battled to clear the stand materials and equipment and started building the stand three days later than scheduled.

Safety regulations
Each country has its own safety regulations for exhibition stands and overseas’ regulations are more stringent than local regulations. At Exhibiting Show in the UK, Scan had to submit a detailed engineer’s report as its stand was over three metres high.

Exhibitors should ensure that their stand builder is familiar with the regulations of the country hosting the exhibition.

Stand design
It is advisable to keep the stand design and construction as simple as possible. Exhibiting at an international show is challenging enough without pushing the design and construction boundaries.

Cultural differences
Exhibitors should consider that their target market at the show has different values from visitors back at home. While Scan’s give-away of popcorn at the local Markex shows was a great success, the same marketing tool was a failure at the UK Exhibiting Show. Visitors were suspicious of accepting food from strangers, and those who took the snack wanted it with sugar rather than the salt requested in SA.

Exhibitors need to be aware from the outset that exhibiting overseas is an expensive exercise. There are the freight, travel and accommodation bills to foot. In addition, the contractor costs in the UK and Europe are about three times the local costs. For example, installing a plug point costs approximately R150 in SA and R1 500 in the UK.

Dti claim
Through its Export Marketing & Investment Assistance programme, the dti may partially compensate companies for expenses incurred while exhibiting at international shows. While there are a number of qualifying criteria and the application process is lengthy, it is worth pursuing.

VAT refund
South African companies can claim the VAT portion of certain expenses incurred while exhibiting in some foreign countries. There are a number of consultancies that assist with these claims on a contingency fee basis. Exhibitors are required to submit their original VAT invoices and a valid tax clearance certificate.

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