The quality of the exhibitors that come together for Kent Vision Live is one of the factors that make the event stand out – that and the calibre of the speakers and workshops and the breadth of business opportunities to be discovered.
When it came to picking out the best stands in 2018, as soon as the exhibition began to take shape on the build-up day, it was clear that the standard would be high and that the exhibitors had gone to significant efforts to create attractive and engaging stands. The task of judging the best was going to be a tough one.
Since the categories were extended last year there were three awards to be won at this year’s event; best stand up to 6m2, best stand over 6m2 and most interactive stand.
But we felt we also had to introduce a special award this year – to recognise one exhibitor who, for the last ten years, has consistently delivered a bright, inviting and engaging stand, staffed with an ever friendly team. And so, the specially created Friendliest Stand Team award was presented to our hosts, the Kent County Agricultural Society/Kent Event Centre and their ambassador, Blossom, the life-size cow statue incorporated into their countryside transformation.
The most interactive stand was introduced two years ago to recognise how critical captivating visitors is. At any event, engaging the audience and initiating a conversation is crucial and requires a dedicated effort. Last year’s winners Corinthian pulled out the stops once again, bringing along a fully equipped bartender to serve mocktails at their pop-up bar. It was evident that their efforts hit the spot with many passers-by and their interactive approach made a real impression.
However, the winner of the Most Interactive Stand award was South East Business magazine. The team ran two exciting competitions sharing a horseracing theme, one for visitors and one explicitly aimed at their fellow exhibitors.
By having their photo taken, in full jockey garb and while riding a rocking horse, the visitors had the chance to win a selection of prizes including afternoon tea at Brighton Racecourse. But it was the stand team’s clever twist, recognising the value in engaging the other exhibitors, that sealed the win. The team had come up with an appropriately named horse for every company exhibiting. The exhibitors could then ‘buy’ their horse in return for a £1 donation to Cancer Research UK before the winner was drawn from the field. A bottle of bubbly went to the Office Angels who were the proud winners of the horse race!
The best stand awards recognise the creativity and effort that goes into creating a stand. The judges look for practical use of the space available, an approach that reflects the exhibiting company well and examples that do a great job of standing out from the crowd to catch visitors’ attention.
This year, the award for best stand up to 6m2 went to digital and design agency, The Hideout. Their approach used all of the available space, and it certainly stood out from the surrounding stands with excellent use of colour and imagery. Whatsmore, as producing stands and graphics is one service the company offers it did an excellent job of showcasing their capabilities.
The best stand, over 6m2, went to another organisation who did a fabulous job of showcasing their products – Printbig. Their incredible use of space made a significant impact on the day, with their trademark bold use of colour adding to the impact of their stand. However, what clinched the win for the team was the fact that their stand was their product. The Kent-based company has developed an innovative stand system that is lightweight, easy to transport and assemble and yet sturdy. Building their stand from this new addition to their portfolio was an excellent way of showing off its capabilities.
And so the standard really was high in 2018, and we can’t wait to see how the exhibitors go one better when the event returns, under its new name of Business Vision LIVE on May 15th, 2019.
If you plan to exhibit next year, maybe you should start thinking about how you could be an award winner. And don’t worry if you don’t design and build exhibition stands as part of your business, it is about taking a creative approach designed to get the best results.
We can’t wrap up this review without thanking Final Creations Awards for producing the fabulous and much-coveted awards for us this year. The trophies are becoming so popular that we had to rescue one for a previous winner after another exhibitor took a shine to it and kidnapped the award. You know who you are!
We would also like to thank Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Kent County Council, for his help in judging the stands.
And finally, we would also like to thank everyone who attended Kent Vision 2018 including delegates, exhibitors and speakers for their effort in making the day such a success. Well done to everyone who worked so hard to create such a fantastic event. See you next year.