Posts Categorized: Event Types

Top 5 Blogs of 2015

2015 has been a fantastic year. We’ve had many great moments as a business and that includes what’s been happening on our blog. We’d like to take this time to share 5 of our top blogs from this year with you…


  1. Charity Competition Finalists 2015

    This year was our biggest year in terms of entries and visibility for the Marler Haley Charity Competition. This was also one of our best performing blog post of 2015 with more than 750 social shares! The winner of this year’s competition was Animal Rescue Cumbria who won with a massive 816 votes.
    Keep an eye out for next year’s competition.

  2. Fabric displays, are they the future?

    Pop up stands have been dominant in the world of portable displays for many years but finally, they have a very popular rival: the fabric display. The fabric display boasts many pros including being much lighter than its traditional counterpart, having a machine washable shell, and let’s not forget the fact that the fabric display is very easy to assemble.

  3. Freestanding displays vs shell scheme graphics 

    Do you know how to best utilise your shell scheme space? This post takes a look at the pros and cons of both shell scheme graphics and freestanding displays whether it’s a pop up display or banner stand.

  4. Our top 5 favourite products

    We have many amazing products on the Marler Haley site and decided to pick our top 5 favourites back in June. The products were chosen because they’re a mix of quality, reliability, excellence and innovation. The Maxi roller banner stand and Veloce pop up are just two products that were picked!

  5. Starting to plan for exhibition season

    This timeless piece takes a look at how to choose the right exhibition, what equipment you need and also how to design your stand. If you need help with any of these things or simply want to refresh yourself on the best way to raise awareness and drive sales, this piece might be of use.

Make the most of every Morsel – BBC Good Food Show London

mary-berry-cakeThe success of TV’s The Great British Bake Off is proof that Brits are more deeply in love with food than ever before. With tummies rumbling and mouths watering, more people than ever are set to burst through the doors of Olympia between 13-15 November for this year’s BBC Good Food Show London.

Celebrity chefs now have rock-star status and there’s a stellar line-up cooking on stage at the Kenwood Supertheatre including Michel Roux, James Martin, Paul Hollywood and, drum roll please – Mary Berry.

Famous hands signing books, a tasting theatre sponsored by Lindt Excellence, pop-up restaurants, street-food vans, shops, craft beers and cocktails… it’s all part of the fun of the fair.

This is also your chance to check out the competition, showcase your latest products, listen to invaluable feedback and gather new leads.

Are you properly prepared to greet the visitors who will make their way to see you? Are you confident you can offer them an unforgettable exhibition experience?

Here are a few basic ingredients to help…

  • Make sure your stand has enough staff to handle the volume of visitors. Train them well – the face of your organisation needs to smile.
  • Never ask ‘can I help you?’ The answer will almost always be ‘no’. Use open questions such as ‘How would you describe the taste of this raspberry beer/organic Cheddar/chocolate-coated locust?’
  • When manning a stand, never eat, swig a drink, use a mobile, sit down or turn your back on the public.
  • ‘Food proof’ your stand. Protect your stand against spillages and stains by using easy clean materials.
  • Keep surface areas and floors clean to avoid injuries such as burns and twisted wrists.
  • Know your way around your workstation before embarking on a live demonstration of any kind. Have several practice runs and memorise where everything is.
  • Provide a survey. Whether you opt for a paper and pen or an iPad, it’s a great way to gauge just how tasty (or not) your dish really is.
  • Have a dedicated area for taking contact details and making sales. While being in the mix is great, taking money across a sugar-covered counter will not make the best impression.
  • Promote yourself! Pre-show promotion and staying connected during the event is crucial or you risk being overlooked.
  • Provide branded bags. Visitors will be happy to have something to carry their freebies around in and they’ll act as unpaid advertisers at the same time. Win-win.

Tease the taste buds

  • BBC Good Food Show visitors know their onions (especially if they’re caramelised) and they’ll be eager to try old favourites as well as new flavours. Make sure your best-selling products are displayed beautifully whether they’re on sale or samples.
  • If you’ve done a great job, the food on offer will disappear as fast as you present it. Make sure you have enough supplies so that you don’t run out. Don’t waste this unique opportunity.
  • Clearly list all of the ingredients in whatever you’re serving. People will ask anyway but, most importantly, you’ll avoid the risk of an allergic reaction.
  • DO NOT attempt to eat super spicy food in a live demonstration if you can’t handle it…

Finish it off with a cherry on top

  • Entice the crowd with a deliciously-colourful stand. Choose shades that reflect your brand and products.
  • Don’t be afraid to accessorise. Whether you choose an iPad stand, literature stand, or banner stand, use accessories to bring everything together and boast your USP.
  • Entertainment can also be important and as long as it’s relevant to your brand, include it. Whilst you might be doing a live demonstration inside of your stand, what’s stopping you from bringing it into the crowd? Think outside of the box.
  • See more tips on images and (stand) design.
  • After the show, follow up on leads to make the most of your investment.

sliced-foodRemember, the way to this nation’s heart is through its stomach. So chop all of the above in equal quantities, cook well, and garnish with style – that way, your customers will be coming back for seconds, thirds and more…


*Mary Berry cake image from

Behind the Glass Display

Whilst it’s great to see and touch products at an exhibition, there are some products that are too priceless to touch and so remain behind glass.

The glass display showcases some of the most precious and expensive products. From jewellery exhibitions to fancy antique fairs, the glass display enables you to look and not touch.


Glass displays not only protect valuable items but they showcase them in an elegant way. Image:

We take a look at six of the most valuable exhibitions in the antique and jewellery industries that are viewed behind the glass.

The glittering Goldsmiths Fair

Often referred to as the king of jewellery exhibition events, the Goldsmiths Fair is held in September/October every year at the grand Goldsmiths Hall in St Paul’s, London.

This two week experience allows you to see a dazzling display of hundreds of independent designs in silver and gold with just about every piece of jewellery you can imagine.

Learn the past at the Sunbury Antiques Market

If you’re interested in learning about the past then look no further than the antiques market at Kempton Park Race Course.

With free admission and parking and more than 700 stands jam packed with historical pieces that are too expensive to touch, you really can’t get any better.

The world of unique crafts at the Origin

The Origin is the Craft Council’s contemporary fair held on an annual basis at Spitalfields Market. With an impressive number of jewellery, ceramics and texture displays with the tagline of “Made not Manufactured”, you will most definitely see a whole host of unique 21st century pieces behind glass.

This is a great exhibition for encouraging new ideas and innovations.

Collectors can enjoy Helmsley Antiques and Vintage Fair

This collectors fair is regarded as one of the best in the country. After it was first established back in 1979 it has become a popular event – and for good reason.

With a great selection of antiques and collectables there is plenty to see and enjoy during the five-day exhibition during Easter and New Year, so make sure you take plenty of time to look around!

Be part of the future with Craft Central Open Studios

Craft Central is a pioneering not-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to building a strong future for craft and design. Each year they hold a range of open studios where both members and the general public can meet the jewellery and craft designers in their studios and take a look at their latest collections.

Everything will be locked away in glass displays but it is most definitely a feast for the eyes.

Gloucester Goes Retro Festival

This festival takes centre stage every August bank holiday when the city of Gloucester goes back in time. Each street is themed to a different era, hosting classic and retro fashion items and garments.

Whilst many items will be available to touch and buy, the most expensive will be hidden away behind glass.


A stylish and contemporary display solution, the glass cabinet is a great way to display precious items that you’d like to keep safe.

Memorable art Events put on in aid of Charity

There are a million and one reasons why events are put on in aid of charity. From increasing awareness of global problems to raising funds for disaster zones, the events often go a long way in helping those in need of assistance – in whatever form that might be.

Memorable campaigns are not necessarily those that bring in vast sums of money or those that reach the most people – although both of those factors remain important.

The most memorable charity campaigns are those which lend support and help to drive change; from helping people into work or homes to making people aware of the struggles that those around them face.

Below, we’ve listed a handful of memorable events that provide support to a charity or community organisation.



The University of Leeds ran a charity initiative named Piano Postcards in 2012. Image from


Cooking up a Storm in Shoreditch

Fifty Chefs – The Hands That Feed London was a photographic project that went on show in Shoreditch in April 2015. Taking a decade to put together it featured images of the faces and hands of chefs, kitchen hands, and many other people who cook for London’s population, their kitchen battle scars shown in all their glory.

Sales from the prints went towards London-based charity FareShare. The charity distributes food that would otherwise be wasted to around 8,000 vulnerable Londoners and more than 75,000 people nationwide.

Encouraging Offenders to get Artistic

The Koestler Trust works as a prison arts charity that showcases, awards, and sells artwork by offenders and detainees. Yearly awards are held to recognise the best work as the charity attempts to encourage change amongst those behind bars whilst keeping them motivated to do better for themselves.

More than 8,000 pieces of art are submitted every year and the national exhibition attracts upwards of 20,000 visitors. The charity focuses on attempting to channel the energy of the offenders into something positive in the hope of cutting rates of reoffending.

Life in a Belgravia Gallery

As the Belgravia Gallery approaches its 30th anniversary in 2016, it still follows the same concepts as when it first opened. Situated in the heart of Mayfair, the gallery has a strong emphasis on art for charity with proceeds going towards The Sebastian Hunter Memorial Trust.

Run by mother and daughter Anna Hunter and Laura Walford, everyone involved helps to raise funds to aid disadvantaged people and to build schools in Tamil Nadu, South East India. Not only does this empower young people but it provides education, healthcare, and livelihood opportunities that others might take for granted.

Postcards in Leeds

The University of Leeds ran a charity initiative named ‘Piano Postcards’ in 2012 to coincide with the world-renowned Leeds International Piano Competition run by Dame Fanny Waterman. Aiming to raise funds for two high profile music charities, Nordoff Robbins and Live Music Now, the event included several famous faces such as Emeli Sande and acclaimed writer Alan Bennett.

The university has hosted the International Piano Competition for the majority of its history spanning more than 50 years and by running the Postcards initiative, links between the institution, the community, and the local music scene were strengthened.

Making an Event Memorable

These are all small scale examples of memorable events that have provided welcome support to people around the world.

The act of creating an event in the name of charity is relatively straightforward. For generations many charities have hired halls and hotel suites to host events and, while the majority are usually a success with plenty of money being raised, the key is to ensure that guests remember what the event was about when they wake up the next day.

This means thinking outside of the box and coming up with innovative takes on traditional events.

Freestanding Displays vs. Shell Scheme Graphics

As exhibition season is approaching, we thought it might be useful to take a look at how to utilise your shell scheme space. The system is usually always provided by the event organiser so you need to decide whether you’re going to opt for shell scheme graphics or fill the space with freestanding display equipment.


Shell Schemes

Flexitol-LadermaShell scheme panels are typically 2400mm x 1000mm but can vary depending on the exhibition. We recommend you check before ordering. If a custom size is required, we can create panels to fit.


Shell schemes always include walling and might even include lighting to help you illuminate your message and stand out amongst the crowd.

This sleek design option means that you don’t use up any of your floor space – you’re provided with maximum space to use for prospective clients.

These rollable PVC panels are lightweight and easy to pack away making travelling hassle free.

Panels can be custom built to fit your venue.

Graphics attach using either Velcro or magnetic strips. Quick and easy!

You can create one big message with individual panels or take users on a journey with each panel.

Your graphics can be as vibrant or as simplistic as you like.


Shell scheme systems aren’t universal. Your panels from one won’t always fit another meaning that if you were hoping to exhibit with the same message, you might have to repurchase.


Asking for a panel size that can fit all. If you know your stand sizes in advance (and your objectives are the same for each show), you could work your production and design teams to find a middle size that could work across all of your shell scheme systems.

Adding technological interaction to your walling. Technology is a great way to grab the attention of attendees.

Using a freestanding display or two in your shell scheme. iPad holders, literature stands and even a banner stand can still add plenty of value whilst taking up minimal space.

Freestanding Displays

MK ServicesFreestanding displays cover a range of display equipment such as pop up stands and banners. If you have a space only stand or are exhibiting somewhere smaller, this might well be the option for you.


Freestanding displays are portable, freestanding and usually lightweight.

These displays come in a range of sizes from the horizontal fabric stand through to the literature rack and humble banner stand. Anything that stands by itself can be used in your exhibition space and can be used as a freestanding display.

Whether you have a large space or a small space, you have plenty of room to play with. Let your imagination run free.

Depending on your objectives for future shows you can use your displays time and time again. You could also use them semi- permanently in reception areas.

If your venue allows it, you could add a modular wall for extra branding. Not only could you add an interactive screen here but you’d be able to claw back any space you might have lost by using your other displays.

If your stand is predominantly freestanding then it’s likely that you’ll have more than one open side. This is an advantage as attendees can walk in from more than one side, opening your stand up to more business.


It’s easy to get carried away and clutter your space. Remember, the more equipment you buy is the more space you use up. This is space you could use to entertain potential clients.


Using different types of displays to save space. The classic Veloce pop up takes up more room than a fabric display, for example. It’s an excellent alternative if you need more space.


Your venue will almost always dictate the type of space you’ll be exhibiting in but if you ever have a choice, it’s always worth considering your objectives before making a decision.

Do you require lots of space to entertain clients? Or do you just need a small amount of space? What’s your budget like?

As we’ve seen, shell schemes can work out to be cheaper, even if it is a very large space.

Your design is vital. Regardless of whether your main focus will be a space saving fabric display or the branded panels of your shell scheme, we believe these design tips might be of use.

Starting to Plan for Exhibition Season

As we are in the midst of preparing to exhibit at the Elite Business Event next week, I’ve got a few tips to help you choose the right exhibition, equipment and messages to display to help drive sales and awareness:

How to choose the right exhibition

Deciding which exhibition is right for your business can seem like a daunting task, but it’s important to make sure that you carefully research the exhibition before making any decisions. Consider the demographic of people that will be attending and whether that matches your typical customer that you want to engage with. If it does, then the exhibition may make it to your shortlist of ‘potential’ exhibitions to attend.

Once you have a shortlist, consider the total cost of exhibiting at that event – including costs that you may not otherwise consider at this stage including budget for travel and exhibition equipment.

Use this figure to work out how much you would need to take to break even from attending the event. If this is an unachievable amount, then it may not be the right event for you to gain a good return on investment.

What exhibition stand equipment do I need?

3x2 corner modular exhibition stand L shaped

Once you know where you are going to exhibit, your next step will be to choose what exhibiting equipment you need to take with you. This will largely be determined by the stand space you have available and of course your budget!

If you have a low budget and a small stand space, then items such as a printed branded tablecloth and a banner stand are a great start to exhibiting, allowing you to display your items or talk to potential customers on a professional looking stand.

On the other side of the spectrum are larger, 3mx4m exhibition stand spaces which will need considerably more branded displays. This could include a complete modular kit, shell scheme graphics and pop up stands to create a printed backwall.

Accessories that can also aid sales and compliment your chosen display include literature stands and counters that can be used for any size of stand.

How to design your stand

When designing your exhibition stand, it’s important to consider what information is important to tell passersby to drive them to your stand. I’d always advise to keep your messages short and simple – less text is often more impactful when it comes to getting people’s attention. With displays, your aim should be to get their attention to drive them to your stand – it’s then your job to convert them to leads and sales.

Focus on your unique selling points to tell people why they should stop and talk to you and make sure that your logo can be seen from afar for brand awareness.

Top Blogs of 2014

As we reflect on what a great year 2014 was, we’d like to share our top 5 moments from our blog last year as we think they’re still great!!

1. Naughty exhibitors caught in the act

One of our most popular blog posts ever came from our infographic on naughty exhibitors! With our findings controversially showing that over 60% of exhibitors are naughty and don’t adhere to best practice, this article and infographic image helps future exhibitors to learn from their mistakes and make sure they are following best practice.

Read more 

2. Make your exhibiting strategy a hit

We all know that exhibiting can provide a great ROI as well as having far reaching benefits of increasing brand awareness for future purchases. But in this blog we show you how you can make sure your exhibiting strategy is a hit and not a flop, taking inspiration from some well-known tunes.

Read more

3. Ready Freddie Go wins Marler Haley’s charity competition 2014

Our charity competition is always a highlight in our calendar as we love to see the winning charity walk away with some new snazzy displays. With 65% of the vote, in 2014 Ready Freddie Go stole voters’ hearts and won £346 worth of display equipment to help raise awareness of the important work they do. We’re looking forward to launching this year’s competition later this year!

Read more

4. Finding the right banner stand for your needs

We know that deciding what banner stand can sometimes feel like a hard decision with so many choices and price points to choose from. So this article set out to take the hardship out of choosing a banner and makes it easy to choose one that will suit your needs to gain a great ROI.

Read more

5. Prepare your zombie apocalypse exhibition plan

With our fun interactive quiz, this zombie themed post asked exhibitors a few simple questions to find out how long you’d survive on an exhibition floor if it were ridden with zombies. With a few top tips to follow up the quiz, this blog was a sure hit for some top advice as well as a bit of Halloween fun.

Read more


Five Top Charity Displays

Displays are great for making sure that you can be seen through a crowd, but it can seem difficult to know which display is right for your needs as a charity. Here are five examples of how displays can be used in different environments to gain greater visibility and awareness.

Charity display stands provided by Marler Haley1. At exhibitions, conferences and events Pop up stands can create a seamless backdrop to draw attention from afar. As Cancer Research UK did with their pop up (image left), keep your design simple with your logo and key message for maximum impact and to increase its potential use. Replacement graphics are always available to use with your existing frame which is a cost-effective solution to updating your display.

2. If space is an issue, then banner stands are a fantastic ‘turn up and go’ solution to making sure you can be seen above a crowd. With a small footprint, they take up little room and are very easy to set up. Grace’s Fund (image centre, bottom) used their banner stand at supermarkets, but you’ll also see them in busy shopping malls to gain greater exposure and to raise vital funds at the same time.

3. When exhibiting outdoors, there is nothing better than flying a flag for your cause. Marketing flags can be up to 5 metres tall which makes them perfect for crowded outdoor events. Newbury & District Cancer Care Trust placed their flags at the entrance of marquees to show their location (image right, top). You’ll also see them being regularly used to support charity fundraisers at large outdoor events such as marathons and triathlons.

4. For when you know you’ll have some table space available – such as at fetes where you’ll be selling merchandise for your cause – then printed, branded tablecloths are perfect. Christian Aid used their tablecloth (image centre, top) to cover up their table top to display merchandise and information, you can also choose any colour tone with your logo to create a professional display.

5. If your aim is to raise awareness of your work on a tabletop, then folding display boards are a very versatile choice for a display. With a Velcro-friendly backboard available in 14 different colours, your messages and posters can be stuck on using male hook fasteners which can easily be swapped when needed to create a fresh display. Friends of Bexhill Hospital used their display (image right, bottom) to show the latest photos and descriptions of how they support the hospital to raise awareness of their work.

5 Best Kept Event Secrets to Increase the Lifespan of your Marketing Flags

Promotional_flagsPromotional flags make great displays to gain attention from afar. Whether you’re using them every day on a garage forecourt, or occasionally at outdoor events, knowing how to properly care for your flag will not only increase their longevity, but will also help make sure you are maximising your return on investment.

By following our step-by-step guide, you can be sure to maximise its use and extend the life of your flag:

1. Location, Location, Location
Consider where to position your flag to gain you maximum exposure but not at the cost of your flag! Air pollution will cause the white areas to become grey and UV can, over time, cause deterioration and fading to the fabric.

2. Maintenance
Life expectancy is entirely dependent on the climatic conditions and hours of flying. Realistically the maximum lifespan of a flag used regularly is approximately six months. After this time, you may wish to think about rejuvenating your flag with fresh graphics to make sure your display remains eye-catching and not tatty.

During the manufacturing process we bond our flags using a heat seal process, which minimises the chance of fraying. If any of the edges become frayed then a quick trick is to trim, reinforce and re-hem to extend its lifespan. This can be done on a standard sewing machine, but ensure that your needle is sharp. Standard cotton thread will suffice but a nylon thread will prove to be more robust if you are making your own repairs.

3. Wind and rain can be a pain
Dismantle your flag during adverse weather conditions, including strong winds over Beaufort Scale 6. Heavy rain combined with high winds can increase the weight of the flag and put extra strain on the pole. This can lead to damage. So if it’s blowing a gale, take your flag down.

4. Dirt be gone!
If your flag is looking a bit dirty then it can be washed. Wash it in a regular washing machine at 40°C with everyday detergents and air dry. Always allow your flag to completely dry out before storing as it may go mouldy. Your flag shouldn’t need ironing but if it does, iron it on a cool heat after testing a small patch first.

5. Give your flag space
Flags can often become damaged by being caught on other items. Ensure that your flag doesn’t catch or snag on its pole or any other surrounding objects. Do not place flag poles too close together.
If you have any questions a member of our team will be happy to assist.

How to Plan your Exhibition Stand

It’s a common error to invest in an exhibition stand space without carefully thinking about what your exhibiting needs are.

For some, this can result in very busy looking stands, or stands that disrupt the flow of traffic. Even if your sales team are the best in the world, your stand needs to be carefully designed to allow your amazing sales team to do what they do best.

See our video where I explain the key considerations for designing your stand and read our top tips below.


1. Clear branding

Exhibition halls can get very busy, so it’s important that your stand is fully branded with your logo clearly seen from a far. It’s also important to add clear USPs and key messages to explain what you do in a nutshell. Keep wording to a minimum as your stand should tempt people in for your sales team to do the talking. This will help passersby to determine if they want to find out more about your business.

2. Space for clients

With stand space, less is most definitely more! Overcrowding will repel passersby rather than encourage them on-stand. Getting this balance right could be the difference between your stand generating a positive and negative ROI, so think it through carefully.

Think about the amount of space you’ll need to interact with clients. Will you need a desk or counter area to take down their information as a lead? Are you planning on meeting with existing clients for a prolonged period? If you are displaying lots of products, then you’ll also need to consider the amount of room you will need for clients to view or interact with these in addition to the space you’ll need to take leads and sales.

3. Giveaway

Not all exhibitors will want to give away freebies, but they are a great reminder of your business if you get it right. It may seem like a quick win to have a bowl of unbranded sweets, as a token gesture, but this won’t help with your brand awareness after the event and won’t help with your ROI.

Giveaways should be relevant and should be memorable. For example, sweets with your name on them, or longer term gifts such as branded mirrors, pens or stress balls.

If you’re giveaways are of higher value, consider only given away as a thank you to leads rather than to everybody – this will make sure that you aren’t a target for freebie hunters who aren’t interested in your business.

Maximising your ROI – Charity Survey

Hurry, charity survey closes for entries soon.

We know that marketing display equipment is vital to all local and national charities in their quest to gain more exposure about their cause, to educate people as well as to help raise vital funds. But we want to help charities to better understand which displays charities are using that maximise their return on investment, to use their funds wisely. We hope that our resulting report will help charities to feel confident about investing in the right display equipment to maximise their opportunities by following best practice.

To do this, we have put together a short survey to find out just how important display materials are to charities, how they are used and how ROI is measured.

The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete. Everyone who completes the survey will receive the free results if they provide a valid email address plus get the chance to win £50 of Amazon voucher which you can choose to donate towards your charity of choice or treat yourself for all of your hard work.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Also, keep an eye out for our annual charity competition where you could win Marler Haley vouchers. See how last year’s winners Orpheus used their vouchers.

Prize Draw Ts and Cs

To be eligible for the £50 Amazon prize draw, you must provide a valid email address and the name of the charity that you work, or volunteer for. The prize draw will be open until the end of September 2014, at which point the survey may still remain open at the discretion of Marler Haley. If no response from the winning prize draw entry is received after 2 weeks, then a second winner will be drawn.

Charities that have already completed this survey include:


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