Call us consummate professionals or just plain greedy…either way, we were among the first through the doors at the BBC Good Food Show London 2015.
The first thing to touch our lips was chocolate, which is how every Friday morning should start. Staff at the Kinder Choco Bons stand were a lively bunch with a never-ending stash of treats to give away. Free sweeties – how could there be a better way to win hearts and minds?
Working our way through the exhibition hall, we joined the crowd who were gathering around a truly extraordinary exhibit - a Lexus car made from origami.
A marketing exhibitor tip to take away - there was no information to hand about the origami car, just a hash tag to find out more: #OrigamiCar.
As we spent the day observing here and tasting there, we came up with nominations for our own heroes of the event.
Pick of the bunch, our five-star favourite was Bake Box
Among all the fluffy, frosted delights of the Bakes & Cakes Show area, the Bake Box stand stood out. Even though it was their first showing at the event, our eagle eyes could find no fault at all.
We asked Johnny, one of Bake Box’s representatives, to talk us through the thinking behind the set-up.
- The stand had no corners, so visitors could see everything on offer.
- The stand was well tended by staff who had in-depth knowledge of the brand and its product offering. They scored an extra point for getting into the festive spirit by wearing Santa hats!
- Live demonstrations brought crowds to the stand and educated them on the products and services available.
- Pop-up banners and display boards gave the brand a unique stamp to the area.
- TV screens showing Bake Box’s TV advertising added to the visual impact of the stand.
- Seasonal decorations created a warm, festive atmosphere.
- iPads were displayed at eye level to record visitors’ details for a competition.
- Glass cabinet stands displayed finalised products and showed visitors what they could achieve when using Bake Box.
When we asked Johnny what the brand would like to do better if they were to exhibit again, he understandably struggled to answer. This stand ticked all the right boxes and proved you can have your cake and eat it after all!
Many other stands were eye-catching attention-grabbers too. We chatted with the exhibitors to hear their stories…
Profile: Family-run Wyke Farms is a regular at the BBC Good Food Show and the brand feel it’s the prime place to convey their heritage and deliver their message to their customers. Lyndsey told us they used free samples, plus a homely-themed stand to attract visitors. Brand awareness is clearly at the top of the menu, but Wyke Farms also love the thought of customers taking away their cheeses to use in their own kitchens back home. If they could add anything to their exhibit in future, it would be to showcase their production process, as they generate all of their own energy from renewable sources.
Profile: Health food company Linwoods are also loyal to the BBC Good Food Show. Kathleen Quinn explained that their stand went for maximum impact through their banner, ads, and backdrop all themed with their brand’s colours. Visitors enticed by the healthy food products were a captive audience to staff who were eager to answer questions and extol the brand’s virtues. Kathleen was particularly happy with the way Linwoods’ good online presence contributes to their success at the show.
Le Cordon Bleu London
Profile: The team at Le Cordon Bleu London, world leaders in gastronomy and hospitality, are confident the BBC Good Food Show provides the ideal audience for their brand to communicate what they have to offer. They attend the show every year, represented by some of the most prestigious chefs, and keep the stand’s formula more or less the same as it represents them so well. This year is their 120th anniversary and to celebrate, they had a second stand in the Bakes & Cakes section with a fun workshop drawing in the masses.
Polskie Fuze Vodka Liqueur
Profile: It comes as little surprise that as soon as Polskie Fuze Vodka Liqueur poured out their samples, the stand attracted vast attention. Emerging from her adoring public to speak to us, Katrina told us that every year at the BBC Good Food Show, her brand connected with the right market with their simple stand and clear message. Once customers have a vodka liqueur infused with, say, honeycomb warming their cockles, they are willingly directed to Polskie Fuze’s sister stands, Quiet Irish Man Whiskey and Shannon’s Irish Cream Liqueur.
Quiet Irish Man Whiskey
Profile: It was Quiet Irish Man Whiskey’s first year at the show but they certainly knew how to draw the crowds with their clever display - it showed the story of the whiskey’s creation through two barrels at the front of the stand. The sophisticated presentation added to the brand’s historic, rustic appeal and the samples, served with or without water, did their bit as well, judging by the happy glow on customers’ cheeks.
Profile: Harj at Little Turban, creators of contemporary Indian sauces including the temptingly-named Tangy & Aromatic Makhani Masala and Spicy & Oaky Bourbon Masaledar - raises consumer and brand awareness at BBC Good Food every year. His magic ingredients for success at the show include: never keeping his stand the same, using different styles depending on the size of the stand, free samples and advertising in the show’s magazine. Loyal customers make sure they call in which engenders more interest from passers-by. Nice work, Harj.
Profile: It was Jim Jams’ first year at the show and they were keen to spread the word about their healthier jams. As they're about to launch with Ocado, they knew it was the right moment to let consumers know where to buy their jars of No Added Sugar Gluten Free Hazelnut Chocolate Spread or Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam. Banners brought visitors flocking to the stand, but Jim Jams’ feedback was that next year’s plans would include adding a counter to display more stock with a feature behind it, plus a banner saying CHOCOLATE. Sweet.
Canesmith & Co
Profile: Gourmet confectionery company Canesmith and Co have won many awards despite only being in business for a few months, and one included a bursary to help them exhibit at the show. It wasn’t hard to lure the treat-loving hordes to the stand with samples of divine caramels and taffies. Laura Brown, the brains behind the brand, said she was happy with the brand recognition raised at the show. Next time, they’d like a bigger stand for even greater impact. We’ll be there, devoted as ever to our duties.
Having digested all of the information we so eagerly swallowed, 5 key pointers for show success emerged:
- Visual impact - Show your brand in an innovative way to attract the greatest number of visitors to your stand.
- Well-staffed stand -Make sure you have the right number of smiling team members manning your stand.
- Product knowledge - This is the perfect opportunity to educate visitors about your product/services, so make sure everyone meeting the public is thoroughly briefed and well-informed.
- Samples - Everyone loves a freebie and the delights of your product should turn into sales.
- Live demonstrations - This builds trust in your product/services and raises engagement with future customers.
Now take a look at our exhibition stands and you’ll have the complete recipe for triumph, again and again.