January 2016 - Hytner

Stimulating the 5 Senses at Trade Shows


Revealing the true power of the senses

In order to harness the true potential of your brand at a trade show, one must appeal to their customers. Many fail to realise that the best way to do this is by stimulating, not one but all of the five senses.

It can be difficult to do this with other forms of media like television or radio, which is why trade shows present the perfect opportunity to meet people face to face and capture their attention in every way possible.

Unconventional as it may seem, it is becoming increasingly more popular to use alternate methods to capture an audience, even the most traditional Art galleries are giving it a go – Please Touch the Art Work: New Tate Exhibit Will Stimulate All Five Senses.


Trade shows are conventionally highly visual in nature. If budget allows, choose the tallest display permitted to maximise your company’s presence. Additionally, consider choosing a flooring colour that will make your products ‘pop’.

Whilst a professionally designed display booth can help impress attendees, incorporating LED lights to tablets and other fancy gadgets can also make your booth look visually ten times  better.

If your company is promoting a service rather than a physical product, consider showcasing impressive studies and results about your services in a visually appealing way such as video, interactive displays and/or infographics.

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. With that being said as less text more graphics.


If you have a physical product, incorporate it into your display as a prop for you attendees to allow them to touch and feel it firsthand.

Lack of touch and a sense of personal space can also be equally important – trade shows can be crowded with little breathing room. In such a hectic environment, attendees can sometimes long for a place where their personal space isn’t invaded. If you have a sitting area on your booth make sure it’s spacious and easily accessible.

Placement of catalogues and literature should be towards the centre of your booth. Along with comfortable seating, it can all encourage product interactions and make people actually want to enter your booth space.


The sense of the smell is one of the most evocative and memorable senses that we have. It has a greater impact on purchasing than everything else combined. Depending on the type of industry, you can stimulate this sense in many ways.

When choosing a scent, consider a scent that best demonstrates your industry and incorporate it into your display through scented oils or air fresheners.


If your company sells food then this should be a no brainer, but even if you’re not in the food and drink industry consider the positive effect of offering some form of refreshment.

Trying to engage passing trade in a competitive environment is hard and enticing people in with a free cupcakes or coffee is one of the easiest ways to gather a crowd around your stand – then the hard works done, you’ve hooked them in, it’s time to talk business!


If your company has a well-known jingle or a sound that is associated with your brand, then consider including it into your trade display to reinforce your brand as well as generate a bit of an atmosphere. If your stand looks and sounds exciting the crowds are more likely to gather.

However, keep it subtle. Unique sounds and music can draw attendees attention but having loud, obnoxious noises can also deter them away.

To Conclude…

The ultimate goal is to reach the subconscious and trigger your visitors memories and emotions. Generally when you hear a song for the first time, it may not automatically stick on your mind until you’ve heard it a few times.

“If one of the senses is stimulated to evoke a memory, other memories featuring other senses are also triggered.” – read more here.  

There are many creative things that you can do to create a pleasurable and sensory experience for your attendees. The possibilities are truly endless with a little bit of imagination!

Top 10 Trade Shows in the UK


Whether you’re looking to exhibit or just attend we want to introduce you to some of the biggest trade shows from different industries across the UK.

Trade Shows are a great way to showcase your business and a rare opportunity to meet clients face to face. As well as being able to build your contacts and generate new leads they are an important opportunity to keep an eye on your competitors and keep in touch with your industry.

As there are so many trade shows across the UK we thought it would be both useful and interesting  to list 10 of the biggest and best so far to date. The trade shows mentioned below attract thousands of people over a small number of days so, the potential to maximise and benefit from these events is substantial.

Alright, let’s get to it!

1. Spring Fair International

Number of visitors: 64,000+

7 – 11 February 2016 – The Spring Fair is where people and products meet. Known as Europe’s largest home and gift items trade show, it’s definitely an event you should consider adding to your calendar.

As the longest running show at the NEC Birmingham they attract large crowds every year, in fact, in 2012 they achieved a spectacular two billion pounds worth of sales in a period of just five days! For a full list of exhibitors click here.

2. The Gadget Show Live

Number of Visitors: 75,000

31 March – 3 April 2016 – A spin-off from the popular Channel 5’s The Gadget Show, The Gadget Show Live is the UK’s largest consumer technology exhibition. It offers exhibitors the unique opportunity to get their brand and products in front of over 75,000 tech enthusiasts.

The show also takes place at the NEC Birmingham, so whether you’re a visitor or an exhibitor interested in home/lifestyle, outdoor, innovation or gaming gadgets, this is the show for you.

3. BBC Good Food Winter Show

Number of Visitors: 250,000

24 – 27 November 2016 – This is a must attend a show for every food lover. The BBC Good Food Winter Show is all about those warming flavours and tasty treats that every meal needs during the festive season.

Top chefs and experts including Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, Tom Kerridge and James Martin have all attended in the past to create their ultimate festive treats live on stage at the NEC in Birmingham.

4. Clothes Show Live

Number of Visitors: 160,000

2 – 6 December 2016 – With everything from shopping, beauty demonstrations, music performances, catwalks, trend presentations and much more. The self-proclaimed Britain’s fashion festival is also held again at the NEC Birmingham.

It’s the ultimate event for any fashion lover and last year saw over 350 individual pop up stands from various companies within the clothing, hair and beauty industry.

5. Business Start Up

Number of Visitors: 25,000

11 – 12 May 2016 – The UK’s biggest exhibition for anyone starting or growing a business held at ExCel, London. An event that is free to attend with over 250 seminars, 350 exhibitors, 12 masterclasses and guest speakers (including Piers Linney from Dragon’s Den). Offering free entry and with such a wide scope of information available, there is plenty of reason to go.

6. Scotland Trade Fair (Spring)

Number of Visitors: 5,000

24 – 26 January 2016 – Similar to the Spring Fair Show held at the NEC in Birmingham but on a smaller scale and more accessible for those based further up north. This event takes place at Glasgow’s SECC and has over 500 companies exhibiting thousands of products – ranging from clothing, textiles, jewellery, and fashion accessories to beauty products.

The show incorporates the following three specialists areas: Showcase Scotland, Launch Gallery and Scotland’s Specialty Food Show (the only trade show for the specialty food and drink market in Scotland).

7. Bubble London

Number of Exhibitors: 280

31 January – 1 February 2016 – The UK’s only stand-alone children’s trade show. Here you’ll find some of the industries biggest names as well as up and coming labels. Everything you could possibly need from a kids fashion trade show and footwear, to accessories, gifts, interior and maternity products.

The trade show takes place in the heart of London at the Business Design Centre just minutes away from King’s Cross. It’s a two-day event.

8. Internet Retailing Expo

Number of Visitors: 5,000

27 – 28 April 2016 – Another NEC Birmingham trade show aimed at those involved or looking to become an internet retailer. There are over 300 exhibitors focusing on the following key sectors: website design, SEO, web marketing, mobile retailing and social media.

There are eight free to attend conferences over the two days which, by registering on their website, you can have access to all the conferences, workshops and other event features over the two days.

9. The Manchester Furniture Show

Number of Visitors: Unconfirmed

17th – 19th July 2016 – The furniture trade show featuring many well-known names including La-z-Boy, Green Apple, Furmanac, Comfort Zone Sofas and Febland Group. This important trade show brings together key retailers, buyers and suppliers.

The 2015 show was so successful that 70% of exhibitors had already rebooked for 2016 by the end of the show week.

10. GLEE

Number of Visitors: 7,600

12 – 14 September 2016 – The UK’s leading garden wholesale buying event. The trade show is held at the NEC Birmingham, it showcases products from agriculture and forestry for garden enthusiasts.

You’ll be sure to increase product awareness and increase your brand through the audience of over 7,600 garden buyers – including buyers from up to 44 other countries in addition to UK buyers.

In conclusion…

The trade shows mentioned are the pinnacle of what each industry provides, therefore whichever industry you’re interested in or part of, there’s a show for you.

Attending a trade show can be extremely rewarding for your business, with a typically high ROI they still play an imperative part of any marketing campaign to ultimately help grow and develop your business.