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Wine branding: building wine stands that stand out

An exhibition is a great place for various brands to make connections with potential new customers. In every situation the objective will be the same - to catch the eye of potentially interested parties in order to make new sales and connections. Creating an eye-catching exhibition stand begins with a solid design, produced by experts in their field.
A wine festival or exhibition is potentially one of the more exciting events on a marketing calendar - exciting because after developing several award-winning wines, then creating their individual 'wine-dentities' and associated brand guidelines, you then need to focus on bringing these brands off the printed page and into the physical. The challenge is figuring out how to bring it to life; how to portray it in the physical environment so that it stands out, whilst representing the brand's history, values, 'wine-dentity' and lifestyle attributes in a singular, overall look and feel that seamlessly appeals to its intended target audience.

Effective exhibition design can mean the difference between securing new business for your brand and being overlooked. First impressions count, and a well-designed exhibition stand offers the chance to make that vital, positive first impression on potential customers.

Why exhibit at wine festival?
It can be a sizable chunk of your marketing budget, and the planning takes time but the key point is exposure. Exposure, new consumers and relationship-building can all lead to increased and sustainable sales.

Know your brand identity
You need to know what your brand stands for before you can ensure that your exhibition presence is consistently reflecting your brand. If you've been through branding exercises you should know the key values to communicate in order to represent your brand consistently. Your brand identity will include the basics like your fonts, logo, image library specifications, palette, etc., but it should also include abstract concepts that characterise your brand such as look and feel, emotion and tone.

Know why you are there
It is important to consider and identify your exhibition objectives before you begin conceptualising your wine stand design. The most successful and suitable exhibition stands arise from carefully considered design briefs detailing specific objectives as to what a client needs to achieve from exhibiting at a wine festival.

Begin with an idea. There is a term in architecture, parti, which means 'to make a decision'. It refers to the underlying concept; it is a single idea and the foundation on which everything else is built.

Let's say that your big idea or focus for the stand is accessibility - this informs all decisions in the design process by providing focus to a core thought. A parti refers to this emphasis on satisfying the original idea condensed into a simple statement or sketch of what the aim of the project is.

Thinking about your stand in its simplest form helps focus the development process by prompting you to consider whether any particular design decision is staying true to, or enhancing your original design idea. This can inform brightness of lighting, finishes, materials, furniture selection, on-stand experience, floor space required, etc.

For example, there will be a big difference in the design approach of the stand depending on whether your focus is a simple brand promotion of the wine estate or if it is a new product launch or a specific new wine you want to promote.

In the former your wine marketing message may be "here we are, this is our wine estate, a dependable reliable presence year after year" - this can be done with a logo and an engaging structural design.

In the latter case, the wine estate may take more of a secondary backseat with the focus shifting to the new wine, its 'wine-dentity' and lifestyle attributes. The estate branding in the background could lend gravitas and instant recognition to the product pedigree.

What can a stand say about your brand?
A wine stand must reflect your wine-lifestyle-brand. If your wine estate or company is about investing time with clients and providing a bespoke service to them, then take time to speak to those clients; build an exhibition stand that allows you to invite those guests in, and provide comfortable furniture so they will be inclined to stick around and converse.

If you want to show you have a funky, dynamic wine brand for the Millennials perhaps then your stand might be brighter with lots of colour, have funky furniture, a cool story to tell, some interaction with the brand creating memories like instant photography, thereby inviting a different stand experience.

Think of your stand as a shop front for your business; it's an opportunity to reflect all of your brand values in a large creative space. Perhaps you are based many miles from potential consumers, in which case an exhibition stand allows you to take your world to them.

An exhibition stand also allows you to create a physical presence of your brand identity. It is important to try to exploit the senses of prospective customers and clients. You're not restricted to the visual sense only; you can play with lighting, aroma, taste, tactile material, and hotwire straight into potential customers' sensory perceptions.

An objective must be to strive to make it memorable beyond the event. You want to sow that seed in the consumer's minds so that when they come across your wines in the supermarkets, they recognise and recall the brand association that you prompted through your stand design.

Wine branding: get your audience interested
Often in branding projects we get inside a company's ethos to understand what makes them unique.
As the old adage goes: "first impressions count". To a disinterested visitor, a well-conceived stand design and clever wine marketing will plant a seed. To a prospective customer it could tip the balance. To an existing client it should reaffirm their positive feeling towards your brand.

Light it up
Lighting is vital because when it comes to a 5m x 5m space and you have to meet all objectives and ensure that the visuals are on-brand and outstanding, then good lighting works literally as a beacon to draw people in. It changes a stand from being good to outstanding.

Know what message you are trying to portray and also the 'feel' that you want to convey. Low or dim lighting can be more 'peaceful' than a bright glare. This is the way to go if you want people to stay a while, relax and taste your wines and identify with the brand through visuals and staff interaction.

On the other hand, if you are trying to launch a new product, you may want to spotlight it, so it says "look at me"!

Consider the options of lighting tricks such as gobos, which can throw your company logo onto walls or flooring, or spotlights which can be used to highlight certain areas. There's also track lights, light boxes, backlighting, downlights, uplights, neon lights, shelf lights, recessed lights, etc.

Above all other tools at your disposal, lighting has the potential to truly create the desired atmosphere. Lighting can be inviting, comforting or dramatic, or depending on your brand message. Colours are just as vital as intensity when it comes to evoking the right mood. A strong yellow or white glare says "look over here"; whilst soft, blue lighting can say "we are relaxed and happy, come over and have a chat!"

For great wine stand designs and builds - go to http://www.wrappa.co.za/-tops-at-spar.aspx.


Wrappa Branding and Design's press office

Wrappa Branding and Design
WRAPPA is a brand and design consultancy whose expertise lies in the management of rebranding existing companies and creating brands for start-up companies in terms of strategy, design and execution.
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