10/05/2020 | Spotlight

What about the popcorn?

What you miss attending a virtual show

At first, there might be a certain feeling of irritation. After the first login to the apparently very comfortable exhibition backend it is replaced by…relief? Slight enthusiasm? After all, organising an exhibition stand, especially if it is only a backdrop to a scientific conference, is quite a hassle:

Discussing a concept that meets every department’s needs (“my product has to take center stage” – “my flyer needs to be displayed prominently” – “where have you planned the computer terminal for my product demonstration”); dealing with the shortcomings of furniture offerings (“Why don’t they offer comfortable chairs/displays where flyers actually are displayed instead of hidden in a box/elegant tables); haggling with the architects; trying to staff the stand with experts who’d rather spend their coffee break meeting their peers; worrying why yours is the only stand that has obviously been forgotten during set-up or whose company logo has been glued on upside down…

“After all, organising an exhibition stand is quite a hassle.”

Trading this for a couple of days in the office, designing your cool-looking virtual stand (which you could never have afforded in the “real world”) and, during the event, chatting with participants from your comfortable office chair instead of trying to woo passers-by to your stand sounds really cool!

As time passes by, the enthusiasm is put to a stress test: The very cool stand design got scrambled while you tried to photoshop your graphics on the virtual displays; the glossy brochure that has been printed on special paper which feels great to the touch doesn’t look half as good if uploaded as a pdf. Anyway, it would have been nice to put an exhibit on the stand that could actually be touched, discovered or just played with. And what about last year’s tremendous success with the popcorn machine that drew people in clusters to your stand? You had a chance to make a lot of new contacts there who you might not have sought out on a virtual platform.

As the day of the event draws near, your stand does not look as great as in the service provider’s sales pitch, but all the material you wanted to present is there and ready for download. The audience is certainly more diverse than it would otherwise have been, and you even get a chance to talk to a couple of people who would never have made the journey in person. You leave the virtual venue satisfied – and yet, the following night, you dream of that not-so-cool exhibition stand with the hideous furniture where you could share your thoughts and your popcorn with real people.

Author

Kathrin Rübberdt

kathrin-ruebberdt[at]dechema.de

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