MODULAR STANDS: Modular mechanics - Manufacturers of modular stands appear confident that their products meet business expectations. But how do clients rate them and are they true to their word?

In October's Marketing Event we asked modular stand manufacturers to describe their products in their own words. Now it's the turn of the clients to tell us how good some of the products really are.

In October's Marketing Event we asked modular stand manufacturers to describe their products in their own words. Now it's the turn of the clients to tell us how good some of the products really are.

The general consensus seems that companies require stands that are lightweight, easy to assemble and look good. This can also include a quick turnaround time from the manufacturers. The main reason for that is because exhibitors travel to many shows each year.

It's not just for shows. Clients involved in field marketing also want something that is easy to transport and practical. It's also not just for events in the UK. Clients need stands that are tough and easy to pack away for those trips to countries such as Japan, the US and Bahrain.

There are also some manufacturers that were not included in the October feature. Some of the clients range from big names such as Psion, United Business Media and the BBC, as well as design agencies such as Hart Wilcox and Good Impressions.

So here's the client's chance to say what they think in their own words along with what the manufacturers said in October.

Clip

What Clip said in October: Clip boasts that it is easy to assemble, easy to transport and easy to handle. It also claims to be lighter than equivalent pop-up displays and is shipped around the world to countries including Japan, South Africa and the US.

Its moulded carry cases protect its products from possible damage from freight handlers. The design is intended to bring the exhibitors image and graphics to the fore and not the system that supports them.

What the clients say: Two of Clip's clients, United Business Media (UBM) and Phamacia, both give positive feedback on Clip.

'We wanted exhibition equipment that was easily assembled, lightweight, looked professional and versatile,' says UBM corporate and group special events manager, Alison Stevens. 'Clip fitted these requirements and the price was reasonable.'

UBM regularly attends agriculture shows as part of its agriculture division.

This year it will be using Clip at its Pig Conference in May and the Royal Show in July at the NAC Stoneleigh. It goes to the shows to promote its journals or launch a specific product.

'The Clip modular exhibition equipment allowed us to do this, giving us maximum image and promotional facility for least cost,' explains Stevens.

'The beauty of Clip is that we can use it time and time again, change the graphics, redesign and we've got a completely different stand. Clip stores all our equipment, delivers, does build-up and breakdown and advises on design.'

Pharmacia, which manufacturers Nicorette products, needs Clip for its 60 to 100 shows each year.

'Clip is very adaptable and is ideal to bolt on extra parts depending on space,' says Pharmacia technical support co-ordinator Kate Davidson 'Our graphics are also handled for us via Clip. Graphics can make or break a stand.'

Pharmacia uses Clip for all its pharmacutical events ranging from exhibitions to conferences. This includes big GP and hospital shows.

RT Display

What RT Display said in October: RT claimed its Maxima Light stand is easy to transport and store. It is designed for companies that are frequently exhibiting in a season while it also has high-quality aluminium extrusions that 'combine good looks with robust durability'. The Maxima Light is available with a range of hinges which give a greater freedom of design.

The range means uprights do not have to be upright and connections do not have to be at right angles.

What the clients say: Paul Tanswell, managing director of PR Exhibition Services, says the Maxima Light is 'totally adaptable' and is a 'very strong system'.

'It has the best range of accessories and pretty much has everything,' he says. 'The Maxima range is newer, but it is always looking for new angles in future research and development. We design stands for our clients and RT has the best range.'

The Octanorm system, provided by RT Display, is also popular among design agencies. Production company Hart Wilcox used the Octanorm system for its design of the Alitalia stand at the Business Travel Exhibition at Olympia last month.

'The stand looked good and some people were saying that it was their favourite stand,' says Hart Wilcox director Stephen Hart. 'People from Alitalia were blown away by the finished stand.'

He adds: 'We are renowned for our ingenuity and the Octanorm system gives us the ability to make some weird and wonderful curves. It's very flexible and practical.'

'We've used the Octanorm modular system in various profiles,' adds design agency Pennine Art managing director John Booth. 'We're very happy with it. It gives us a lot of design flexibility. It's also very cost-effective and practical at many venues.'

Nomadic Display

What Nomadic Display said in October: The company boasts a wide range of portable and modular display systems. This includes its Nomadic Instand pop-up system and Nomadic Platinum custom modular displays. The Platinum is a 'new generation of hard panel display systems'. Large format graphics can be combined with the 'popular features of the hard-wall system' such as load bearing counters, lockable storage and displays cases in a wide variety of panel covering. Its panels have dual surfaces as a standard feature. On one side is fabric and laminate on the other 'for complete reversibility and flexibility'.

What the client says: The BBC used the Platinum system at the British Education Technology show in Olympia in January. It plans to use it again at the Education show at the NEC later this month. The BBC felt it needed a stand that could convey its new colour branding for different educational groups. It had already used Nomadic for the launch of BBC Digital Radio.

'I was very impressed with the close working relationship we developed with Nomadic,' says BBC specialist factual learning brand manager, Jessica Robinson. 'The design of the stand was very much a collaborative effort as we were able to bounce ideas off each other. My contact at Nomadic was always available for advice during the stressful pre-exhibition period.

In fact the whole service from Nomadic was exceptional.'

The Platinum was also chosen because the system could be integrated with its existing Nomadic Instand.

Deltalight UK

What Deltalight says: Deltalight is a fully independent company which was founded four years ago. It was set up to supply the 'growing demand for the innovative, award-winning architectural lighting products from Deltalight in Belgium'. It soon became the sole UK supplier of the DeltaMatrix modular exhibition and display system, designed by Deltalight as a 'complementary building system for designers and architects.'

What the client says: Deltalight's modular stands are on view every weekend.

They form part of the set on the BBC's Match of the Day. Gary Lineker, Alan Hanson and Trevor Brooking sit in front of the company's modular system, which contains football trophies and memorabilia.

'We liked the DeltaMatrix look as it was a good, modern and clean look,' says freelance production designer Paul Sudlow. 'It was designed with the idea of exhibiting football. The stands can also be assembled well with a good linking system. There were no problems installing it.'

'Until recently, we were using a virtual reality look to the set,' says Match of the Day producer Phil Bigwood. 'But this season we went for a new look as it was more flexible for the cameras and made the studio look more real.'

The BBC is also using DeltaMatrix's modular equipment for when it goes on the road, for example to European football matches.

'The same stands are used for Football Focus on Saturday afternoons,' adds Bigwood. 'They will also be used for the studio on some England internationals and the world club football competition.'

'Deltalight's stand had a futuristic look which appealed,' explains Sudlow.

'A new look was important with Gary Lineker replacing Des Lynam as presenter.'

Electro-Tech Colour

What Electro-Tech Colour says: Electro-Tech Colour (ETC) was not featured in the October issue. The company, which was formed seven years ago, offers a comprehensive range of modular stand products. These include its Stand Up, Spring Up and Fold Out systems.

The Fold Out is the complete system and is easy to assemble. Graphics can be put up with magnetic strips and are designed so that no one can see the join.

The company also offers a graphics service and specialises in large format digital colour printing. It is continually investing in new equipment with the latest technology while it always ensures that it listens to its clients regarding improvements to its stand design.

What the client says: Design agency Good Impressions has been using ETC products for about seven years. Its work with government authorities such as the DTI's Invest UK, has taken ETC products as far afield as the US and the Far East.

'They have very good stands that stand the test of time,' says Good Impressions director Ray Calder. 'We've found that they are the best in the market.

Other stands we've used have been fiddly and tended to break at airports.'

Good Impressions has used ETC's modular stands at a number of exhibitions and conferences where they provide a backdrop. But no matter how tight deadlines can be, Calder says ETC always meets them and is always able to help.

'Nothing is too much trouble,' he explains. 'They are good value for money and very reliable. ETC will do just about anything.'

Exhibition Services

What Exhibition Services says: The company says it is recognised as solution providers using its 'experience alongside creativity to answer display challenges'. It can cover the supply of accessories to total project management.

Exhibition Services' modular frameworks include display units, stand structures and combination stands. The company also offers in-house design where it can take 'concepts and colour visuals through to full working drawings.

It has been operating for 21 years and 70% of its customers are repeat clients or come on recommendation. Its small team offers a flexible service, which it claims other larger companies cannot.

What the client says: Psion has used Exhibition Services not only for shows, such as Live 2000 last September, but also for field marketing activity. The company, which has held product promotions at venues including Heathrow's Terminal 4, has used Exhibition Services' pop-up and modular stands.

'The beauty of it is that the stands are very modular,' says Psion marketing executive Kim Jaffal. 'It is easy to take anywhere and if we needed anything the next day, Exhibition Services will always have it. Also, it looks really good.

'But, predominantly we use the stands at exhibitions for about seven shows a year.'

Psion has also used Exhibition Services at the Tomorrow's World show and roadshows across the UK. Psion will continue working with Exhibition Services at this year's Internet World and Live 2001.

Service Point Skyline

What Service Point Skyline (SPS) said in October: SPS claims that if you can minimise space, you can minimise cost with its Skytruss. It has 'unparalleled' hanging, platform, audio-visual and integration capabilities.

It is reconfigurable and has an indefinite lifespan. SPS also claims its collapsible square tubing is a 'unique feature in the modular marketplace'.

The folding sections mean that up to 32 feet of Stytruss can be transported into portable, flight-friendly shipping cases. This makes it easy and cost-effective to transport locally, nationally or internationally. It is designed to support conference floors, presentation platforms and a 'limitless' number of products. Its range of pop-up stands include Curveform, Magwall, Mosaic, Mirage and Mirage Plus.

What the clients say: Ebsco Information Systems (EIS) is an SPS client which has used a combination Skytruss, Mosaic, Curveform and Magwell.

'We do about three big shows and a few smaller ones every year,' says EIS events and exhibition manager Jonathan Martin. 'The Skytruss system is perfect for our needs as we can reconfigure the stand at any point, build various elements into it, just exactly what we needed for each show.'

'We believe that the unlimited reconfigurability of Skytruss really sets you apart,' adds Picdar exhibitions manager Georgina Blumsom. 'We are now exhibiting five times a year and we have decided to purchase Curveform and Skytruss along with the Mirage with marquee header. Our relationship with SPS started more than two years ago.'

Picdar first purchased the Mirage for its sales force. Blumsom says the Mirage 'won hands down' because it came in two easily transportable carrying cases that fitted easily in the boot of a car.

'Skytruss is so versatile that you can build your way as high as you like,' she explains. 'That really sets you apart and gets you noticed.

Along with the Curveform, it gives you a totally different shape and theatre.'




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