The spirit of competition burns brightly throughout BETA International with its range of prestigious industry awards, including the Innovation Awards, Best Stand Awards, Society of Master Saddlery competition and Neue Schule Social Media Award.
Best Stand Awards
BETA International is renowned throughout the world for the quality of its tradestands, as exhibitors strive to deliver aesthetically pleasing and highly effective commercial space.
To reward and acknowledge all their hard work and creativity, every exhibitor is automatically entered in the BETA International Best Stand Awards, highly prized accolades that are divided into two categories – Best Large Stand (32 sq m and over) and Best Small Stand (under 32 sq m).
Stands throughout the halls are then considered by a pair of independent judges. At BETA International 2018, these were visual merchandising expert Kirsty Kean, of Visual Thinking, and Claire Hogarth, marketing manager of the show's chosen charity, Bransby Horses.
This year, the trophies went to...
BEST LARGE STAND
Judges’ comments: “A stand with a real wow factor! It featured excellent branding internally and externally. There was great use of space and fixtures, making an area that was easy to shop and browse. Props such as mannequins were styled and dressed to a high standard, and the use of lighting and shop fit gave the overall shopping experience credibility. Products were clearly displayed and staff were helpful, smart and presentable.”
Highly commended: Red Gorilla
Judges’ comments: “This stand was noisy and loud, with great presence. It was also great fun and a fantastic brand call-out. Colourful products were merchandised in an original and highly effective way. Staff were approachable and friendly.”
BEST SMALL STAND
Judges’ comments: “The stand was merchandised simply and spoke with a clear message that backed up the brand's ethical range of products. There was effective use of wall fixtures and simple, easy-to-shop point-of-sale. They had clearly thought outside the classic stand set-up to create a display that took time, energy and effort, and provided plenty of opportunity for interaction. Staff were really friendly and approachable.”
Highly commended: Aigle International UK
Judges’ comments: “A fabulous use of space with the quality fixtures and fittings of a larger stand. We loved the contemporary look with a vintage vibe. Branding was clear, with a good product range, and staff were busy and engaging.”
Society of Master Saddlers' Competition
Skill and craftsmanship were put on display at BETA International 2018, where talented young apprentices and trainees went head-to-head in the Society of Master Saddlers' competitions in a bid to share the winners' £600 prize fund donated by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers.
Competitions ran on each of the show's three days. On Sunday, the challenge to make a cob-size pair of cheeks with hook studs within six hours was won by Lucy Ellis, of Andy Wheals the Saddleman, Shropshire, beating Rachel Lok, of Nutwell Saddlery, Exmouth, into second place. Both are in training at the Saddlery Training Centre.
Monday's competition saw second-year Capel Manor College students tasked with making a raised brow band. The award went to Megan Webb, with Chloe Rutherford as runner-up. On Tuesday, first-year Capel Manor students showcased their leatherworking talent by making an Irish martingale. The winner was Tara Griffin, with Gudrun-Kirstine Gadegaard Thuesen in second place.
“The Society of Master Saddlers' competitions have been an important part of the trade fair for many years,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas. “Visitors always enjoy watching the precise, intricate work of these saddlers in training and we would like to commend them all for taking part and extend our congratulations to the winners. I am sure they will all go far in their chosen careers.”
Hazel Morley, of the Society of Master Saddlers, added: “Every year, the competition at BETA International just gets better, with the standards rising all the time. It really brings out the best in the apprentices and trainees, and shows that we have the best saddlery training facilities in the world.”
Neue Schule Social Media Award
Pet n Pony wins Neue Schule Social Media Award 2018
BETA International main sponsor Neue Schule took to the stage at this year's trade fair to announce the winner of its Social Media Award – a brand-new accolade recognising and rewarding the social media skills of its stockists.
Pet n Pony, of Durham, took the title, along with a prize of £500 RRP worth of Neue Schule products for the store and £500 of equestrian clothing and equipment for Gavin Hughes, who is responsible for the company's social media accounts.
“Pet n Pony had utilised our YouTube channel and created visually appealing, original content on Facebook and Twitter that always ended with a compelling call to action,” said Hannah Simms, of Neue Schule. “They were truly inspired and very worthy winners.”
The award was created to encourage Neue Schule stockists to develop innovative communication using social media platforms. According to the company, research suggests that 33 per cent of customers use social media to identify new brands, products and services, and 63 per cent of consumers who search for businesses online are more likely to use companies with an informative social media presence. Social media also has the power to increase loyalty, with 71 per cent of consumers who received a quick response on social media recommending the brand to others.