January 08, 2018
Comms Best Practices
/ by Caterina Lui
Pairings are everywhere in our society. Pork and sauerkraut, Netflix and a comfy couch, baseball and hot dogs and the most famous pairing — peanut butter and jelly. Did you know peanut butter and jelly only became popular because of the invention of pre-sliced bread? Timing is everything.
When companies plan communications for the year, they tend to time out major company announcements around trade shows for fear that announcing it at a show could take away from the big news — keeping a good pairing apart.
On top of that, when budgeting, events marketing is often put into its own category, separate from other “general” marketing campaigns or big company announcements. This divide is further defined as events marketing and strategic marketing communications are often on separate teams — teams that may sit by each other, but the thinnest cubical divider might as well be the Grand Canyon.
While every company structure is different, keeping events marketing on an island could lead to a major missed opportunity. Events can be utilized for more than gathering sales leads and meeting with clients. They can also be used as a platform for the largest company announcements.
Trade shows offer a targeted audience and a central geographical location where prospects, clients and the media can get instant gratification by engaging with your brand at your booth and asking booth staff questions. Events draw a lot of attention, so what better time to roll out a big announcement than when you already have a captivated audience?
Like peanut butter and jelly, events and big company announcements should be an automatic pairing.
Following are six examples of company announcements that can be paired with an event.
This is the most obvious pairing and one that most companies are already utilizing. Rolling out a new product at a trade show creates excitement which generates more booth traffic and, therefore, draws in more audiences to experience the product at the booth.
With information at everyone’s fingertips, audiences can read about new company offerings and watch videos online, but true understanding comes from hands-on experience. Buyers require a deep understanding so they can gauge if they want to purchase your product or service, or so they can bring the information back to their company in cases of B2B.
The media, bloggers and influencers also require a deep understanding of your offering since they often have to write articles or reviews about new gadgets or services. The best way to accomplish their goals is to fully experience the new offering themselves in order to provide their complete perspective. Fully experiencing a product or service also reduces the chances of writers misrepresenting your new offering.
Take this example of a product launch at the International Home+ Housewares Show by Midnight scoop.
Midnight Scoop’s new ice cream scoop announcement had an engaging photo and video, but, to prove to attendees that it really works, they could try the scoop themselves at the show. This demonstration at the event drew attention from both the media and attendees, proving that pairing their new product with the large housewares industry event helped Midnight Scoop get their just deserts with a cherry on top.
Crowdfunding is growing in popularity as crowdfunding platforms are making it exceedingly easy to create an online profile for new products and start raising capital. But imagine how much more capital you could get if potential donors could experience the product in person?
Pairing a crowdfunding announcement with an event is ideal for reaching a targeted audience and providing them with a chance to immerse themselves in the product as a way to get more funding. The instant feedback an event provides is invaluable and, as more people experience the product, word of mouth about your new potential product will grow.
For example, ThinkFun launched a Kickstarter for their limited-edition roller coaster challenge game in conjunction with Toy Fair 2017. Having the game at their Toy Fair booth allowed attendees to experience the product first-hand and spread the word after the show.
Re-branding or changing your company’s mission is a big deal, so it’s tempting to isolate the announcement so it doesn’t have to compete for attention. Unveiling a company re-brand at a trade show, however, can create buzz at the event — drumming up more booth traffic and media coverage. Most importantly, it gives clients and potential clients a chance to experience the new brand in person, not just sit idly by and see it from a computer screen.
For example, a company, Kraton, unveiled a new brand identity at K 2016. In addition to learning more about Kraton’s products, K 2016 attendees and media got to fully immerse themselves in Kraton’s new brand, creating a memorable experience for all.
Like product launches, campaign launches at events draw in crowds and generate unforgettable experiences for event audiences. Campaigns, however, offer the ability to think bigger, create new partnerships and reach new or different audiences.
In a previous blogs post, 5 Steps to Marketing at an Event Outside of Your Industry, we explored how The North Face expanded their reach by pairing up with a band, White Denim, to launch their “Seek No Shelter” campaign at SXSW. While The North Face and SXSW seem like an unlikely pairing, the “Seek No Shelter” campaign with White Demin bridged the gap and provided The North Face a chance to reach new audiences in an exciting, fun and memorable way.
If your company has won a prestigious industry award, chances are you will want to promote it frequently. Often times, however, if there are weeks between an award announcement and a company’s next event, they forget to boast about their accomplishment during the show.
Since awards provide credibility and trust, they should be featured at the forefront of your event strategy. Include the award win in all event marketing content and, if there is a physical award such as a plaque or trophy, display it prominently and proudly at your booth. In fact, many associations actually announce awards before a big event so exhibitors have the chance to ride the wave of the success at the exhibition.
For example, the Specialty Food Association announces their annual sofi Awards in April — about two months before their Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. Exhibitor winners use this opportunity to announce their sofi Award win in April and in all of the event marketing for the show. They also proudly display this Oscar-like award in their booth which is instantly recognized as a symbol of excellence in the industry. As companies accumulate more sofi Awards, they continue to display them each year until their booth looks like the Meryl Streep of the food industry.
If your company has a booth presence at a trade show, and has a representative speaking at that same event, don’t treat those two announcements as separate stories. Instead, send two announcements that have different focuses but intertwine with one another.
For example, one announcement can focus on the details of the speech and a summary of what attendees will learn, and then quickly mention the booth at the exhibition. Then another announcement can focus on what the company will be doing at the exhibition but also briefly mention the details of the speech.
Connecting both announcements helps all audiences see the full scope of how your brand is participating at the event and where to go to get more information.
Pro Tip: If your company has a representative speaking at a conference that has an exhibition, make sure your company has a booth presence so attendees have a place to talk to the speaker after the presentation and further discuss your solutions. If you’re struggling on how to write your event keynote announcements, check out our blog post How to Hit the Right Notes with Keynote Speaker Announcements.
Utilizing trade shows as a platform for big company announcements has many benefits. Follow the above tips and you’ll find pairing your big company news with events is the best thing since sliced bread.
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