IBC Congress – business stream session wrap-up

13 09 2011

I’m pleased to say that our session at IBC last week was a great success with the room at near full capacity and more questions from the floor than we had time for – always a good sign!

Our Co-Founder, Giles Fraser, set the scene by introducing the speakers and talking briefly about the increasing use of social media by content brands, followed by Claire Tavernier from Fremantle who gave a great opening presentation which included her five rules for integrating social media into television.

This was followed by the panel discussion which delved into what each of the panellists were doing with their companies and looking at issues such as risk, investment, control and what the future holds.

A recap of the key points of the session are covered concisely by Giles Fraser in this short video.

Thanks to all my speakers and all that attended – hope to see you next year!

Making a call on event sponsorship – can you stand out from the crowd?

16 03 2011

Clients ask me all the time if they should sponsor conferences or exhibitions.  Like most PRs and marketers, they are lured by the prospect of engaging with hundreds or even thousands of their target audience at the same time, all in the same place.  A great opportunity, and I get it, I can see the value in that – but is it really ‘engaging’?

Can you spot your brand?....didn't think so.

I read a great example of what I’m talking about today on AdAge Digital in reference to the ever popular SXSW event in Austin, taking place this week.  Here’s an event that has been around for a long time and has always been under the radar, more of a music festival than a business event and for those who know it well – they would like to keep it that way. But aaah the curse of popularity. As the AdAge piece points out, the big brand corporate world has taken over and in the opinion of some, taken the shine off the event, with smaller start ups and brands getting lost in the frenzy – the competition for attendees attention is just too fierce that nothing gets through to them except the down-your-throat big bucks marketing stunts that very few can afford.

And that leads me to my point. What I tell clients when they ask me if they should sponsor an event is, it depends on the event. If you will be the sole sponsor or one of only a handful, you stand a reasonable chance of awareness and engagement among the audience. By contrast, if you’re competing against over 50 brands and their logos, stands, free food, drinks, laptop bags, etc – unless you have the marketing budget to compete with the big boys, you’re not going to get much value.

Evaluate each opportunity as it comes and think about how this is going to help meet your PR/Marketing goals.

ad:tech – still pulling in the numbers

4 10 2010

I visited ad:tech last week and took a few laps of the exhibition and thought I’d quickly share my thoughts with you. As usual for a free exhibition the Olympia was rammed (as were the local pubs!); whilst a lot of the footfall will have been tire kickers and junior staffers sent to check out the vibe and the competition for their bosses. This is normally always the case with ‘free to attend’ events – it really dilutes the quality of the audience. The paid-for conference is one area of the event where the quality of the audience increases, and there was a very good line up of speakers this year.

The seminar sessions (that take place on the exhibition floor and again, are free to attend) were surprisingly well attended, with delegates pouring out the doors and a fairly impressive line-up of speakers compared to the usual free exhibition dregs; of course ad:tech also monitors delegate attendance and flow by scanning barcodes, helping speakers follow up with attendees.

However, there seemed to be less money being spent by exhibitors on average this year, with most resigned to the default white gazebo and a small stand; although many used their space creatively and came up with a nice gimmick or hook to create footfall.

PR Week: PR and Digital Media conference

25 06 2010

I attended this PR Week conference  this week and would like to talk about this from two different angles. 1) my key take-aways from the event in terms of content, and 2) some examples of good and bad practice I noticed from the speakers in terms of the delivery of their presentations.

Key take-aways:

  • AVE as a metric is dead (this is no surprise to most but I was amazed it was included in a speaker’s presentation!)
  • Need to get digital and social media involved in the planning stage for large campaigns – can’t go to the digital team at the end of the planning and ask them to ‘socialise’ or ‘digitise’ something.
  • This is from an agency perspectice, but many brands are still hungry for knowledge about social media and digital and for some there is still a long way to go to educate them. A colleague who has just done a 8-month stint in-house thinks this is because many brands don’t have regular access to the same intelligence that agencies do.
  • There is a fear of social media due to the worry that it will go wrong – no doubt due in part to the high profile social media disasters that are picked up and covered widely in the mainstream media. Crisis management is a big issue and there were two very good and candid presentations from Mary Walsh, Director of Comms for Eurostar and Stuart Ross, Director of News for Transport for London.
  • Control of social media – discussion over who owns it in an org – marketing, comms, customer services, sales, etc. Also an issue of control – legal departments often quash ambitious campaigns.  Advice was that involving legal teams in the planning stage gets them on board easier.

Good and bad practice:

  • I won’t name names but there were examples of great presenters, and not so great. Also slide presentation differed greatly. 
  • One speaker’s slides were so full of text that I lost track of what message he was trying to get across. He moved on to the next slide when I was still reading the second paragraph – yes…I said PARAGRAPH! I took a photo of his slides on my iPhone to document it – that’s the photo at the top of this post. By contrast, another speaker used mainly images and it was much easier to follow.
  • One guy shunned PPT in favour of a something called Prezi.com which worked well and was a nice change – bravo.
  • Finally, most were good with this, but some went on a little too long explaining what they did before getting into the content of the discussion. 

Live video coverage of Mobile World Congress conference sessions

16 02 2010

Just stumbled upon this, but it seems anyone can watch live video coverage of the Mobile World Congress conference sessions via the event site – they call it Mobile World Live.  You have to register your details but apart from that it’s free.  This is a new feature and quite a good idea.

You can see Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google deliver his keynote at 3.45pm GMT – that’s in 15 minutes!