Expanding the narrative. Making any event a magnet for new and valuable connections.
Many communications projects exist as an isolated island of activity. Like a musical produced by a local am-dram group, the weeks leading up to it are a whirl of rehearsals, learning songs and lines by the performers and for others building and painting sets, gathering props and printing off programmes. All for a three-night run in front of connections to the cast – mums, dads, extended families and fidgety children.
It’s a lot of effort with little left to show beyond the show itself.
For many clients, they had previously approached their events, such as exhibitions and speaking opportunities at conferences, like an am-dram show. The same stands were being wheeled out at the usual dates in their sector’s diary, offering a chance for experienced hands a chance to catch up with known contacts. However, newer team members were left nervous and with little idea of what they were meant to be doing besides handing out a brochure in exchange for a business card.
Rather than seeing these events as one-off chances to engage with a new audience, the whole investment of time, people and resources were usually delivering nothing.
Talent Lab’s approach to exhibitions has always focused on helping those on the stand to understand what the company’s objectives are, training them to engage with those visiting their stand and managing the data which each conversation reveals.
Breathing new life into exhibition stands and training staff
One client had been taking part in an annual recruitment fair for PhD level post-graduates for five years and had not managed to attract one new joiner. They approached Talent Lab to see what we could do.
First, we removed acres of text from their stand and replaced it with a striking image, gaining them ten times more visitors compared to previous years. Using a day of training around messaging and using each conversation as a gateway to engagement with the company, we gave their stand team confidence to talk to anyone. The result? Five new recruits in year one and a sustainable model for other events that followed.
For an SME exhibiting at its first business show, we used similar techniques – drawing in a constant stream of visitors to their small stand using an eye-catching design and messaging. We trained staff to evaluate quickly the value of each visitor based on simple criteria: remember, if all your team are busy chatting, potential clients will be missed. A busy two days followed with lots of new and relevant sign-ups.
Making sure the messaging fits the audience
For a PLC showcasing a new piece of equipment to their industry, we aligned their brand messaging to their political and regulatory audience and turned their large stand into a meeting place for the show’s attendees. We also scripted speeches for the party political conferences as part of a busy year of activities to position the company as a sector leader.
All the above examples treated exhibitions as key points on the marketing calendar, a chance to make new connections and relationships. We are now focusing on using podcasts and videos, alongside other social media channels, to expand these narratives before and after each event – and even during – so clients can maximise the opportunities to showcase their brand.