We’re starting to see in-person events, trade shows and conferences emerge again following the COVID-19 pandemic. Trade shows have traditionally been one of the best ways for B2B brands to boost visibility, build lasting relationships, and connect with industry leaders as well as potential new clients or customers.
Although there is much excitement surrounding the return of trade shows, the public relations component has shifted slightly. Trade reporters have typically attended top industry shows in the past. Companies shouldn’t automatically assume, however, that press will be at trade shows in the future. This is especially true with the shift to remote work or budget cuts.
At Fort Lauderdale- and Aspen-based public relations agency Durée & Company, we have over 20 years of experience in promoting brands at trade shows for various clients in many different industries, and we know what it takes to showcase your brand on the road. Here are our top 5 ways to navigate public relations for trade shows in this “new normal.”
Trade shows and conferences require a lot of preparation. They can, however, prove to be beneficial when reaching the right target audience. It’s important for a company to determine its goals as to why they are attending the show. Then it must thoroughly research the right expo or conference for their brand.
In some industries, there are hundreds of shows to choose from. Instead of attempting to hit up every industry event, companies should pick a select few and adequately prepare to give each event their full attention. There is no way to physically be present at every industry conference. Costs can add up, too, because booths are not cheap!
Create actual news surrounding the conference.
Thousands of companies exhibit at industry trade shows and conferences. Because of this, brands should create news surrounding the event to help stand out from their competitors. Journalists will likely not write an article solely based on a brand attending a trade show. It’s strategic to time a major product announcement with the show’s opening or highlight a new industry partnership. The company should still mention the event in its press release, but it shouldn’t be the focus of the announcement.
Determine the best way to visually present a brand.
Display booths are the face of the business at most events. They serve as a meeting place for your team, media and event attendees. The display booth and takeaways will allow a company to leave an ever-lasting impression on their visitors. Gone are the days of big brochures and packets of paper. It’s important to be creative with swag and takeaways for those visiting the booth. At Durée & Company, we’re experts when it comes to swag and researching fresh new ideas to help brands stand out. Some of our favorites have included selfie lights, hand sanitizers, masks, light-up bracelets, AirPods and more!
Establish an on-site press strategy
While at the event, it’s critical to research the attendees in advance of the show. Strategize scheduling meetings with key executives, journalists, current and potential clients, and conference attendees one-on-one. When purchasing a booth, we recommend brands leverage their sponsorships to receive a list of media attending. If media does not plan to attend, especially with the new normal of trade shows, a brand can also try scheduling Zoom meetings with journalists that they would like to create relationships with.
To help prepare for these conversations, it’s also important to create key messaging points. This gives booth visitors a brief yet informative summary of what your company can do for them. An example of some of these key messages can include:
- what your company is currently doing
- where your company hopes to be in the future
- an announcement on the release of a new product or service
Gather contact information and follow up after the show.
Exhibiting at a trade show or conference can be beneficial in building a company’s database. Visitors meet with so many companies, which makes follow up critical to stay top of mind.
We recommend collecting email addresses at the show. Visitors may be wary about giving out their contact information. A raffle or a contest, such as a business card drawing, is a great way to make sure you collect contact information. It’s even worth paying a little extra for technology that can scan badges.
Along with following up with potential new clients, it’s important to follow-up with media who attended the event. Thank them for attending, and share press assets such as images, captions, b-roll and the post-event press release. If media could not attend the conference, companies should still follow up with their press materials to get on their radar.
Trade shows and conferences can be a ton of preparation and work, but they will continue to offer enormous opportunities for businesses to promote their brands in front of their target audiences. Don’t miss out on the chance to create a positive and lasting impression through the use of events, and utilize a capable PR firm to make it worthwhile.
Ready to start trade show planning? Contact us at 954-723-9350.
About Durée & Company, Inc.
Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency and nonprofit arenas for local, national and international clients. Services include public relations, social media, marketing, digital marketing, content development, advertising, special events, branding, radio promotions, affiliate marketing and more. Durée & Company clients include well-known names in yachting, business, real estate, hospitality, travel, health and wellness, cannabis and psychedelics, art and culture, fashion, nonprofit organizations, cryptocurrency and technology, legal and professional services. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms. To learn more, call 954-723-9350; go to dureeandcompany.com; cannabismarketingpr.com; or psychedelicpr.com. Join the social conversation and follow Durée & Company on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn at @DureeCoPR.