Our high-flying Lorry Philip, talks about his first time at ISE, media engagement and offers a healthy checklist for ensuring that your company receives enough media visibility.
If I had to describe this year’s Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show in one word, it would have to be “superforce”. That’s technically two words but I think you get what I did there. The event is held at the RAI in Amsterdam during early February and is typically described as the world’s largest audio visual (AV) and systems integration show. This year was its 16th consecutive edition, but my very first time.
Although not in the rookie class when it comes to trade events and industry shows, I had never visited ISE. I had heard stories about the cool tech on display (no pun intended) and the hundreds of exhibitors travelling from all over the world to showcase their latest solutions and products. I was also aware that the show has a strong reputation for gathering some of the best and most brilliant minds together in one place to discuss the latest in digital signage, audio and visual trends. However, what made this year’s iteration a ‘superforce’ was its sheer size.
Together with my colleague Martin, we met several influential people at the show, including its Managing Director, Mike Blackman, to find out exactly why that was the case. From an exhibitor perspective, the floor had been expanded by 5% to 56,100m2. Hall 5 had also been expanded to accommodate 30% more exhibitors. The total for this year added up to around 1,300 exhibitors. More companies equals more tech on display, which in turn equals more visitors, more keynote speeches and stronger networking opportunities. From smart buildings, residential, unified communications, audio and live events, education tech, and digital signage – the event catered for anyone and everyone and it certainly had the capacity to do so.
However, with all that space to walk through, how do brands stand out from the crowd? And how do they get seen by media and potential customers ahead of the event? Here are three things that you as a business need to tick off before heading off to Amsterdam next year, or any other large trade show event.
- Make a grand entrance and make it early. When I say early, I’m not talking just a few days. Think more along the lines of a month or two in advance. From a B2B media perspective, most if not all AV, IT and M&E publications are filling in their trade show features way ahead of time. That means you need to have industry commentary and product announcements ready to go, alongside product and booth images (if you’re exhibiting). You need to tick off a few key publications along the way, such as the likes of AV Tech Europe, AV Magazine, Digital AV Mag, AV Network, InAvate, Sound & Vision and AV News – the list goes on. This should be your base, however, depending on your announcement or customer partnership, you may also find opportunities in other verticals. Once your targets are set, you need to make sure that you have a schedule dedicated to meeting the press. Contact them a few weeks ahead of time and allocate 20-30 minutes to meeting editors and junior reporters that are on the ISE beat. You can do this via coffee or just on the show floor directly. Whatever your approach just be natural and remember your company messaging.
- Shout it out. You need to make sure that you are on the lips of all media and customers as you head into any large trade show. A great way to achieve that is to think outside the box. You need a strong opinion, a solid vision for what the future of the industry might look like and you need to communicate that vision with anyone and everyone. How do you that? Simple, through a tried and tested thought leadership programme. Plan out your ideas, divide them into a schedule that corresponds with certain industry events and conversations that are sure to grow across social media (e.g. Twitter & LinkedIn), and then decide on a format. You could do a byline or blog, a podcast, an internal panel recorded on video and promoted via social media – the opportunities here are endless. The key is to focus on making sure that you put more into your voice than your competitors. This is equal to having a sign at the show saying “I have something new and cool to say that’s better than the next company… let’s meet.”
- Follow up and close it off. Attending a show the size of ISE should be fun. And the truth is, it is fun. On the one hand, you get to meet some really interesting and fun people and on the other, you get to discuss your products, your interests and your ideas. Meeting someone that shares in that excitement is invaluable. After the event has takien place and you’ve spoken to your target journalists, it’s vital to follow up with them and offer any additional commentary, imagery, video content, etc. that they might need. This helps to further build positive relationships that will last longer than just the show’s duration. Then, close it off and keep an eye out for potential coverage.
Having successfully completed my first ISE tour, I definitely agree that it is a fantastic show and I’m glad that I got to fly the Lorry flag. Here’s hoping that we see each other again in Amsterdam next year!
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