By Luica Mak
The Hoffman Agency, London
As Mobile World Congress (MWC) is fast approaching, we have received many requests from both existing and prospective clients about specific campaigns to maximise their PR efforts at one of the biggest technology shows in the world.
Here are some little things I’ve learned from previous years that can help companies get the right attention from media and influencers attending MWC.
Get Ahead of the Game with Pre-briefings
Although many journalists complained about the lack of high-profile consumer announcements during the show last year, that won’t stop media from being bombarded with press announcements from B2B companies this year.
One way to amplify B2B news (and make it more interesting to media) is to set up pre-briefs with analysts who can comment on relevant industry trends.
Then if a friendly journalist were to reach out looking for news items (but only wanting third-party sources), you’d be able to provide them with an analyst to comment.
Good Hospitality Goes a Long Way
Making people feel welcome is especially important during busy conferences and trade shows when most of the journalists and attendees have very little time to grab breakfast or lunch.
Make sure your guests have something decent to eat, no matter whether they have a coffee briefing in a late morning or an afternoon meeting over tea.
The long queues for any type of food at Mobile World Congress generally start at 11:30 a.m., and it will still take about 30 minutes to get some leftover sandwiches at 3 p.m. So make sure you have plenty of decent food/snacks ready for briefings throughout the day. Many companies have also gained popularity by offering drinks and snacks for general networking from 4 p.m. onwards.
As suggested by the Smart UK Project, “Making time for lunch is always a challenge with long queues and little seating. There’s no harm in visiting one of Barcelona’s many supermarkets and stocking up with some emergency supplies, or at least some water.”
Expect Bad Wi-Fi
Although MWC (like most technology shows) advertises free, fast-speed Wi-Fi, guests shouldn’t fall for this. I walked past a few stands last year where people were frantically trying to fix their Internet connection so that sales representatives could continue with their live demos.
Make sure you carry a back-up fast-speed MiFi (or high-speed UMTS stick), which can come in handy when you are trying to conduct a demo in front of some important journalists but can’t seem to get online.
Bigger, More Widespread Venue Increases Chances of No-shows
As Mobile World Congress moved into its new home at Fira Gran Via, it gained a lot more space. It now takes at least 30 minutes to navigate your way from Hall 1 to Hall 8, without running. While many exhibitors were disappointed with no-shows for briefings, the journalists were frustrated by how long it took to get from one briefing to another, and how difficult it is to locate some smaller stands.
My advice is to either arrange briefings at the press centre, or offer to pick up the journalists from there. Alternatively, you can arrange to meet the journalists at a nearby (non-competitive) big stand so that your guests don’t have to spend 10 minutes walking around the block to find you.
So good luck to those of you who are implementing PR campaigns at MWC. As always, many journalists are fully booked for briefings weeks in advance of the show. If you don’t get as many briefings as you want, it’s definitely worth focusing on making sure your news stands out by providing the whole package for a story (analyst quotes, customer testimonials, etc.), and at the right time. For example, consider scheduling smaller announcements before the show to get coverage in the previews.
Lastly, let’s not forget the journalists who cover the show but are not present in Barcelona – be sure to keep them informed of your client’s news as well.