By Ashleigh Chong, Senior Account Executive
It’s official — we eat a lot. Do you know that in just 60 seconds, we consume over 5,000 tonnes of food globally?
The global appetite, which has been rising steadily, will continue its growth momentum — just last year, the food and beverages (F&B) market was estimated to be over $5,650 billion. By 2030, global food demand is expected to rise by 35 percent.
What this means is that the F&B market will grow to become an even larger pie than before. That was what THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2017 rode on, and presented itself to the world as the gateway to the thriving ASEAN region, in which the F&B industry is nowhere near slowing down.
While it’s all good for business, how do you conduct PR for a trade show beyond the straightforward press release?
The answer lies in pieces of information from over 2,000 exhibitors, stakeholders and conference speakers around the world — quite literally. THAIFEX-World of Food Asia had clout in the industry and could speak for itself, but what we wanted to do was let others tell the story. The problem we faced was the difficulty and the mammoth task of accessing and distilling information from the thousands of exhibitors, speakers as well as couple hundred baristas and chefs from participating programs.
Nevertheless, with clear criteria in mind, we reached out to the show’s stakeholders and participants, trawled through all the information available to us, and systematically identified trends and interesting nuggets of information that would make for remarkable tales to tell.
Looking back, the key was having a specific end goal in mind and knowing exactly what we wanted to achieve. For example, there was a female barista who participated in a supporting coffee show within THAIFEX-World of Food Asia, and we knew immediately that there was a story she could tell in the male-dominated barista industry.
It took hours and hours of sitting down as a team, poring through each detail. But was all the madness worth it? You bet.
We’ve achieved over 350 pieces of top regional coverage, amounting to more than US$20 million worth in PR value. While these numbers don’t lie, what do they actually mean for our client?
They were thrilled to report that:
- Attendance for the 2017 hit a record-high of 55,111, a 30 percent increase from 2016.
- We achieved an all-time high of 11,982 international visitors, a 26 percent increase from 2016.
- Pre-registration also registered a 35 percent y-o-y spike.
- There was an increase in spot orders — almost US$50 million worth of spot orders were closed on the show floor in just three trade-only exhibition days.
- Visitors and hosted buyers also recorded positive sentiments on-site.
Elated from the feedback and our results, we decided to take our victory a notch higher by submitting our thrilling tale to Marketing’s PR Awards 2018. The team fervently scrutinized each detail, ensured that no punctuation mark was misplaced, and recounted 5 months of sheer hard work into a strict word count.
The result? We clinched the highly coveted Gold award for Best Regional PR Campaign, a category in which we faced stiff competition from strong, well-known brands with elaborate regional campaigns.
The team learned some extremely valuable lessons. No piece of information was too small or too insignificant to transform a story into a riveting one. Whatever fear and doubts we had in pulling off our first F&B trade show evaporated — we knew that we just had to be hungry enough for success.
We can’t wait to see what’s next for the trade show, and we’re excitedly awaiting the day we set foot in Bangkok again for THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2018 — its biggest edition yet. We are extremely honoured to be part of it once more.
Fast forward to 2019, we’re happy to be able to continue telling amazing stories for THAIFEX-World of Food Asia, and we’re humbled to be recognised for our work in last year’s trade show. Not resting on our laurels, the team developed a three-pronged strategy of corporate storytelling, stakeholder coordination and media targeting to raise the profile of THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2018.
The business result was a record-high 62,039 attendees for the trade show – an increase of 13% from 2017, and a 17% rise in the number of exhibitors for the 2018 edition. In recognition of our work, the team walked away with the title of Best B2B Campaign at the inaugural PRCA Southeast Asia Awards 2019.
It’s been an amazing learning experience working on, and growing together with the trade show, and we look forward to bringing THAIFEX-World of Food Asia to a greater audience and a bigger stage than ever.