How to attract media attention for your brand at a conference

From consumer electronics to kitchen and bath to international housewares and Medical World Americas, it’s the top of a new year and that means a tidal wave of conferences, annual meetings, trade shows and exhibitions are on the horizon for many industries. If you are charged with the task of capturing media attention for your brand’s presence at a show and/or driving media to your booth, these proven approaches continue to help PR professionals meet their charge.

Engage a Celebrity – We read about them, love hearing about them and avidly follow them on and off the screen; celebrities are a huge draw in every setting. The attention celebrities attract usually equates to their A-B-or C-list status; however, many celebrities are vocal about their beliefs and passions that can be credibly tied to sponsor organizations’ products. The most successful activations marry a celebrity’s personal beliefs with a brand’s goals. For example, the SodaStream company unveiled an interesting Cage Exhibit at a housewares show and asked actress Susan Sarandon, a known environmental advocate, to unveil the art piece and bring light to the company’s sustainability story. Engaging celebrities to attract media attention is powerful and conferences enjoy the free press that comes with these folks. Many conference sites, including this year’s CES show site, include information about celebrity activations at the show.

Create News – New or noteworthy information, especially about important or recent events, captures media attention. Create information that media will find newsworthy. A new partnership, sponsorship, survey/study, program or initiative is a great method for capturing media coverage. These vehicles can be announced through a news release and press conference (held only for truly big, legitimate, compelling news) at the booth or on the show floor by a brand executive or company spokesperson.

Stage a Stunt – Humans are naturally curious creatures. We are intrigued, some more easily than others, by sights, sounds, scents and colors. Executing a stunt or creating some kind of interactive experience at a show or your booth is a great way to draw a crowd, and the more edgy or elaborate the stunt, the more likely it will capture media attention. In one extreme example, in 2002, spectators at a NY Fashion Week event were surprised when a cast of topless models walked down the runway pushing Dyson vacuum cleaners. Caught off guard and completely wowed, the stunt resulted in immediate media attention for the company’s North American debut in mainstream media across the globe.

As you walk the trade show floors and exhibit halls this year, make note of the activities going on around you. Creativity, ingenuity and perhaps a bit of risk can lead to some spectacularly memorable and mediagenic activations.

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