PR and Social Media – The Make or Break Factors at Mobile World Congress 2012
ICE is still recovering from this year’s Mobile World Congress trade show, as are thousands of marketing teams around the globe. For the third year in a row, we had the pleasure of helping a client create a successful presence at MWC, the largest industry event in mobile. It was a whirlwind of journalist briefings, product demonstrations, and running around the “App Planet”, but as always this show remains our favorite event of the year. Here’s our round up of the event - what worked, what flopped and what we learned:
Product Launch Statue
Huawei did a great job creating buzz and harnessing the power of social sharing and media. The company found an effective way to permeate social media and generate buzz by displaying a Pegasus statue made entirely of Ascend devices near the entrance of its pavilion and the App Planet. This statue has been used in countless articles rounding up MWC and has been posted on social media sites like Twitter and Flickr, creating a lot of chatter. It gave the media an iconic image to represent MWC and attendees a chance to pose for pictures and share it with their networks.
Understanding the Environment
Many have reported that HTC’s presentation was the best at MWC. What made their approach ingenious? They anticipated the unreliable WiFi at the show, and provided each journalist with a personal Ethernet cable at their seat. This ensured that the journalists could tweet, social share and write press coverage before the conference was even over. For journalists, it’s all about getting the scoop first, and if someone else publishes a story first, they might not decide to write. HTC made it easy for the media to spread the word, and as a result their new HTC One X has been written about a lot.
Demonstration Tied to Giveaway
It is hard to get through one hall at this giant exhibition without being overwhelmed with useless swag. There are only so many pens, bouncing balls, mints, and labeled notebooks one can fit in their satchel. We always feel a bit bad declining the freebie, but this kind of giveaway doesn’t necessarily make you top-of-mind after the show.
One of our favorites (and we are bias) is a demonstration of service’s capability that was linked to a practical giveaway. After receiving a prepaid card from one of the company representatives stationed throughout the exhibition area – attendees were invited to see how this company’s solutions enabled financial services. At the end of the demo – your prepaid card revealed your prize options. There was no rain at this year’s exhibition, but who doesn’t need a travel umbrella?
Last year the Google booth stole the show with its two-story Android-themed slide, smoothie bar and conveyor belt of devices. It was interactive, innovative and a PR and social sharing dream. Everyone was really excited to see what Google would unveil this year and attendees were disappointed to find out that the booth’s highlights were exactly the same - a slide, smoothies and moving devices on display. Google’s booth was nothing new, so journalists weren’t inclined to write about it. Google’s only noteworthy addition to the show was giving away free ice cream sandwiches in honor of Google’s 2011 release of its Ice Cream Sandwich platform. The ice cream might have been a hit… if it hadn’t all melted after the first day.
Late and Technical Difficulties
Sony’s press conference was set in a remote location that was difficult for some journalists to get to. To make matters worse, the WiFi connection was reportedly very sparse, making the Twitter buzz about the event equally hard to find. Worst of all, the presentation started an hour late - a big PR no-no, considering journalists have tight deadlines and other meetings to run off to.
There has been so much written over the years about the infamous CBOSS dancing girls. We have always wondered how this hourly event showcases the company’s capabilities. It definitely clogs the aisle and takes a significant portion of the stand’s space. This year, we learned a bit more about the role this performance takes and it won’t be back. If you missed the gossip… checkout this article from Telecoms.com
One thing the hits and flops have in common is the opportunity to learn from both. As with the case of HTC, attention to small details is the key to ensuring journalists will write about a company. A lot of PR firms are having an “A-ha!” moment after learning about the WiFi solution HTC provided in their briefing. Perhaps we aren’t all having large press conferences, but this concept is as simple as bringing a personal WiFi hotspot to journalist briefings and lending it to the reporter. A small gesture, but it could be the difference between tweets or no tweets, an article or none at all.
Were you at the trade show this year? What were your favorite booths, giveaways or presentations? We love getting ideas for next year.