How to make the most from your investment at Offshore Europe 2017

Preparation and planning for an exhibition is crucial.

As OTC Houston comes to a close the next big event on the oil and gas calendar is Offshore Europe in Aberdeen.

Offshore Europe 2015

If you are a confirmed exhibitor at Offshore Europe, you will undoubtedly have considered your objectives and identified what you want to achieve by exhibiting at the show.

This might be attracting talent for recruitment purposes, to launch a new product or innovation, raise the profile of your brand or to generate new leads – domestic and international.

Whatever your goal, make sure you give your business an excellent likelihood of achieving those objectives by planning for success.

Innes Associates is a team of communications professionals helping businesses like yours stand out, succeed and achieve great results from exhibitions around the world.

Our advice for Offshore Europe is to focus on the following:

  • Plan early.  Setting deadlines helps to ensure each stage runs smoothly from creating content to signing off designs.
  • Define your why. Identifying your key messages will help in preparing all content, resources and tools which promote and sell your business before, during and after the show.
  • Stand out in the crowd.  With over 500 exhibitors and attendees from more than 100 countries, make sure your brand, stand, people and products are prominent and memorable.
  • Inspire your team. Employees who show passion and enthusiasm will make your stand more welcoming and approachable.  We can deliver training for presentation purposes and exhibitions.
  • Read all about it.  If you have a great story to tell, there are many PR opportunities that we can help you tap into to ensure that you attract plenty of attention throughout the duration of the exhibition.
  • Get noticed.  From getting social on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and sending email campaigns to showcasing demonstrations or presentations on your stand and appearing on OETV.  Need some help? You can contact us for any assistance.
  • Take the lead. You’ve done the leg work, now make it work for you. Ensure you have a mechanism on your stand to capture leads and that your team know about it.  Also, walk the floor, set up meetings, seek out customers and suppliers, and find out what your competitors are doing.
  • The show’s not over. The exhibition has gone well and you’ve made new contacts and captured lots of data, now don’t let that hard work go to waste. Follow-up leads and hold a debrief with your team.

If you’d be interested in speaking to us about how we can help you get the most out of exhibiting at Offshore Europe don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01224 452177.

Based in Aberdeen we can provide local, hands-on support for all your OE2017 exhibition, marketing and PR needs.

Advertisements

Firm Donates Free Food To Local Foodbank

Aberdeen-based marketing and communications consultancy Innes Associates has donated a second batch of free food to local food bank Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), proving that giving to charity does not always need to cost money.

Staff at the firm have been accumulating food and toiletries they have received when purchasing a copy of the Evening Express or Press and Journal from Aberdeen Journal’s roadshow events in Aberdeen’s Trinity Centre. The items were being given away free to readers as part of a promotion run by the papers.

Fiona Rae of CFINE (centre) accepts a donation from Charlie Innes (left) and Ian McLaren of Innes AssociatesThe idea of donating the free items to charity was sown in the minds of the Innes Associates team after being struck by a 12-year-old schoolgirl’s generosity last year. The youngster had saved up toys she had won at Codona’s and donated them to the Cash for Kids Mission Christmas gift appeal.

This latest batch of food and toiletries totalled 56 items, with an estimated retail value of over £60. A further £10 of tinned and dried food was also donated to the charity which was purchased from loose change collected in a tin in the firm’s office.

Boosting supplies – £60 of free food thanks to Aberdeen JournalsEarlier in the year, staff handed in 27 free items with a combined value of £35 to CFINE’s premises on Poynernook Road along with 21kg of additional food purchased by the team. These free items had been collected in the same way.

Along with donating items to the food bank, Innes Associates has also handed out some of the food to homeless people and donated Easter Eggs to local children’s egg appeals.

Free food – first batch of food collected for CFINEFoodbanks across Britain have been experiencing unprecedented demand in recent years. CFINE is the lead partner of the Food Banks Partnership Aberdeen, which comprises 37 partner community and voluntary organisations in the city. The Aberdeen foodbanks put out a call earlier this year which local residents got behind. Donations are constantly required, meaning this latest donation was well received.

In 2014, the partnership distributed over 13,000 emergency food parcels across Aberdeen, with CFINE itself handing out over 3,300 of them. This year, CFINE has dispensed, on average, around 750 emergency food parcels every month and as temperature begins to fall it is once again witnessing an increase in demand. The charity estimates that over the course of the year it will hand out nearly £160,000 worth of food and toiletries.

Ian McLaren, Innes Associates’ PR account manager, said: “We were all struck by the generosity shown last year by a 12-year-old girl who donated gifts she won to the Cash for Kids Mission Christmas appeal. It got us thinking about the things we could do that could have a similar impact and this is the result.

“In its simplest form it was about not being greedy. Instead passing on the goodwill shown to us, to those in need. It shows that donating to charity can at times cost nothing.”

Fiona Rae, deputy chief executive, CFINE, said: “This was a great initiative run by the team at Innes Associates. All of the food and toiletries that have been donated to CFINE are a huge benefit. Regardless of the time of year, we experience strong demand for food parcels. Every donation is greatly appreciated, particularly as we approach a time of year when additional pressures are put on our finances.”

Energy publications

Some of the publications that support the global oil and gas sectorAberdeen is the heart of the European oil and gas industry and there is a wide range of publications that cover this important sector.  With the rise of online media the number of platforms has increased in recent years.  Here are some of the media, both print and online, that many of our clients feature in.

The Press & Journal – Aberdeen’s daily newspaper covers the sector in each daily and has a monthly supplement called Energy.  The paper launched an online news service called Energy Voice.

Roustabout Energy International is a long-standing monthly Aberdeen energy publication.  Over the past 40 years it has charted the development of the industry in the north-east of Scotland, but also features international news.

Platform is another Aberdeen-based monthly magazine publication and its digital version can be read at www.platform-oilandgas.com.

Oilonline.com is the online home for well-established magazines Offshore Engineer and Asian Oil & Gas.

Oilvoice.com is an online news service bringing together news of the global oil and gas industry.  It provides daily and weekly e-newsletters to subscribers’ inboxes and also publishes a digital magazine on its website.

Offshore-technology.com is another online news service dedicated to the global oil and gas industry.  It also produces a digital magazine called Offshore Technology Focus.

Published since 1944 by the International Association of Drilling Contractors, Drilling Contractor magazine covers the global completion and drilling industry, onshore and offshore.

Hart’s E&P is another long-standing energy industry publication.  It informs exploration, drilling and production operations managers, onshore and offshore and in all parts of the world, about the trends and technology they need to do their jobs more efficiently.

There are many other titles and we will add them to this post in the coming days.

Can running benefit your business performance?

The name McLaren has long been associated with speed and never more so than in the Innes Associates’ office of late…

Our very own PR account manager Ian McLaren recently completed a hat trick of 10K runs held in the north-east and at each of these events – The Glenlivet 10K, Run Balmoral and the City of Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k – he finished in under 45 minutes. (Well done again!)Ian_McLaren_Race

Like many exercise enthusiasts, Ian enjoys running for a variety of reasons. Along with all the well-documented benefits, there is now a growing belief that working out can help a business’s bottom line as well as the employees’ waistlines!

According to Zest magazine you can increase your mental functions by going running as it boosts blood flow to the brain and helps it receive oxygen and nutrients, making you more productive at work. This theory is echoed by greatruntraining.org, which also states that running is positively beneficial to your grey matter. Their website quotes a recent Swedish study, which found a clear link between high levels of aerobic fitness and better results in an IQ test – making running the ideal workout for a brain boost.

Many businesses today also encourage staff to take on physical challenges in order to raise money for worthwhile causes and, indeed, Ian used his trio of races to gather sponsorship for VSA, one of Aberdeen’s major social care charities.

Increased fitness + increased mental agility + increased support for good causes = a very healthy hobby. Time to grab those trainers?

Small businesses warned not to skimp on marketing

Improved marketing could add value for SMEs.

Improved marketing could add value for SMEs.

Recent research carried out by technology services company Pitney Bowes and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) reveals that the SME sector is losing out on up to £11 billion in sales by allowing marketing to slip off the radar. While 77% of companies recognise that marketing is important to the success of their business, a third rate their efforts over the last six months at under five out of ten, with 11 per cent admitting to doing none of the marketing they had planned.  When asked what’s holding them back, SME owners cite time (21 per cent) and money (36 per cent).

At Innes Associates we understand the challenges faced by SMEs and work closely with our clients to develop marketing plans and communication activities that deliver. Keen to chat things through? Simply get in touch to arrange a no obligation consultation.

The full article about the benefits of improved marketing for small and medium-sized companies is available to view here.

Augmented Reality (AR)

It’s been around for a while but we’re hearing more and more about augmented reality or ‘AR’ as it is often abbreviated to.  So what exactly is augmented reality, how does it work and how might it affect the way that you communicate with your customers?  Read on to find out more…

What is augmented reality?

Wikipedia describes augmented reality as ‘a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.’ 

A shorter – and perhaps simpler – description is provided by Oxford dictionaries. It refers to augmented reality as ‘a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.’

Augmented reality is different from virtual reality, where the real world is replaced with a simulated one.

How does it work?

The reasonably new technology of augmented reality blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell.  The basic concept behind AR is to superimpose graphics, audio and other sensory enhancements over a real-world environment in real time.

Perhaps the best way of understanding augmented reality is to experience the technology in action.  You may have already done so without realising it – particularly if you are an IKEA customer.  The Swedish furniture giant’s 2013 catalogue app was the most downloaded branded app of 2012 and featured an augmented reality viewer that allowed readers to use their tablet or smartphone to visualise furniture from its catalogue in 3D, along with related video and digital content.

A recent Business Insider article highlighted some recent clever AR campaigns that achieved what many organisations strive for: They created a positive ‘buzz’ around the brand.  A couple of our favourite examples are highlighted below:

Ford shows off some of the features of its Grand C-Max via an outdoor AR campaign that offers the next best thing to actually test driving the vehicle.

Food processing company, Heinz, uses augmented reality technology from blippar to allow customers to access a virtual cookbook by scanning their Heinz ketchup bottle. All of the different recipes used ketchup as their “secret ingredient”.

How can I use AR to communicate with my audience?

As smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly sophisticated and their use more prevalent, augmented reality offers organisations another opportunity to bring their brands and products to life for prospective customers.  AR is therefore likely to secure a place in many companies’ advertising budgets in the future. It is estimated that the market for augmented reality in the US will reach $350 million in 2014, compared to $6 million in 2008.

As with many types of technology, there is always the risk that some will use augmented reality incorrectly, or in a ‘gimmicky’ fashion.  When used properly, however, AR has huge potential as part of an organisation’s marketing efforts. By its very nature, it allows individuals to interact with the brand and its products or services.

Augmented reality also offers new opportunities for non-commercial purposes, such as educational or charity campaigns.

Two very different examples below show how a charity has used AR to highlight the serious issue of domestic violence, while National Geographic embraced the technology to introduce members of the public to ancient dinosaurs.

Non-profit domestic abuse campaign

National Geographic’s live augmented reality campaign

If you would like some assistance with your organisation’s communication activities, please get in touch.

Offshore Europe 2013 – it’s just around the corner

Make your stand space visually appealing.

Make your stand space visually appealing.

Offshore Europe 2013 is just around the corner but don’t let yourself be driven around the bend by leaving everything until the last minute.

The secret to making the most of exhibitions, events and trade shows is to be prepared.  Time spent now is time saved later – and costs can be more easily controlled if you have the luxury of time to play with.

The very first question to ask yourself is whether the event is right for your organisation? Stand space at major events is priced at a premium – and these events can be very worthwhile if you exploit their potential – but make sure it makes sense for you to be there.  Don’t feel pressured just because your competitors are exhibiting.  Remember you can always ‘walk’ the event instead.

Once you’ve made the decision to exhibit, your next priority is to secure the best possible site within your budget.  If you are a regular event exhibitor, chances are you’ll be given first refusal for the space you occupied last time. If the event is a new one for your organisation, get in early to try to give yourself as many options as possible. Bear in mind that a small stand with good footfall might be a better investment than a larger one that no-one passes.   It may sound obvious but paying for the stand space is only the start of the exhibition spend – you may also need to purchase or hire furniture, audio visual equipment, literature and giveaways so don’t blow the budget at the outset!

Once the space is secured, you can turn your thoughts to stand layout and design.  Never underestimate the importance of getting these two aspects right.  An uninspiring or tired-looking stand sends out the wrong message about your organisation and its products or services.  If you can’t be bothered to make an effort when trying to attract new business, then potential customers aren’t going to trust you to go the extra mile for them.  Work on making your stand space visually appealing, open and accessible and this will translate into increased visitors – and potential new sales leads.

Similar principles apply to your stand literature and giveaways: Put some thought into these at the outset and make sure you spend your budget on well designed literature and promotional products that people will read or use!  We’ve all heard tales about cupboards full of leftover giveaways – but equally you don’t want to run out of brochures halfway through an event.  Think through your targets for the event – how many leads are you expecting to generate? You’ll also need to brief your colleagues on the exhibition stand, so they are clear about who makes a suitable recipient and who is a timewaster.

Preparation for an exhibition doesn’t just refer to organising your stand and the associated marketing materials, you also need to promote your attendance and stand number to your target audience in advance.  This might include an electronic or physical mailshot to existing and potential clients, or something as simple as including an extra line in your email signature, stating your stand number and the event title and date.  Remember also to make full use of the publicity opportunities on offer from the event organisers, such as the exhibitors’ manual, trade show website and any event newsletters.  At the event itself, there may also be a press office on-site that you can target with any newsworthy announcements.  (Yet another aspect of the preparation is to ensure that you’ve thought about topics for press releases in advance and briefed your public relations agency accordingly!).

Seems like a lot to think about? Innes Associates has been working with clients to maximise the benefit they get from exhibitions, including Offshore Europe, for years.  If you’d like support with any aspect of your next event, drop us a line. We’d love to help you to prepare for success.