In the role of a PR, from time to time you find yourself visiting exhibitions and trade shows with clients from a number of different sectors. Over my four and a half years with Acceleris I have done my share of walking the floors at these events with the highlights being the Chartered Institute of Housing’s conference (both in Harrogate and Manchester), the Buy Yorkshire conference in Leeds and Naidex, the disability conference at Birmingham’s NEC. These shows are a great opportunity to network, meet and greet and to create those all important business relationships. From a PR perspective, they give unrivalled chances to meet with those in the sector, especially media contacts, to showcase new work and to keep up to date on industry developments.
This week, Acceleris’ maritime division attended the Global Seafood Expo in Brussels and I must say it was something else! The event, which sees 25,000 delegates from 150 countries come together to discuss innovations in the sector, network and do business, is spread across eleven enormous halls at the Expo centre just outside Brussels city centre. Louise and I spent two days meeting new people, reconnecting with old contacts and spreading the word about the clients we work with in the sector. We may or may not have also been on the hunt for the best (and worst) samples on offer from some of the weird and wonderful companies displaying their wares.
Our main focus at the show was the launch of a new interactive microsite launched by the agency on behalf of European client, Europêche. For too long, the European fishing industry has been the victim of unwarranted attacks from NGOs environmentalists and other groups. Despite the widespread advances in technology, scientific advice and cooperative working, hard working fishermen are still seen as harvesting the oceans for their own commercial gain. Aiming to dispel some of the myths about the fishing industry and its methods as well as to communicate a more positive, consumer accessible face to the sector, we set about launching iFish to the masses.
Armed with postcards, leaflets, press releases, a couple of client spokespeople and the findings of our ‘first of its kind’ pan-European survey of 4,000 to give us the media ‘hook’ (get it?!), we jetted off to put the facts, not the fiction about the industry at the forefront of the debate. Feedback from the launch has so far been fantastic and we came away with a handful of new potential clients (as well as a bagful of fishy freebies!).
In all honesty, I am not the biggest fan of seafood (for the biggest fan, see the photo below). If it’s cooked and isn’t looking at me, I am ok but anything still with its eyes attached freaks. me. out! But, after two days of seeing the ‘scale’ of the seafood industry, all those involved and the huge amount of pride taken by those working in the sector, I have to say I have a new appreciation for an industry that delivers the best accompaniment to chips I have ever tasted!