Missed Media Opportunities: Industry Trade Shows

Mary Sawyer
Vice President of Public Relations

Missed Media Opportunities: Industry Trade Shows

Think about it: Doesn’t it make sense to make an effort to educate media similarly to the way you’d educate a prospective customer?

Industry trade shows offer the opportunity for companies to demo their latest and greatest products and personally interact with thousands of customers and prospective customers. However, they are a major investment in terms of time and resources, so you definitely want to take full advantage of any reasonable chance to promote your business.

We often see companies miss a very good opportunity that costs them very little extra in terms of time and money: They forget about media opportunities. Some do consider media, but they put time and money into a very minimal effort and just a small piece of the puzzle such as assemble product information in a document, call it a press release and assume that media will understand and appreciate its significance.

I get it…with the logistics of producing, shipping and assembling the booth, equipment and handouts, booking flights and hotel rooms, scheduling work shifts and meeting with clients, there often isn’t much time left to think about media. Having worked dozens of industry trade shows on behalf of clients, I can guarantee that having a trade show media relations strategy definitely pays off.

Influential reporters, editors, publishers, bloggers, advertising representatives and analysts all attend these trade shows. They appreciate the time and effort you take to help them learn aspects of the industry that are important to their audiences. You may or may not get immediate media coverage, but the payoff can go far beyond the walls and the timeframe of the show.

As media become more aware of you, and you hear about upcoming topics to be covered, you’re building good relationships and becoming well positioned for future coverage. You have to have an organized approach, though, and work the show. There is a lot of competition for media time.

How We Do It

We find out which media is attending and reach out to targeted individuals ahead of time. Then we explain why a meeting is worthwhile and we coordinate appointments. Of course, we make certain that the person they are meeting is prepared with key messages and a media kit that has news and relevant materials.

We run interference if the company spokesperson is tied up with a customer. We track people down if there are miscommunications or if there are individuals who have not responded. Most importantly, after the meetings we follow up to ensure that no opportunities slip away.

Don’t let media walk right by your booth on their way to hear some other company’s product news. 
As you go over your planning checklist for your next big show, ask yourself if you are maximizing your potential for getting media coverage.

If not, let’s talk about it. Fill out the form below and we can set up a conversation.

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Trending from G/L: Brands Taking a Stance

Melissa Ross
Digital Content Producer

Trending from G/L: Brands Taking a Stance

In overwhelming numbers, today’s top brands are beginning to take stances on certain issues and stepping up on a soap box to make those positions known. In recent years, we’ve seen many businesses take positions on social and even some political issues. The conventional thought has long been that doing so runs the risk of 1. alienating some of your audience, and 2. opening your brand up to even harsher criticism of the campaign in question, but with time we’re seeing more and more companies and brands shift their strategies towards embracing the potential positive impacts of commenting on political and social issues.

Maybe it’s companies beginning to cater to Millennials, or maybe these companies have deemed 2018 as the perfect time to begin a conversation about more than just their brand. A recent study from Weber Shandwick, a PR agency, found that 51% of Millennials would be more likely to buy products from companies that have a CEO that have taken a stance on a controversial issue.

In recent weeks, we’ve all seen the Colin Kaepernick Nike ad campaign pop up in social media and on the news, with everyone from the President to your grandma weighing in. But during that time, a few other brands make social statements that demonstrate how doing so can go very right, and sometimes not so right.

Animal Crackers, a Nabisco product, has a new look, embracing a packaging change that animal rights activists have long fought for. The Barnum’s Animals packaging makeover now shows the familiar animals from the original box out in the open, walking freely in the wild as opposed to in cages or circus tents, as previous packaging depicted. This change comes a little over a year after the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Company closed due to poor attendance that was at least partially brought on by criticism of the company’s treatment of animals.

Mondelez International
Kiichiro Sato/AP

Even PETA weighed in on the Barnum’s Animals packaging change. “The new box for Barnum’s Animals perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates caging and chaining exotic animals for circus shows. No living being exists simply to be a spectacle or to perform tricks for human entertainment, yet all circuses and traveling shows that use animals treat them as mere props, denying them everything that’s natural and important to them,via NPR. 

And in a culture that has seen a hefty spike in vegetarianism relating to animal rights, as well as an ever-expanding market for pet owners (in 2017, pet owners spent $69 billion on their furry friends), Nabisco knew that it was the right time to make this change. While there will always be someone somewhere who is crotchety about change, this packaging re-design was a virtually no-risk move that helps the brand align with consumer values.

Another recently released ad was the new Land O’Lakes She-I-O campaign. While the campaign was aimed at bringing awareness to the women farmers out there, it missed the feminist mark that we believed it was going for.

Land O’Lakes is a consumer brand best known for producing one of the world’s greatest gifts: butter. What consumers may not know, however, is that the brand is also a member-owned agricultural cooperative made up of 1,791 farmers  And, according to the company, many of these farmers are women. In celebration of Women’s Equality Day in August, Land O’Lakes honored female farmers through a video that also served as the kick off to their new “All Together Better” campaign, which is aimed at creating awareness around the crucial role women play in an industry that many assume is dominated by men.

From a production standpoint, the brand and its agency, The Martin Agency, killed it. The overall message, concept and visuals are spot on. The video is beautifully produced, featuring real female farmers in real farm environments. All the pieces are in place to make this a truly effective video…except the music.

Teaming up with country music singer Maggie Rose, Land O’Lakes developed “She-I-O”—a new, progressive take on Old MacDonald that sought to transform the song from an antiquated nursery rhyme to an anthem of female empowerment. Now, I’m no music critic, and perhaps it’s the childish nature of the original, but the song feels hokey and nearly comes off as a mockery of the thoughtful and relevant message. As this Jezebel article points out, “…they cannot get any more specific about what she or we can do, other than working really long hours. In the service of what? Under which conditions?” Maybe that’s too much to ask for a three-minute video, but perhaps a different approach would have garnered a better reaction.

At the end of the day, will the brand’s reputation be hurt by this song choice? Likely not. The overall message is authentic and one they can truly stand behind. But it is one more lesson to be learned about the ways brands should (or shouldn’t) participate in social commentary.

Trending from G/L: The Changing Workforce and Making Good College Decisions

Mary Sawyer
Vice President of Public Relations

Trending from G/L: The Changing Workforce and Making Good College Decisions

There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it? / The Graduate

While pursuing a bachelor’s degree and an executive position at a corporation is still a good option for many high school students, some may want to think their route to employment a little differently.

NPR recently ran a story about high paying trade jobs sitting empty while high school grads line up for university classes. The article discusses the perception that a bachelor’s degree is the fulfillment of the American dream, and the path to a good job.

Unfortunately, the reality right now is that a lot of college grads are having a rough time landing a job while industries are on the hunt for employees with different skill sets. Industries across the board are talking about a “skills gap” that exists as they struggle to fill mid-level technical positions.

For decades, parents and high school counselors have placed an emphasis on guiding students toward colleges for economic reasons, and in some cases, because of an outdated image of non-degreed workers being unskilled. Those attitudes now may be shifting. Many students who obtain certifications and mid-level skills and experience at technical schools have plenty of job offers, at good salaries, without needing to attend four-year programs, or incur large student loans.

These mid-level skills can be used in the electrical industries related to control systems or automation. The IT world, for example, has tremendous opportunities in application web development and computer network technology. They may require certifications and hands-on training but they don’t require a four-year degree.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) quotes a report from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute that says over the next decade, nearly 3½ million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed, and 2 million are expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap

Not every high school student wants or needs a bachelor’s degree to gain entry to a successful career. Let’s hope that we accept the needs of our changing economy so that we can help students make good choices. There are great technical schools that are using state-of-the-art technology to educate students in companies and fields where they will excel.

Ranken Technical College in St. Louis is an outstanding example of how schools are preparing students for a changing world. Ranken is focused on aligning its programs with industry needs so it can provide skills-based learning and job placement. Approximately 80 percent of their students are involved in work-based learning at any given time which pays off for them and for their future employers.

The future doesn’t have to be in plastics – there are lots of choices in lots of different areas. We might just need to think a little differently about how we approach them.

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications is a brand-driven marketing agency based in St. Louis, Missouri that specializes in higher education marketing. If you’re looking to update your university’s branding or enrollment outreach, please call 314-727-5850 or by clicking here.

Trending From G/L: Crock-Pot Is Innocent!

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending From G/L: Crock-Pot Is Innocent!

Warning: Spoilers ahead for season two of This Is Us.

After the heart-wrenching reveal of Jack Pearson’s anticipated death in last week’s episode of This Is Us, viewers learn that a Crock-Pot—err, slow cooker ignited the fire that consumed the Pearson’s house, ultimately leading to Jack’s fatal heart attack. What happened next, you would never expect.

Fans took to social media in anguish and shock that Crock-Pot could ever be the culprit of such tragedy. Could it be? Nope.

Due to an overwhelming amount of concern Crock-Pot was receiving from This Is Us fans, Crock-Pot had to address their role in the fictional storyline. In a hilarious, but totally serious statement, Crock-Pot responded:

Crock-Pot understands the concerns brought up by last night’s episode of This Is Us, and we too are heartbroken by the latest development in Jack’s storyline. However, it is important that our consumers understand and have confidence that all Crock-Pot slow cookers exceed all internal testing protocols and all applicable industry safety standards and regulations as verified by independent third-party testing labs. For nearly 50 years, with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode. In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible.

In the same statement, Crock-Pot asked NBC’s This Is Us to take some responsibility to inform the public regarding the product’s safety.

This Is Us delivered a brilliant response across all of its social platforms featuring Milo Ventimiglia seemingly making amends with Crock-Pot. See the video below:


Trending from G/L: New TV Tracking Opens New Doors for Brands

Mary Sawyer
Vice President of Public Relations

Trending from G/L: New TV Tracking Opens New Doors for Brands

You should know when your brand’s paid advertising is supposed to run on TV. But it has been somewhat difficult to thoroughly monitor unpaid news or other programming brand coverage on TV through true TV tracking.

That situation appears to be changing, though, thanks to new media platforms and monitoring capabilities – just think about the benefits of being able to search for your brand’s appearance or mention on TV anytime.

According to a recent story in AdWeek, iQMedia has technology that can provide those capabilities. Marketers can now track every time their brands are mentioned and when their logos are shown. And they can monitor their competitor’s coverage.

The iQMedia platform includes spoken-word and logo recognition technology, and provides demographics, geographic and other statistics that a brand can use with its own internal metrics. The data is available within a couple of hours of its appearance on TV. Brands can also access six years of historical TV tracking and programming.

iQ Media’s platform includes spoken-word detection technology and, in what the company said is an industry first, logo recognition technology to identify when a brand is seen or heard on TV. It also provides demographic, geographic and time-of-day stats, and lets marketers correlate the raw data with their own internal metrics.

“Our systems are designed to be able to listen and hear for the content, and to be able to distinguish whether it’s in paid or earned,” said John Derham, iQ Media’s chief technology officer. “We get depth and breadth of content and resources in an unprecedented time frame.”

Domino’s Pizza, Energizer, the NHL, Red Bull and Sonic Drive-In will all be using the new platform, which makes data available to clients within a couple of hours of its appearance on TV. (Nielsen and comScore’s brand-mention services take 30 days.) Marketers can enter keywords, brand names or logos for the platform to track, much like a Google alert, and use the data to measure the ROI of theirs or their competitors’ major media investments.

These types of TV tracking tools give media planning and PR professionals’ insights that help to make better marketing decisions. The more that we know about who, what when, why and how people are brands; the better we are able to counsel our clients.

As measurement of success becomes more important to our clients, we’re putting data at the heart of everything we do. If you’d like to learn more about our approach, contact us using the form below:

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Trending Now from G/L: Hardee’s gets Unexpected Viral Social Media Exposure

Luke Smith
Senior Account Executive

Trending Now from G/L: Hardee’s gets Unexpected Viral Social Media Exposure

Unanticipated positive PR/marketing should be embraced by your brand. Hardee’s did just that when Facebook user David Yardley posted a moving photo to the Hardee’s Facebook timeline.

The attached photo is one I took on Saturday July 11, 2015 at Hardee’s on Tazewell Pike. It just really was a kind moment to witness between your worker and a elderly lady. I came through the drive through and went across the street and just happened to look over at Hardees as I pumped my gas and happened to see this as it took place. Your worker had been cleaning the glass I assume when the customer, the elderly lady started out to her ride. He stopped what he was doing and took her by the hand and helped her across the sidewalk and parking lot to her ride.

It just really spoke to me, I guess since so much negative media lately has been around the race card. Black and white, young and old all come together in this picture. I watched as he continue to help her until she was in the car and left. I admire this young man and appreciate his kindness.”

It was a simple gesture of compassion, chivalry and respectfulness that was caught on camera. David Yardley did not expect the wave of overwhelming positive support his simple photo would receive. Nearly 18,000 likes and 4,300 shares later, Hardee’s received multiple millions of impressions, press coverage in major national publications and positive recognition for being associated with the young man, Kailen Young, seen helping the elderly woman in the picture.

viral social media

Hardee’s handled the situation flawlessly- putting their Public Relations team into action, publicly recognizing the young man and rewarding him a $1,000 check at a press event for doing the right thing.

It truly is amazing how powerful and viral social media can be. It quite literally can make or break your brand. While Hardee’s had the good fortune of being a part of something positive, many brands are on the unfortunate end of embarrassing and negative mishaps.

For example, in May, a Burger King employee in Florida was seen dumping a vat of used cooking oil directly into a storm drain. Not only was it illegal, it was also incredibly hazardous for the environment.

Social media channels everywhere erupted in anger. As a result, Burger King’s brand suffered major setbacks and received tons of negative publicity.

It was later discovered that this was not an isolated incident at this particular Burger King, and the employees had been dumping oil into the drain for several weeks- nearly 50 gallons collectively.

Major damage control and crisis management was a necessary response. Fortunately for Burger King, they took the right actions by retraining all of their employees, changing procedures, putting together a comprehensive environmental cleanup plan and firing the GM and the employee involved in the incident.

With the availability and ever-presence of mobile technology, situations like this can and will be documented by the public. In short, it is important for your brand to always be equipped to not only embrace the good, but also prepare for the worst.

Shoot us a message to share your thoughts or learn how proactive Public Relations planning and crisis management can help your brand.

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Trade Shows: Hard On the Feet, Good for Business

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trade Shows: Hard On the Feet, Good for Business

Sixty-nine percent of contractors recently surveyed said they learn about new products at trends by attending trade shows.

A few months ago, Geile/Leon conducted this survey among home improvement/remodeling professionals, the results of which were published in our white paper, A Special Report For Home Improvement Product Manufacturers: The Big Payoff Awaits Those Who Invest In Their Contractors’ Businesses.  


Our research concluded that manufacturers—at least those in the home improvement/remodeling sector — who invest time and resources in their customers’ (professional contractors) businesses through marketing assistance, can reap major benefits.

The survey of hundreds of home improvement professionals revealed several interesting trends. One noteworthy nugget came from the responses to our question, “How do you learn about new products or tools?”

That 69% response to the question was a bit of a surprise. After all, we are still doing business in a stagnant economy, and because of that you might think many companies could justify cutting trade show expenses.

Apparently not.

According to the Center for Exhibition Research, trade show attendance is growing and is expected to continue to do so through 2015.

Make no mistake: exhibiting at trade shows can be expensive. Staffing a booth is hard work, and walking the show floor is hard on your feet and back.

But from a strictly cost-benefit perspective, investing in a trade show booth still delivers benefits. Think about this: trade shows are the only marketing medium where people actually pay to come see you. And these face-to-face interactions offer tremendous opportunities to build relationships with customers and vendors, and to generate leads.  Trade shows are also a great place for PR folks like me to interact with industry media, eager to write about what’s new in the industry.

I can personally attest to the popularity of trade shows for both exhibitors and attendees.  In January, I attended the AHR Expo in New York City on behalf of a client. This show is billed as the World’s Largest HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) Marketplace.

But three hours before the expo floor was to open on day one, it began to snow — and snow hard. In fact, nearly a foot of snow fell that day, as temperatures plummeted and winds gusted to 40 mph. Again, this is Manhattan we’re talking about — the heart of the nation’s most populous city.

But despite the snow, wind, cold and general inconvenience of it all, more than 43,000 visitors and 18,000 exhibitor personnel flocked to the Javits Convention Center. This was the highest registered attendance in the history of the exposition.

Getting to the convention center was a challenge, and leaving was an even greater one.

But it didn’t matter to those who came to do business, and that includes the industry writers and editors who covered the show, several of whom I persuaded to come by our client’s booth for a peak at a new product, and a brief interview with the marketing staff.

Despite the weather, everyone who exhibited or attended this trade show realized the positive ROI from being there. This is WHY they made the effort and investment.

To learn more about how we can help you maximize ROI from trade shows, just give us a shout.