March 11, 2015
The 112th North American International Toy Fair just wrapped up in New York City, and the Kellen team was thrilled to be a part of the action again at this year’s event. Toy Fair is the largest youth and toy trade show in the Western hemisphere, and this year’s show attracted nearly 25,000 global play professionals, over 1,000 exhibitors and more than 1,000 members of the media! 2015 marked Kellen’s third year spearheading the media relations for the show.
Running the media relations at a large-scale event like Toy Fair might seem like fun and games but the work can be a mix of member relations and media relations. To be helpful to the media, the full team needs to understand the show floor, the members/exhibitors and their products, as well as the trends that are being seen at the show. To help get ramped up, the day before the show our team holds a Product Preview Day. This is a chance for exhibitors to meet with our PR team and tell us about their unique products. Exhibitors get an uninterrupted 15-minute appointment to “pitch” their products to members of the PR team, which in turn allows us to guide media. It is a benefit to exhibitors and members who want to publicize their products as well as to our team who need to be in the know when media shows up!
Product Preview is a major organizational task, as we accommodate over 160 exhibitors in a 7 hour window. But with a little organization, and a can-do attitude, a preview day can be a key part of trade show media relations.
Here are a few tips on how to run a successful trade show preview day:
1. Organization is Key
Like any major event or tradeshow, organization is the key to its success. Keeping a detailed record of correspondence, having contact lists ready and making sure you have everything in order will give you a peace of mind and will help tremendously on-site. If your event has a tight timeline, it is crucial to keep a detailed schedule of appointment times, as well as the company’s main point of contact in case of any last minute changes.
- When organizing an event with outside partners, make sure you have a main point of contact that you can turn to if anything goes haywire.
2. Plan Ahead On-Site
For the Product Preview, our team meets with over 160 exhibitors back-to-back, leaving no room for error. Be prepared! Preparing documents for the next scheduled appointments ahead of time helps to keep things running smoothly. So if an exhibitor was slated to show up at 3PM for their appointment, we would pull their documents at 2:30 just to be safe.
- Having a schedule that outlines when things should take place throughout the day is imperative to the show’s success. Try to stick to this as closely as possible.
3. Every Exhibitor Counts
The preview day is a long day, but it’s important for staff to show enthusiasm the entire time! First off, a smile to welcome exhibitors and a thank you when they are leaving can go a long way! Remember, exhibitors that come in at 9AM need to feel the same attention and interest from the team as those that have 4PM appointments. Exhibitors and members know when they feel “the love” and appreciate that all who attend the preview are on a level playing field.
- If you’re a part of an association that has a plethora of members, try your best to make each member feel appreciated. Whether they’ve been a member of your association for ten days or ten years, try to show the same amount of attention and appreciation towards them.
Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for our next post about Toy Fair! We will be highlighting how the information that we learned at the product preview translates to help media onsite.
Have you ever coordinated an event similar to the Product Preview? I’d love to hear how you planned for it in the comments below!