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It’s fantastic to see the way in which the industry has rallied together through the challenges of COVID-19. Now, with the restrictions slowly easing and some sense of a light at the end of the tunnel, we can finally look forward with some positivity.

One of the biggest indicators that things are returning to some sort of normality will be much-anticipated return of industry events this Autumn. I’ve spent many years attending shows and there’s no substitute for getting people together over a few days to see the latest innovations, catch up with old industry colleagues and chew the fat over a drink or two.

In fact, research from William Reed suggests 97% those in the trade think shows and events are important to them for networking and finding new suppliers.

Personally, it’s fantastic to be working with clients on industry events again as they prepare to showcase their solutions on the biggest stage. Already I’m working towards the co-located Casual Dining, Commercial Kitchen and lunch! shows (23-24 September, ExCeL London) and The Restaurant Show (27-29 September, Olympia), all of which will be hugely anticipated after such a long gap since the Autumn 2019 calendar.

The return of shows and events also means the return of live award ceremonies too, which will be a much-needed boost for both the entrants and the sponsors. As well as various awards at the big shows mentioned above, I’m looking forward to the return of H2O’s famous publisher events including the StrEATFood Awards, Street Food Championships and National Burger Awards – more fantastic opportunities to get people together face-to-face and recognise industry talent.

Raising your profile at events

Of course, there’s more to shows and events than simply networking. I have many years of experience in supporting clients to maximise their presence at trade shows and publisher events, and I’ve built a long list of proven techniques that help to increase ROI on show investments. These include:

  • Media relations – using expert copywriting techniques and strong journalist relationships to make sure your innovations are featured in show previews and reviews, with press packs readily available on stand. There are also possibilities for media briefings at the event, getting you in front of key trade journalists.
  • Awards – making sure that you are putting forward the products to give you the best possible chance of securing coveted industry awards, which are often aligned with shows and events.
  • Branding and sponsorships – from branded lanyards to sponsored arenas, there are a wealth of opportunities to promote your brand at shows and events. I can source these opportunities and advise on which are the most suitable in line with your commercial objectives.
  • Speaker opportunities – I can also investigate any opportunity to join the programme of speakers, demonstrating thought leadership to delegate and attendees.
  • Complementary suppliers – from pairing tea brands with kettle suppliers, to getting branded bacon on the stand of grill manufacturers, there are always chances to showcase your products across the show. I can identify and target potential pairings to help maximise your presence without blowing your budget.

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