Fail to plan, and you plan to fail

January 24, 2019
Written by  in

Being part of the industry this won’t be news to you but, just in case it slipped your mind, next month is ISPO – the world leading international trade fair that’s become a trends barometer for the sports and active lifestyle industry.

ISPO 2018

A busy time for us and our clients, this year’s organisers are expecting 85,000 visitors who will have access to 2,732 exhibitors over three days. With such an overwhelming display on offer how do we get the most out of this opportunity for both Spring and our clients?

Well, for us, it all comes down to meticulous planning.


Media meetings

ISPO is a chance to get some of the industry’s most influential journalists in front of your newest and best products – in one location, at one time. It’s easy to miss people and, with journalists being so busy themselves, organisation and planning are key. Check out which halls brands are exhibiting in and plan meetings accordingly otherwise you’ll be dashing from one hall to another wishing you had roller blades fixed to your feet!

We contact all our media well in advance to get into their diaries early and book in a specific time and meeting point.  We show them the brands or products that are relevant to them, ensuring we stick to our timeslot so that no appointments later on are affected. If done right, it’s a very efficient opportunity that doesn’t waste their or our time.  Share your appointments with clients so that they are aware when journalists will be coming on to their stands and can join in the meetings if they are free.

Our team splits up so we are able to give every journalist the focus they deserve. And, of course, we are incredibly friendly and approachable people happy to be questioned, contradicted and debated with. We relish it!  

Top tip – always make sure you have a stack of business cards ready and available.

Researching new products

ISPO is all about trends – new markets, exciting tech, fashions, developments and talking points. Before leaving the office, we make sure we are up-to-date with what our clients are exhibiting and focus on one or two ‘hero’ products so that we don’t overwhelm journalists with information.

All information is written down in notebooks – our trusted side kicks – which we carry around so we can answer any questions that come our way.

At the start of day one, we revisit our brands on their stands to see the product in person.

Top tip – get yourself an A6-sized notebook which you can quickly and easily refer to.

Social media

With nearly 3 billion social media users globally, it’s a great way to encourage virtual interaction at shows. With lots going on and plenty to photograph, every day is a different journey. Our go-to at ISPO is Instagram Stories – they’re quick to create and show off our fun side. News-focused Twitter is another platform we utilise thanks to high interaction from trade and journalists. We keep Facebook for the end-of-the-day posts featuring photos and round ups.

Using our knowledge on trends at the Show, we gather all of the hashtags and handles we’ll be referring to so that we can make sure we are part of all of the conversations.

Top tip – plan some of your content in advance, pre-schedule certain posts and brief whoever in your office – you may forget to update during busy times!

Press packs

Every journalist we speak to at ISPO is given a press pack on a USB drive and sent an email containing a WeTransfer link complete with press information for all our brands. The press kit contains all the necessary information and images they need to write about our products.

Top tip – start preparing press packs as early as possible because as you get closer to the show, the busier you will become.

Great giveaways

If our clients want to giveaway branded products at ISPO, we encourage them to offer something to journalists that’s either memorable or practical; things that they’ll want to use on a daily basis. Keep any giveaways small though. People have a lot to carry around at trade shows and will start rejecting things when their arms are full. A great example is Hydro Flask, who offer a brightly-coloured insulated bottles to those who come to their stand. This also fits in with ISPO 2019’s focus on sustainability. And remember to encourage any journalist who picks up one of your giveaways to pop a picture on social media. Bonus coverage!

Top tip – remember that most journalists will be travelling home on a plane with hand luggage only. So no bottles over 200ml.  

Client catch ups

Many of our clients and brands are European so most day-to-day work is done over the phone and email. International trade shows like ISPO are a chance for us to catch up face-to-face with our clients. It costs a lot – both financially and environmentally – to travel for meetings so, because everyone is going to be in the same place at the same time, it’s a great opportunity for an efficient get together.

Top tip – find a quiet corner where you’re not going to be disturbed and keep these notes separate to your show notes. You’ll appreciate it when you get back to the office!  

After hours

We don’t just work during the Show, we also network (and socialise) at the end of each day by joining our clients for dinner or taking out journalists for drinks. It puts us all in a much more relaxed setting and gives us a chance to properly catch up with people who have been contacts of ours for years. There’s always some business talk but it’s also an occasion for more informal social chat, which helps to develop both our working and personal relationships. We very much enjoy being able to call many of our contacts actual friends.

Top tip – make sure you book the restaurant in advance, it’s easy to find on the night and you’re catering to everyone’s dietary needs.

Stay on top of it all

Lastly – attending shows like ISPO can be incredibly tiring both mentally and physically. You can easily forget to eat and drink without realising the pressure you’re putting on your body and brain. Keep a refillable water bottle close to you at all times and try to drink regularly. Eating smaller healthy snack meals more often during the day will keep you going. And don’t drink too much alcohol – especially on the first night. You’ll never make it through the three days!

Top tip – M&S Percy Pigs are a firm Spring PR favourite – not in the least bit healthy but we like them!