The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Expo West
The time has finally come for Natural Products Expo West, and it feels like we spend months and months planning for it. Whether you’re working on the brand side or at a public relations agency, there’s a lot that goes into Expo West. At Konnect Agency, we strive to make Expo West as seamless as possible for all parties, because we know first hand how stressful and overwhelming it can be.
With so many moving parts leading up to the show, we wanted to break down how food and beverage PR agencies can successfully prepare for the big week – which is less than THREE weeks away!
2-3 months prior:
- Check-in with your clients regarding Expo West. Are they launching any new products? New packaging? Are they doing any fun activations at their booth (i.e. happy hours, cross-promoted sampling, ‘celebrity’ appearances, etc.)? What is their end goal for the show? Do they need somebody from the PR team to help staff the booth?
- Submit new products for the NEXTY Awards, which recognizes the most progressive, innovative and trustworthy products in the natural products industry.
1 month prior:
- Ask your clients who from their team will be attending Expo West and if they are available for media appointments
- Begin drafting your Expo West press release
- I know what you’re wondering, is a press release really necessary? Yes! Whether your client is attending the show for the first time or the 100th time, whether they’re launching new items or not, it’s important to craft a press release around why your client is exhibiting at the show.
- Reach out to the Expo West team to get the media list
- This list is a beast. With over 3,600 exhibitors and 85,000+ attendees, the media list comes in around 2,500 so it’s important to get started on it early. One thing we do at Konnect is split it up among the food & beverage team to ensure one person isn’t stuck finding contact information for 2,500 people.
- Once your list is complete, begin reaching out to media contacts to secure booth appointments and stop-bys
- Whether you’re staffing a client booth or just walking the show, schedule a meeting/breakfast/dinner/drinks with your clients at the show to catch up. It’s rare we get face-to-face time with all of our clients, so it’s important to take advantage of the rare opportunity where everyone is under the same roof.
- If you are staffing a client booth, start conversations early about their preferred attire. Most clients will have a uniform for the booth, so it’s important to consult with them if they need to order additional clothing items for you.
2 weeks prior:
- Distribute your approved press release via the free wires and the Expo West digital media room
1 week prior:
- Begin drafting and sharing a briefing document detailing out all media appointments and stop-bys for your clients to reference during the show
- Send reminders to all media who have confirmed appointments
- If you’re staffing a booth, make sure you know the following things to answer any and all questions attendees stopping by the booth might have –
- What’s new?
- What’s the brand story?
- What is their pricing? This goes for old products and new
- What is the full line of products available?
- When will the product be available in-store?
- Is the product going to be available at one retailer exclusively?
The big day(s):
- Arrive early at the booth to introduce yourself to everyone. The CEO, CMO, booth staff, etc. You want to make sure everybody at the booth knows who you are so in the event that media stops by the booth they can be directed your way.
- If there are no media around, make sure you are still up and moving – talking to retailers, handing out samples, talking to the client.
- Make sure you drink lots of water and eat foods that will sustain you throughout the show!
- It’s very easy to go the whole show on samples from your client’s booth, or the booths surrounding, but you need to make sure to eat real food and take a lunch break so you don’t crash and burn the last day of the show. Expo West is a marathon, not a sprint, so you need to fuel your body with the best to perform your best!
- Lastly, HAVE FUN! I know Expo West can be intimidating, but it’s so much fun! You get to meet new people and try new things, build deeper relationships with your clients and create a stronger bond with your internal team. Plus, it’s fun to walk around and see all the new innovations from your favorite brands, and even brands you’ve never heard of.
Hope to see everybody at Expo West in March!