Industry expo: Stephanie France looks at the seminars and new products on offer at PR Showcase

The organisers of PR Showcase expect between 2,500 and 3,000 visitors to converge on London’s Royal Horticultural Halls and Conference Centre for the three days of the event. The show, which takes place from 5-7 July, will offer a programme of 60 seminars delivered by industry speakers, each lasting for approximately 90 minutes.

The organisers of PR Showcase expect between 2,500 and 3,000

visitors to converge on London’s Royal Horticultural Halls and

Conference Centre for the three days of the event. The show, which takes

place from 5-7 July, will offer a programme of 60 seminars delivered by

industry speakers, each lasting for approximately 90 minutes.

There will also be around 70 exhibitors at the show. Exhibitors include

suppliers such as media directory producer Mediadisk, broadcast

consultant Radio Lynx, press clipping bureau Romeike and Curtice and

media training and video production consultancy Hillside Studios.

In addition, there is a three-day calendar of social events, covering

everything from a ’get to know you’ singles party to a Scalectrix toy

motor racing championship, plus an internet cafe and a business bookshop

on site (see panel, p18).

Richard John, managing director of event organiser RJA Events, says that

the last time the industry assembled for an event of this nature was for

PR Index in 1985.

’The industry desperately needs an event like PR Showcase,’ he says.

’The PR industry is no good at promoting itself. It’s a case of the

cobbler’s wife is always the one without shoes.’

John believes that PR Showcase will attract a broad church of PR


The event, he says, is aimed at both agency and in-house practitioners

at every level, from account executives to account directors.

’PR Showcase is aimed at everyone. It can even be used as a top-up

training session, the emphasis being on short, sharp bursts of

training,’ says John.

He is also keen to point out that PR Showcase gives as much weight to

the suppliers as it does to the speakers. John explains that the ’pick

and mix’-style seminar programme will give visitors the flexibility to

make the most of the event’s other attractions. Because visitors pay

only for the seminars they want to attend, they should not feel

compelled to remain in the auditorium for the whole day.

The event is being officially sponsored by Hollis Directories, supported

by the Guardian, AdCity, Mediadisk and Showcase Communications, and is

being endorsed by PR associations including the PRCA, ICO, IPRA, The

Public Relations Standards Council and the IPR.

The seminar programme includes a session from Chris Genasi, the head of

corporate division at Shandwick Welbeck. He will be discussing the power

of corporate citizenship, investigating PR disasters of the 1990s, and

underlining the importance of creating and managing a strong corporate

reputation. Genasi will also talk about how to implement an effective PR

strategy to protect the reputation and competitive edge of an

organisation or client.

Brendan Barns, managing director of Speakers For Business, will be

running a seminar entitled: ’How to book a speaker and why’. Public

speakers, including UK entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe and management guru

Professor Richard Scase, will provide a step-by-step guide on how to get

the most out of using business or motivational speakers. Other seminars

include a session by Claudia Downes, director of Radio Lynx, entitled

’Radio 2000’, which covers ’Everything you wanted to know about radio

(but were too afraid to ask)’, and a workshop by The Michael Bland

Communication Consultancy on preparing a workable strategy for handling

a crisis.

The role that PR can play in the branding process will be covered by

Simon Quarendon, chief executive of The Words Group. The seminar is

aimed in-house PR staff and marketing managers.

Communicating corporate ethics and values will be covered in ’It’s good

for business’, led by a team from Fishburn Hedges.

Graham Lancaster, chairman of Biss Lancaster, will be running a session

entitled: ’Half the PR budget is wasted (especially on international

PR). Find out which half.’ He will look at ways of focusing the budget

for maximum effect, and will address the importance of measuring PR


Lancaster, a writer of spy thrillers and management books, will be among

other industry authors available for book signings.

Technology and the new millennium is a theme for many speakers at the

event. Anthony Hayward, group chief executive of Bulletin International

will deliver a seminar entitled ’Trimediality: PR in the year 2000’.

It will investigate why the communications revolution in cable,

satellite, digital, the internet and the merging of television with

computer technology is creating a new PR environment and how it will

change the way business is conducted.

Graham Jones, director of Aspect, will use his session to argue: ’Don’t

use the internet - exploit it’. He will look at how the World Wide Web

can be used as more than a place to publish press releases. Meanwhile,

Alison Radovanovic of Media Information and Milverton Wallace of City

University will host a seminar entitled ’The new media: findings from

Net Media ’99’. The pair will discuss research carried out by Mori and

City University into the current use of new media by journalists for

research, information gathering and publishing purposes.

Ruth Wicks, head of marketing at the New Millennium Experience Company

will talk about the PR opportunities connected with the Millennium Dome

at Greenwich in London. Her session is entitled ’Preparing for the time

of our lives - the new millennium’.

Stuart Maister, senior vice-president of Medialink International, is

both an exhibitor and a guest speaker. His session will be on ’Building

a broadcast strategy in the digital age’. Maister says his talk will

address the media’s ’massive hunger for content’ and describe how

organisations such as Medialink International can help deliver content

to digital TV and radio platforms.

Medialink will also be taking the opportunity to show its latest

product, TeleTrax, at the event. Maister claims the system is the first

to electronically ’watermark’ video and track its usage by broadcasters

throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America. ’It introduces digital video

monitoring and real-time broadcast tracking to the international public

relations, broadcasting, program syndication and advertising

industries,’ he says. The system invisibly stamps video with a unique

identifying code when it is produced, transmitted, duplicated or

broadcast. Receivers tuned to various broadcast signals detect the code,

thereby proving usage.

Medialink will also use the show to announce the development of - a comprehensive, one-stop internet portal for the

delivery of corporate, business and consumer news to on-line news sites

around the globe.

Due to launch across the US and UK this autumn, the portal will

distribute press releases, live webcasts, digital photographs, corporate

graphics, financial information and other content required by on-line

news sites.

Among the other exhibitors is PR Newswire. The company was formerly

known as Two-Ten Communications, part of the Press Association, until it

was bought at the end of June by United News and Media.

Amanda Alexander, UK sales and marketing director, says she is keen to

use PR Showcase to raise the profile of the company’s new name as well

as to preview forthcoming products.

’It is very important for us to get our new name out into the industry

and to reassure people we are still providing the same services,’ she


’We also want to showcase new products, including a multifunctional,

flexible contact management tool called MediaManager. It will be

launched in September and will replace our existing electronic media

management system, Targeter Gold.’

Alexander says MediaManager will offer clients more sophisticated search

options, a wider range of reporting functions, and a more user-friendly

front-end. Key features include simple mail merge, forward features

tracking, and electronic distribution operations.

The system will also incorporate extra functions developed specifically

for the European market, such as the facility to list contact data by

town or region and to seamlessly import customers’ own contact


Press cuttings agency Durrants will also have a stand at PR Showcase, at

which it plans to announce details of a new service to clients.

Managing director Tony Law says: ’We’ve been offering a press cuttings

service since 1880 and, by popular request, we are now branching out

into broadcast media.’

Law says Durrants will be offering existing clients an automatically

faxed alert service which will relate to items in their briefs covered

in the national broadcast media. ’Clients can then fax back their

request and receive a tape or transcript on the same working day at half

the price commonly charged in the industry,’ says Law.

The service will initially cover London, and will roll out to regional

stations by the end of the year.

Also exhibiting is Mantra. Brian Moore, sales and marketing partner,

says PR Showcase will provide the opportunity for his company to

announce new features in its Mantra Quick media evaluation software.

Launched two years ago, the system is used by in-house and agency

clients, including Freud Communications. Moore says: ’The new features

include increased efficiency and message tracking in press and

broadcast, increased output, and the ability to measure coverage in up

to four different search fields, by source, author, subject or


Mantra partner Michael Fermand will also be speaking at the event on the

benefits of media evaluation for clients.

PR Showcase has already been confirmed for the same venue in 2000, and

RJA Events’ John plans to make the event ’at least’ an annual


’We’ve even had interest from overseas organisations about holding

similar events abroad,’ he says.

- Entry to the exhibition is free on completion of a registration


Seminars cost around #15 each.


Media Training Masterclass is offering a complimentary taster as part of

the event’s programme of side-shows and social events. Insider tips and

advice on how to brush up your performance will be given on the


Warwick Partington, course director of Media Training Masterclass, has

taken a stage to the Royal Horticultural Halls and Conference Centre for

the three-day event. It has been equipped with TV cameras, lights and

experienced trainers.

’Visitors will be given a quick debrief to find out which hot topic they

would like covered,’ he says. Following a mock TV interview, visitors

will be sent to the debriefing room where their performance will be


Here they will be given advice on improving delivery, dealing with stage

fright, handling aggressive journalists and avoiding difficult


’The most common pitfall is not getting the right message across,’ says

Partington. ’We also look at voice patterns as a tool, plus non-verbal

communication - your mouth, body and hand movements should reinforce the


Partington, whose clients include BMW Rover Group, BT, Cadbury and BUPA,

hopes the experience may lead some to take a full course in TV and radio

skills. Areas include broadcast news interviews, corporate TV and crisis

media management.

Visitors will be given a video recording of their performance.

The company is based at the BBC Training and Development Centre, in Wood

Norton, Worcestershire.


A three-day calendar of social events is set to brighten up the show,

organised by Showcase Communications, the firm managing the event’s


The programme kicks off on 5 July when Absolutely Fabulous lookalikes

Edina and Patsy will officially open proceedings at 6pm. On the evening

of 7 July, the event’s main party will be held at the Soundshaft in

London’s Charing Cross.

Organised by partnership agency TS2K in support of Breakthrough Breast

Cancer, invitations are limited to some 300 guests.

Another party has been been arranged for 6 July. Pitched as a singles

night it is dubbed ’an evening of romance’, is being aimed at

professionals who work such long hours they find it difficult to make

the time to meet a partner.

A number of side-shows have been organised, including a Scalextric toy

motor racing championship. Hobbs is also planning to stage an event in

which a leading PR professional will be pitted against a high-profile


An internet cafe will help PR people investigate new media opportunities

and there will be a bookshop on site.

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