For three years local businessman Mike Firth staged the Yorkshire
Business Conference, however it came to an end after 1997’s event owing
to financial issues.
The Yorkshire Initiative Committee is a long-standing group of the
region’s most successful businesses, dedicated to promoting the region
and its economy. One of its aim was to resurrect the annual event.
The Yorkshire Initiative Business Convention comprised many members from
this group, as well as PR and events management company Sinclair
It became a limited company to organise the 1999 Yorkshire International
Convention at Harewood House, near Leeds.
To stage the best event of its kind, incorporating national and
international businesses and to succeed in attracting international as
well as local professionals.
A fundamental aim was to put Yorkshire on the business map and for
companies to use the convention as a networking opportunity. Sinclair
Mason aimed to attract influential speakers and to use the media to
promote the event, in order to sell all 1,600 tickets.
Strategy and Plan
To meet the challenge of reinventing the convention, Sinclair Mason and
the client began planning the campaign almost a year before the set date
of 11 June. National newspapers were informed and talks began with
possible international speakers.
Press releases were sent out regularly to confirm guest speakers, so the
coverage was staggered over eight months before the event. Updates in
the local press were regular, and Sinclair Mason formed an agreement
with the Yorkshire Post to let the newspaper have all information as
soon as it came in.
Interviews were arranged between guest speakers and the press. Model
Heather Mills (who lost a leg in a police motorbike accident) spoke to
lifestyle magazines about her story of triumph over adversity, while a
director of Microsoft UK gave a slant to business publications.
On the day of the convention, Sinclair Mason co-ordinated the media.
Print, broadcast and TV journalists attended and the team of eight PR
representatives juggled interviews with speakers to give maximum
Measurement and Evaluation
The convention received extensive positive media coverage in the months
leading up to 11 June and reports on the success of the day. Articles
appeared in all the national papers, including the Sunday Express, the
Guardian and the Sunday Times. At least three radio stations, including
BBC Radio 2 took up the story and Yorkshire Television made an hour-long
programme chronicling the day.
The media coverage of the number and quality of speakers helped ensure
that all 1,600 tickets were sold. Surveys indicated that 70 per cent of
those who attended were regional business people, with 20 per cent
nationally based and 10 per cent from abroad, compared with the 1997
convention when all ticket holders were from the local area.
Feedback from questionnaires was very positive and 1,000 tickets have
already been sold for next year’s event.
Richard Gregory, managing director of Yorkshire Television and chairman
of the Yorkshire Business Convention said: ’Sinclair Mason has not only
managed an enormous, complex and unique event, it has also established
brand awareness for the Yorkshire International Business Convention in
our region and across the UK.’
Client: Yorkshire Initiative Business Convention
PR team: Sinclair Mason/in-house team
Campaign: To generate interest in Yorkshire International Business
Convention 1999 and to co-ordinate media coverage on the day.
Timescale: June 1998 - June 1999
Budget: pounds 18,000