National Meetings Week wins consumer pick-up

Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine launched National Meetings Week in 2001 and wanted to raise its profile this year. It hired specialist business tourism agency Davies Tanner in July to widen the appeal of the week and underline the benefits of well-organised meetings.

Campaign National Meetings Week 2005
Client Meetings & Incentive Travel 
PR team Davies Tanner
Timescale July-October 2005 
Budget Under £30,000

To boost awareness of National Meetings Week and the value of meetings in the workplace. To secure high-profile supporters and gain coverage in non-business media.

Strategy and Plan
Previous campaigns around National Meetings Week had successfully raised awareness of how much the 'meetings industry' contributes to the UK economy, but had struggled to secure coverage of meetings in general.

Davies Tanner created a human-interest angle to accompany this business story by commissioning a MORI poll. The survey asked people how often they had meetings at home, and found that one third of families never 'meet'. The agency used this as the
basis of a release.

Davies Tanner put forward a spokesperson each from Child Alert and National Meetings Week to discuss the potentially damaging effects of this trend. Both were media trained. The challenge was to steer the debate so it related the importance of meetings in family life to their similarly pivotal role in business.

The PR team then issued a second, work-focused press release. Its purpose was to demonstrate that UK business meetings were not being used as effectively as they could be. Based on a survey carried out by National Meetings Week organisers, it revealed the common excuses people give for not attending meetings, and the subjects thought about during boring meetings. The agency created a bingo card with buzzwords, downloadable from the National Meetings Week website. 'Players' could score out the words as they were said in meetings.

Business organisations and individuals were then approached to pledge their support by endorsing National Meetings Week on their websites. The campaign launched at Chelsea FC's Stamford Bridge on 3 October, where BBC reporter Ragi Omar talked about the benefits of face-to-face meetings.

Measurement and Evaluation
The campaign achieved around 150 items of coverage, spanning national, regional, business and consumer outlets, both print and broadcast.

Highlights included The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Evening Standard, BBC Radio London and The Sun.

Numerous organisations such as VisitLondon and the Institute of Directors endorsed National Meetings Week for the first time, while 77 MPs also pledged their support.

Eighty-four per cent of coverage mentioned the 'Let's Meet At Home' campaign, and there was widespread consumer pick-up, such as a Capital Radio phone-in.

The Guardian northern editor Martin Wainwright, who received the second press release and the bingo card, says: 'We've all had to endure boring meetings and this story appealed to me because of the notion that our misery during droning lectures can be put to such imaginative use. Like a lot of these light pieces, the story also had a bit of serious reasoning.'

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