It’s that time again when industry professionals near and far transform Fira Gran Via in Barcelona into the world’s largest mobile tech show, to showcase this year’s must-have mobile devices and demonstrate futuristic innovations.
To mark the start of some of the busiest weeks in mobile-land, MWWPR hosted a Mobile World Congress breakfast briefing with guest speakers Gemma Cook, Head of PR at HMD Global (Nokia Mobile), Alan Burkitt-Gray, Executive Editor of Capacity and Global Telecoms Business and Paddy Herridge, UK Managing Director at MWWPR.
With the panel’s previous experience in mind, they set the scene of what to expect at this year’s show and how best to maximise PR in and around it:
The art of landing messaging at the right time
The importance of pre-briefing journalists was explained by Gemma as she talked about the weeks leading up to MWC and how they become a testing bed for messaging. She explained that creating interest beforehand, alongside teasers for what will be revealed at the event, provides the opportunity to generate interest and evaluate what sticks with journalists.
Alan noted that it will always be a challenge for smaller brands to make an impact at the show from a media perspective and holding meetings ahead of MWC helps them to cut through the noise. He also alluded to the fact that it is often nonsensical to meet a UK-based company in Barcelona if it’s easy to meet in London, especially as there are less distractions meeting during other times of the year.
The logistical nightmare
With MWC spanning the size of 40 football stadiums, navigating the show can be a challenge in itself, as Alan explained.
Bad planning by brands can make it difficult for journalists to attend briefings and events. Alan said that the tendency to hold meetings on the peripheries of the city, as opposed to having them on-site meant he wouldn’t be able to make the most of the main event as time would be needed to leave the Fira. In these instances, pre-briefings are particularly important in case journalists don’t want to meet far off course.
Panellists noted early in the briefing the lack of diversity we see at MWC. Whilst this year’s MWC will include a ‘Women4Tech’ keynote, Alan stated that it’s appearance on the last day, when roughly only 30% of the audience will still be present, diminishes the importance of the speakership.
For brands, diversity continues to be a challenge as they continue to improve representation across the board.
Optimising results via digital
Alan explained how there is often no time during the MWC to spend time writing up interviews or events, however a post on social media, such as a tweet, is immediate. Both brands and consumers will be scanning social media, which is why Gemma noted brands should be focusing on how to utilise this tool to make their impact. She commented on the fact that MWC is not a large focus in the consumer press. As such, there needs to be emphasis placed on how to achieve a consumer cut through. Panellists provided examples such as seeding snackable teasers and hosting competitions to provide incentives and drive engagement online.
The panel discussed that key themes this year will be 5G and IoT (Internet of Things) with brands tapping into these buzz words, and announcing new technologies. Alongside this, the excitement around artificial intelligence is growing – despite no one quite knowing which direction this trend will go in yet. In terms of MWC, Gemma highlighted the need to look at these trends from a smartphone perspective. She focused on the importance of considering how various software and operating systems can be used in conjunction with AI technology for the better.
The Future of MWC
Towards the end of the briefing, questions were posed as to the future of MWC and if it will continue to be a point of focus in the industry. Previously, companies such as Samsung have opted out of MWC, deciding to host their own launch events. Gemma noted that there might be a time when more brands choose to do this and not participate in MWC as there will always be competition for share of voice.
In addition, it must be considered how international relations may change post-Brexit, which cannot yet be forecasted. However, due to the success and scale of the event thus far, it appears evident that MWC plays a significant role in the global industry.
Many thanks to our panellists and all those who attended.