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Emirates - Germany Business Summit

The Challenge

With a total amount of exports more than doubled since 2005 and constantly intensifying bilateral business relations, the UAE are accordingly considered one of the main economic partners of Germany in the Arab World. Sectors such as tourism, healthcare, media, real estate, construction, finance and logistics are only the prime focuses of such an important economic partnership.

Therefore, consistent with the reciprocal interest in the respective other market, the ministerial bodies and chambers of commerce of the two countries decided to set an event such as the Emirates-Germany Business Summit, regularly held every year from 2004 to 2007. Created with the aim of deepening economic relations and informing about investment opportunities, this three-day event involved not only seminars, workshops and panel discussions on the sectors mentioned above, but it also provided exhibitors with the opportunity of promoting their activities amongst German and Emirates partners.

bridge:media's main challenge stood in capturing media and visitors' attention in the extremely competitive German conference and exhibition market where most of the largest European and international exhibitions are held every year. At the same time, achieving a relevant coverage on major German press and specialised magazines represented another demanding task, given the restricted scope and dimension of the event itself.

bridge:media's approach

From 2004 to 2007, bridge:media was in charge of consulting and organizing the communication plan for the Emirates-Germany Business Summit. Over the years the campaign contributed to the continuous growth of the event, as became obvious from the positive media response and visitors' participation. In particular, the strategy adopted for the 2007 event in Frankfurt developed over a long-term basis and included simultaneous efforts aimed at maximising both media coverage and the number of visitors to the exhibition.

Firstly, the conceptualisation of a special media approach was made necessary by the restricted and high-cost advertising conditions of the European press. In order to secure a better outreach to major general news, as well as to special interest magazines, an innovative approach was adopted in the wake of these challenges.

For example, bridge:media managed to work in partnership with major German dailies such as Frankfurter Allgemeine and Financial Times Deutschland. Their names and logos were included among the other sponsors of the event and they were granted the opportunity to participate in the exhibition. This, in turn, granted the exposure of the Business Summit in such high-level media.

In line with this strategic approach, other public events such as the ITB Berlin, the World's Leading Travel Trade Show, represented a good occasion to announce the forthcoming Emirates-Germany Business Summit at the presence of the media. In addition, different press releases structured for targeting the most important sectors touched by the Summit were also disseminated to selected press.

Secondly, attracting a crowd of visitors which would include potential investors and partnering German companies was another important objective of the campaign. The advertising campaign for this target audience employed radio announcements, extensive telephone marketing and direct e-mails to potential interested participants in the country. Social business platforms such as XING were also used to reach an even larger number of business and professional contacts across Germany.

Finally, the contributions of important dignitaries was another key-element for successfully capturing the attention of media and visitors around the Business Summit. During all four Summits, U.A.E. Federal Minister H.E. Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qassimi participated as a main guest of the event. On this occasion, bridge:media was in charge of coordinating the relations with the journalists interested in meeting and interviewing her. Speech-writing was also part of the tasks carried out by bridge:media on the occasion of the Minister and other eminent guests' appearances at the presence of media.

Outcome

bridge:media's long-term communication strategy successfully achieved the two objectives planned for the Emirates-Germany Business Summit 2007. These comprised the promotion of the event amongst German media and visitors.

Firstly, employing other important public events and exhibitions for promoting the Summit in front of the media contributed to expand the outreach of an event with relatively limited proportions compared the vast international exhibitions panorama of Germany. Secondly, the special partnership created with major German dailies on the occasion of the exhibition turned highly effective for obtaining extensive exposure of the event on leading German media.

Radio announcements and publications targeting specialized as well as general press have been traditional yet very useful tools employed to attract visitors. On the other hand, using a social network platform like XING and intensive telephone marketing in the weeks preceding the event resulted in a high number of expressions of interest and confirmed participations from the companies and business professionals contacted.

Finally, the participation and contribution of top-level dignitaries from the institutional and business environments remarkably increased the resonance and the visibility of the event. A political exponent of the level of H.E. Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qassimi proved to be a particularly appealing subject for the targeted German media, which broadly reported on her visit and interviews. Her participation to the Emirates-Germany Business Summit was also broadcast by German national TV channels.