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May 31, 2006

Road works

You need to get a crucial message across to your key market quickly and effectively. If your audience is external, then, traditionally, you would probably be thinking of using a series of advertisements across the press, radio and TV, maybe even a specialist business title. For an internal audience, you’d probably gather your staff together for a conference.

But media advertising lacks immediacy and is becoming increasingly ineffective, while conferences can lack the personal touch – particularly in large organisations – which is vital for the accurate delivering and take up of key corporate messages. Waking up to these limitations, a growing number of companies are turning to the roadshow as an alternative. Here’s how and why three major companies took their shows on the road…

Banking on staff
Barclays wanted to create an inspirational brand experience emphasising the importance of the Bank’s Premiership sponsorship and its involvement with Spaces for Sport – an initiative creating better sports facilities for children – to its employees. It commissioned Events Marketing Solutions (EMS) to provide a mobile roadshow, which took the experiential campaign directly to Barclay’s staff in their own workplace.

A branded, knowledge-building journey, using touch-screen quizzes themed around the two sponsorships, that could take up to 50 people at a time was created within one of EMS’s vehicles. These interactive exhibits were complimented by fun activities, ranging from a Batak Challenge ‘speed of reactions’ game to a Barclays video diary box.

More than 5,178 people visited the Barclays roadshow over a total of 77 event hours. Throughout the tour, one visitor was exposed to a face-to-face brand experience each and every minute.

Green machine
Sometimes delivering a message face to face is the only way to really make sure it’s being understood. To overcome some of the public misunderstanding about renewable energy, the Scottish Executive wanted a field marketing solution that engaged directly with citizens. To achieve this effectively they took the message on the road in the form of an eco-friendly, educational trip, using plasma screen exhibits, wall-to-wall displays and the latest in interactive technology. Even the roadshow vehicle itself was customised with renewable features, such as wind turbines and a solar powered roof.

According to research carried out throughout the duration of the tour, over 75% of visitors increased their knowledge of renewable energy and 90% intended to reduce their energy consumption.

Comet sense
Electrical retailer Comet used a roadshow to encourage employees at logistics and distribution company Wincanton – which has 360 sites across the UK – to buy its products through the Government’s Home Computer Initiative. Comet wanted a face-to-face environment in which to showcase its hardware products to this audience at their place of work, and encourage sign-ups. It also required a portable branch facility where it could reproduce a retail store atmosphere to act as a selling platform, which was also suitable for Wincanton staff to sample products and view demonstrations.

EMS set up one of its vehicles to do just that, and during a 30-day tour of the UK, 605 Wincanton employees were signed up. Over the 132 event hours, one sign-up occurred every 12 minutes.
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