Why taking ‘calculated risks’ helps brands stand out at trade shows

At this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) the brands that broke convention were the most successful and achieved most cut-through, according to Hotwire’s UK MD Matt Cross. With insights from Hotwire’s research around the event, Cross highlights what PRs might learn for future event-planning.

Mobile World Congress 2017

Traditionally the conversation at MWC has been dominated by brands such as LG and Samsung launching new products. This year, social media analysis by Hotwire’s Insights and Analytics team shows that the top three most talked about brands at MWC included Nokia, Intel and Huawei – untraditional candidates for leading the conversation at the event.

MWC 2017 received 196,684 mentions on Twitter overall. Nokia received 6,730 Tweets in relation to the event, Intel received 4,420 and Huawei received 3,831.

Cross said: “This year, the whole industry realised that MWC isn’t just about mobile anymore. No one is surprised by major mobile manufacturers’ presentation so the conversation took a different turn.

“Samsung decided not to launch its new phone during the conference, and that may have been a good decision as most of the attention wouldn’t have been on them as everyone was excited by key trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G.”

Successful brands incorporated lateral discussions

The top trending topics around the event didn’t include launches. In order, the top trending included IoT (16,927 Tweets), 5G (10,285 Tweets), Mobile (6,036 Tweets), Robotic cars (2,999 Tweets) and AI (2,337 Tweets).

“Leading the conversation around 5G worked well for Huawei and Intel. The technology has been on the agenda for a long time, but 2017 was the year 5G stepped out of just being something the industry talks about and both those brands were pioneering the conversation around how it will actually benefit us on a daily basis,” said Cross.

He added: “Both Intel and Huawei were aware that the conversation around 5G was developed enough for people to really understand its potential impact and launched products to show the technology in practice. The timing was perfect, reinforced by the fact the chancellor announced a 5G strategy in the Spring Budget this month, showing that when it comes to 5G everyone is putting their money where their mouth is.”

Nokia reigned supreme by tapping into human emotions

By far, the conversation was led across media and social by Nokia after it re-launched its retro product the 3310.

Cross said: “The key to success is to know who your audience is and what they are looking for. Nokia emerged as king as we were all reminded why we used to love it. The decision to launch the Nokia 3310 with a great sense of nostalgia, meant they were one of the biggest names from the conference this year, pushing the usual future-gazing gimmicks to the bottom of the pile.”

For future events, Cross advises: “It isn’t just about product announcements anymore, there will be opportunities for PRs to use the conference to lead industry conversations around related by new topics. Thinking about Nokia’s nostalgia strategy, it’s clear that in 2018 PRs should be looking to take calculated risks and tap into human emotions, needs and wants to ensure they don’t blend into the background.”

  • Matt Cross is Managing Director of Hotwire UK and is responsible for strategic leadership and client counsel it gives business-to-business and consumer clients.
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