I’m currently busy preparing for a trade fair, Midem in January. So like everyone else, I spend a lot of time mining the event database looking for potential partners. I’ve done this from different sides of the table for 15 years now (both copywriting and sales), and I still see the same mistakes coming back time and again.
What do you do when looking for potential partners?
I remember when it was held as a truth that the written word was dying and the world would communicate visually. Luckily for writers, the Cannes film festival is there to remind everyone that in the beginning was the word. And not only are words essential to get a story moving, they are also there at every step of the way when it is pitched to a producer, who then pitches to co-producers and financiers, before pitching it to distributors and later the press.
I’ve been working on a few projects recently that can best be described as “personal branding”, coaches or consultants that decide to build their business under their own name. But “personal branding” has a very selfish ring to it. At its worst, it’s an exercise in ego-stroking. But as the “brands” in question were perfectly aware, there’s more to personal branding than “me-me-me”.
In 7 years of creating the campaigns for Midem, we have seen the world of trade fairs transform at an unbelievable rate. It’s not unfair to say that many trade fairs until recently had been seen by their organisers pretty much a way of renting space to companies. Yet Midem, part of the Reed MIDEM group, has blazed a trail and is re-inventing the way trade fairs see themselves and engage with their audiences.
Spare a thought for the music biz: over the past seven years, overall sales of recorded music have been slashed by 50%. Whole parts of the business, such as CD plants and retail outlets, are disappearing. Even professional users, such as video games and TV stations, are putting pressure on the rates to be paid. In fact, the very notion of a “record” business is no longer really applicable. Midem, as the worldwide music community’s annual gathering, has obviously been affected by this. Despite what you might think, the trade fair has been growing over the past few years (with the obvious exception of last January when it fell right after the credit crunch). How? By staying one step ahead of the game.