When Dacor, a manufacturer of luxury kitchen appliances, requested some onsite help at KBIS, I was thrilled at the opportunity to go. As a PR practitioner I spend years – literally, YEARS – cultivating relationships through email, phone, and the occasional LinkedIn friend request (if, and only if, the editor requests me first). An industry event like a trade show gives us PR folks the opportunity to meet face to face, exchange a friendly handshake, talk shop, and hopefully make a lasting impression so the next time I send a pitch that editor is a little more inclined to open my email.
For those of you who don’t know, KBIS aka the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, is the premier event for those in the kitchen and bath industry; designers, manufacturers, architects, dealers – they’re all there. This year’s event took place April 26th – 28th in Las Vegas, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Everything is very high high-end and high quality. The best of the best go to KBIS, and I was proud to be there with Dacor.
For a PR person, the actual trade show only takes up a small portion of the work and effort we put in. We usually begin about 3 – 4 weeks ahead of time by hitting the phones to schedule booth appointments with editors. We then worry about the press releases and press kits. (Dacor’s press kits were 4gig USB drives made to look like miniature cooktops. Very cool.) From there, we finally get onsite at the actual event and our job is to make our client’s day go as smoothly as possible. As with most things, it’s much easier said than done. However, Dacor runs their marcomm efforts like a well-oiled machine and, along with the Marketing Manager and VP of Marketing, we successfully fielded over 25 media appointments, three video shoots, one radio broadcast, and countless other inquiries. Not too shabby.
While quite important, trade shows are not just about the media. Dacor had a steady stream of customers visiting their booth, and to give something back to those who stopped by, every visitor received a blue Dacor pin. If the visitor was seen on the show floor wearing the pin by Dacor’s mystery spotter they won a set of cookware. One of the winners even offered to have Dacor use his home as a case study! Sometimes a worthy case study can be hard to come by. It’s a great opportunity for Dacor to document a customer’s experience with their products – and it fell right in our lap.
Some companies elect to save their new product announcements for trade shows, others hold a press conference to release company news, while some have an event that’s more about fun with some company messaging weaved in. Dacor chose the latter, and it was an overwhelming success. They commissioned Jeff Lewis, reality TV star on Bravo’s “Flipping Out,” to come to the booth for a two hour meet and greet with show attendees and a customer cocktail event at the end of the day. Visitors were lined up around the booth the entire two hours waiting for their chance to chat with Jeff and snap a photo or two. The response was so positive that Jeff even stayed a bit longer and came to the afternoon event early so he could greet even more guests. The late afternoon cocktail event was also extremely well received, with over 100 guests who noshed, drank, and mingled until the very end.
Events like this are a ton of work but the results are well worth it. Dacor instantly saw a spike in media coverage on the days surrounding KBIS and they now have coverage lined up for the next couple of months. More than coverage and media hits, Dacor made an impact on customers and media, which created a lasting impression that will continue to serve and benefit the brand long after the trade show is over.