Why PR reps are never off duty

They say policemen and women never truly clock off. Even when they’re off duty, they always have one eye out for trouble, ready to step into action. Well, it strikes me that PR people aren’t so different. When I’m not at work it’s amazing how often friends and family expect me to go into ‘PR mode’ to sort things out. To smooth things over.  To fix things.

If I’m out with friends in a restaurant and someone grumbles that the food’s not up to scratch, what invariably comes next is: ‘Ask Maya to have a word with the manager, she’s good at this sort of stuff.’

Or if I’m in a store and there’s some haggling to be done over the price of an item, guess who’s pushed forward.

Even when it comes to something as simple as asking directions, the responsibility typically comes my way.

Does always being the ‘go-to’ person get on my nerves? Not really. I see it as a backhanded compliment. What people are effectively saying is: “Whatever the problem, whatever the situation, we trust you to handle it.”

In essence, being known for your positive, can-do mindset is what being a good PR rep is all about. It’s about being a safe pair of hands that clients can always rely on. And to be a safe pair of hands, you have to be a good all-rounder.

First of all, it goes without saying that we have to be resilient (Press Officer always features highly in those most-stressful-job lists - see the latest article on the largest Belgian job site Vacature).

Then, of course, we have to be able to communicate with people from all backgrounds – from the big-wigs in the senior management team, to the tech guys beavering away in R&D, to the workers plugging away on the shop floor.  

And let’s not forget all the events like product launches, press conferences and trade shows. They demand all your organising and management skills, and involve some serious multi-tasking.

And when the chips are down, when a client is having a mini or full-scale crisis, we’re the ones they often turn to for counsel and to help steady the ship.

So given the amount of general ‘sorting out’ we do, it’s perhaps no wonder our PR skills are called upon so readily outside the workplace. At the end of the day, we’re often the ones people trust to get things done. Just ask our friends and family. 

Maya Staels



8 tips for hiring a PR agency

In the New Year many companies ponder how they can drive the business forward in the next 12 months. And sooner or later, many of them consider hiring a PR agency (or switching to a new one).

Make no mistake, a decent PR agency can have a big impact on a company’s visibility and bottom line. But this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work from the agency and client.

So before you draw-up your agency hit list, consider these tips – they could save you a tonne of money and time in the long run.

1. Know your goals

What do you want your PR programme to achieve –specifically? Not knowing the answer to this question is a common mistake (particularly among PR first-timers).

When a company is unsure of its objectives, the standard answer is usually ‘more media coverage’ or ‘more sales’.

But this is a very vague response. If you want great visibility, what media are you targeting? Is there a particular publication, editor or journalist that you want to build a closer relationship with?

And what about metrics – will you be measuring web traffic? Sales conversions? Whitepaper downloads?

If you’re unsure, a good agency will certainly help you agree on realistic goals.

2. Trust your instinct

PR is all about fostering strong relationships – and that begins with your agency relationship.

When an agency team pitches to you, what’s your gut feel about them? Are they the sort of people you could go for a meal with? If not, there could be trouble ahead. If they’re not ‘your sort of people’ in the pitch, they probably won’t be further down the line.

3. Have sufficient resource

Hiring an agency is just the beginning – you’re going to need resource to manage the relationship.

Normally this is the Marketing Director’s / Manager’s role. They’ll work closely with the agency on devising and rolling out a PR programme. They’ll evaluate it regularly, and will sharing ideas on how the programme can be improved.

Without an in-house marketing or PR specialist, managing the agency relationship ends up being a bolt-on responsibility – and typically the results suffer.

4. Think dialogue, not monologue

Today, communication is all about engaging with people, either by starting or joining conversations. It’s about talking with people, not at them.

And it doesn’t matter if your stakeholders disagree with what you’re saying. This is how some of the best conversations start. This is proper engagement. Someone might have a different view to you, but they’ll still respect your opinion if it’s well considered and diplomatically presented (and this is where a good PR agency earns their corn).

5. Prioritise quality, not quantity

Any agency can bag you some quick wins on the coverage front – for example, mentions (or even whole swathes of press releases) in titles that are less choosy about what they publish.

The hard part is getting you in things like feature articles in key publications, the kind your customers and prospects read. Here it’s all about positioning you as an industry expert – someone journalists can turn to for unique insight. But remember, getting to this stage takes time (see ‘Be patient’ below).

6. Be realistic

A common misconception about PR is that it can turn water into wine. It can’t. If you have a cruddy product, PR won’t make it a good product.

If your product has some flaws in it, iron them out first. Ask any salesman what makes a product easy to sell and they’ll reply one they really believe in. So get your product in tip-top working order first, then let PR do its thing.

7. Be patient

Most companies struggle with this (and if you’ve never hired an agency before, you probably will too). We often hear things like ‘Competitor ABC is in Publication XYZ all the time – we must be too!’ Chances are, Competitor ABC is already deep into a long-term PR programme.

Things don’t happen overnight. Results take time. If your agency has a good track record, they’ll very likely get results for you too. Be patient – it will happen!

8. Respect your agency

Well, we would say that! But seriously, the most successful client-agency relationships are those that start on an equal footing – a partnership, essentially.

Remember, your agency will have an excellent understanding of your industry. So seek their counsel – that’s why you hired them. And if you treat them like equals they’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with you, through good times and bad.



If content is King, then interaction is Queen

Today, we’re almost spoilt for choice when it comes to communication platforms. From print to face-to-face presentations and conferences, to website blogs and social media channels, there’s never been so many ways to engage with stakeholders. But to be effective, all these platforms rely on one thing – great content.

Without engaging content at the core, people won’t buy a magazine, listen intently to a presentation, subscribe to blogs or follow social media channels.

It’s a point that was underlined at some workshops we ran recently: one on presentation and interview techniques, in co-operation with the BPRCA (check the #pit12 hashtag on Twitter); the other on how B2B companies can exploit social media channels, in conjunction with De Visu (check the #duovisu hashtag on Twitter). 

Obviously, what we covered in each workshop varied greatly. But when you strip everything back, the essence of both sessions was really about delivering great content – be it in front of a room full of people, in a one-to-one interview, or online in the social media world.

The other interesting thing highlighted at the workshops was that content may well be King, but it can’t rule on its own. Content needs a Queen – and that’s where interaction comes in.

Great content sparks conversations. And once people get talking and start interacting, they’re more engaged and take the conversation forward. Sometimes in a direction you may not have expected. But that’s OK, because you can respond with more content, fuelling more interaction.

Suppose you’ve just given a presentation on a hot topic. A good marker of whether you’ve delivered great content is how much the delegates interact with you afterwards (here is where the Twitter hashtags also come in handy!). If at the end of the presentation you ask people for their questions but you’re met with an uncomfortable silence, chances are the content missed the mark. Essentially, it didn’t resonate or inspire people enough to interact with you. (Either that or you hit them with something so profound they’re lost for words. Though this is unlikely.)

So the next time you produce what you think is some top-notch content, take a step back and ask yourself honestly if it has the potential to spur a conversation. Could it fire people’s imagination? Could it set tongues wagging? If the answer is yes, then you’ve some cracking content on your hands to get the interaction and engagement going.  

Maya Staels




Emballage 2012 - 40th International Exhibition of Packaging has closed its doors

We’ve just returned from the 40th edition of the International Packaging Exhibition (Emballage) in Paris and it proved to be quite a show.

The event attracts all the major players operating in the packaging industry. There was no shortage of innovative solutions on show, addressing the needs of all areas of the packaging chain – from raw materials to finished products, as well as related machinery and services, such as marking-coding, labels and printing systems.

Around 1,500 exhibitors took part in the show, which ran from 19 to 22 November. As always, it proved the ideal backdrop to deliver presentations, participate in forums, buy equipment and sign strategic partnership deals.

When it comes to the main trends shaping the packaging industry, many exhibitors identified a definite increase in shorter print runs and turnaround times. They also reported greater demand for personalization, an increasing need for finishing solutions to stand out from the crowd, and a growing requirement for eco-friendly packaging solutions.

Among the communication innovations of the 2012 edition,  we applaud the live TV studio organized by GM Consulting and the live web TV organised of French online publication Graphiline, but also many conferences dedicated to the future of packaging highlighting this year’s themes on safety, functionality, packaging, ergonomics and cost control.

No less than five duomedia customers presented their latest innovations at the show and we were there to set up stand interviews between the press and the company representatives. Four duomedia ladies attended the show to make sure every ran smoothly for the customers. Luckily we also had some time for pictures and checking out what the customers were bringing to the show.

Atlantic Zeiser presented its latest solutions on product tracing, combating counterfeiting and grey market protection. A panel of experts from Esko and Kodak discussed the theme « Packaging printing : new technologies for integrated workflow and improved quality » on the Emballage Web TV channel. (you can click here and see the whole debate). Videojet previewed two CIJ printers and focused on the availability of machines allowing manufacturers to produce uninterruptedly while ensuring the integrity of coding. Finally, X-Rite displayed its spectrophotometer range including the new eXact, an instrument for measuring rapidly color accurately.

All in all another Emballage success story! See you in 2014 in Paris!


Annie Garçon

 



A Graph Expo impression

Graph Expo 2012 opened on Sunday, October 7th, at McCormick Place under sunny Chicago skies. The Chicago Marathon was run that morning and more than 45,000 runners participated. With the graphics industry making its own strides to come back from the economic downturn, the next four days were a marathon of sorts for 25,000 exhibitors, attendees, and journalists who came to see the latest solutions on display at North America’s premier printing event.

Graph Expo has evolved in rather dramatic fashion, signaling a clear and irreversible shift to digital technologies. This year’s theme was “Print Integrated,” with exhibitors showcasing solutions across the print, online and mobile spectrum. It was a challenge to find any conventional offset presses on the floor, with the traditional equipment manufacturers opting instead to display their hybrid and digital offerings. Despite this absence (and the relative quiet it produced!), there was considerable activity with attendees making business deals, witnessing demonstrations, and engaging in animated conversations.

On Monday October 8th, duomedia clients CHILI Publish and Esko co-hosted a media reception on the CHILI booth to highlight their recently announced partnership. CHILI Publisher, the “hottest online document editor,” has been integrated with Esko’s popular WebCenter platform. More than a dozen editors and journalists were in attendance, along with many other onlookers crowding the aisles. CHILI’s co-founder and CFO Kevin Goeminne and Esko Product Manager Bjorn Willems gave presentations on the new product and answered questions. The Graph Expo Show Daily, which is delivered each morning to every show attendee’s hotel room, ran a story about the two companies’ partnership – nice recognition for the event. Further publicity in various industry publications is due to follow.

by Gene Hunt



Why it pays to have a PR rep in your corner at trade shows

Trade show and event support is a staple service for PR companies. As a pan-European and worldwide agency, we’ve certainly been racking up the Air Miles. In the last months we’ve been to Photokina (Germany), Viscom (both the Paris and Italy shows) Packaging Innovations (UK), Print Efficiently (UK), Graph Expo (US) and Print 2012 (Belgium).

In the run-up to these events we burn plenty of midnight oil making sure everything runs smoothly, and squeezing every last drop of value from clients’ exhibition budgets.

After a show it’s always rewarding to hear clients’ comments on how PR support really contributes to a successful event. Based on their feedback, we’ve summed up just some of the ways PR people ensure clients enjoy a positive return on their trade show investment.

Arranging media interviews and press conferences

This is what PR companies do best – be the go-between between clients and journalists and editors. Your PR partner will pull out all the stops to make sure all the people that matter attend your press conference, and your senior staff are interviewed.

They’ll be on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly on the day, and they’ll do the important follow-up work to make sure journos have everything they need.

Updating social media channels

The key to a successful show is creating a buzz around your stand. And one of the best ways to do this is by tweeting updates on what’s going on at your booth to drum up interest. For example, if you’re planning to run a demo of some new kit, it pays to remind people when it’s about to start and what they can expect to see.

Blogs are also an excellent way to give people an overview of the day’s events – not just on what you’ve been up to, but also your unique take on the show, your personal highlights, etc.

Obviously all this takes time – something you’ll have little of in between catching up with customers and winning over prospects. So let your PR (wo)man take the strain. They know social media inside out – they can take this burden off you and help whip up excitement about your activities.

Organising case studies

Underestimate the value of a case study at your peril: customer success stories help convince prospects to buy your product over someone else’s. The reason you haven’t got round to them yet is probably because your client is very busy and hard to pin down for an interview.

Well the good news is, if you’re exhibiting at a must-attend event, chances are your clients will be there too. Which means your PR rep can collar them and nail that all-important interview. And with their feedback in the bag, you can finally get that case study written up and in the hands of your grateful sales team.

Offering an extra pair of hands

At any trade show there are times when you’re run off your feet and just don’t have the bodies to speak with all the delegates milling around your stand. This is a big opportunity wasted – you don’t want customers to go away feeling unloved, and you don’t want to miss the chance to talk with prospects.

Having a PR exec around at times like these is really valuable – they can talk to delegates and reassure them that someone will be with them soon.

There’s still nearly three months of 2012 to go, so we won’t be putting away our passports just yet. Keep an eye out for us at Viscom Madrid, Viscom Frankfurt, Ifra, etc.



Getting back to our roots

Summer’s over - yes, bohoo, we know - time to get back in gear. We hope you’ve had a good summer, we for sure kept ourselves busy in a reputedly calm period.

The duomedia team did some soul searching. Oh yes, time for us to challenge our way of communicating to the press. At drupa we had some successes and some actions were not so successful (we hate the word failure - always a lesson to be learned!). Time to evaluate in depth and assess what we’ve been doing and how we could do it better/more/often/less - you get the picture.

And the drowsy Belgian summer in July-August proved to be the perfect timing for some research: a short survey in Surveymonkey taking 10 minutes of the press’ time tops. No big announcement, just a short inclusion in our media newsletter and a limited mailer, since we also hate those separate mails: “please fill in our survey and win a free iPad.” We don’t have an iPad to give away, anyway. But boy what a surprise, we had about over 60 respondents worldwide filling in the survey. For such a small campaign, we’re happy with the ROI!

And what does the press want? Here are some short pointers (we can’t reveal all, obviously):

  • E-mail above all - time is precious, e-mail allows for pre-assessment. If we’re interested, our people will call your people. No cold calls, please.
  • press releases still hold value, but keep them short, catchy and concise. Again, people will call/mail other people if we want to run the story. We’ll need those high res images!
  • don’t invest too much in press kits, and if you do, make them USBs please.
  • social media - we either love it or hate it - do your (social) homework!
  • if we’re attending a show, our agenda possibilities are limited, we need to make the most of it: make it a press dinner, booth interviews or a press conference - not all at the same time.

All in all, we’ve gained some interesting insights in what the press wants and will consult with our clients to make sure they know what the press and their readers want and need. You can be sure we’ll be implementing the feedback if we can.

So thumbs up and thank you to all participating journalists. We owe you a beer next time we meet up!

Want to add something to that? Leave a comment below or get in touch with me directly.



Why it pays to tell a good story

When you hit the promotion trail it’s hard to resist giving people a load of facts and figures. About why you’re the fastest, the strongest, the best. But in a world saturated with marketing messages, chances are people won’t be listening. As communications strategist David Henderson says:

"Even though many companies and organizations remain obsessed with the outdated marketing and PR tactic of narcissistically talking about themselves, fewer and fewer audiences are listening in today’s noisy world. People desire an emotional connection with a company’s products or services.”

In 2012, you’re likely to have far more success if you highlight exactly how you’ve helped companies. How you’ve helped them sell more. Or helped them cut costs. Or generally improved the way they operate. In a nutshell, the value of your product is best expressed through the impact it’s had on your customers. And capturing this impact on customers means knowing how to tell a good story.

So why do companies struggle so much with this? More curiously, why don’t some companies even bother trying to tell a story at all?

A well-told story helps you build an emotional connection with customers and prospects. It reveals to people who you are, and what you’re about. Most importantly, a good story tells people why they need you. 

If you’ve been struggling to engage with audiences in the way you want to, you’re not alone. It’s something we hear a lot from our customers and prospects. But don’t worry, we have some tricks up our sleeve that could really help.

If your press releases, case studies and testimonials aren’t quite hitting the spot, why not give us a call, we do this on a day-to-day basis for our customers? It could be the missing piece in your story-telling puzzle.



Why it’s time to make death our number-one fear

Strange but true: public speaking frequently tops death in studies of people’s greatest fears. Why is that? Why do people fear the audience more than the Reaper?
One wise guy suggested that with death, at least you can only die once. Anyone who’s crumbled as their presentation nosedived can relate to that gag.

But joking aside, presentations and interviews needn’t be a trauma. We’re not saying you can banish nerves completely. But they can be managed so you can get down to business and deliver your finely crafted message.

And let’s face it, if you’re a senior exec or working in comms, public speaking – be it at a conference of thousands of people, or in a room with a handful of stakeholders – is something you’re going to have to master sooner or later.

Like so many anxieties, the fear of doing something is invariably worse than actually doing the thing itself. And when it comes to presentations and interviews, you can really help allay your fears by preparing thoroughly.

Research your target audience. Tweak you messages to within an inch of their life. Structure your ideas and arguments clearly, so you tell a compelling story. Offer plenty of examples to underline your points and add credibility. Anticipate questions and objections, and have a well-considered response ready.

If you’re delivering a presentation, give thought to your visual support materials (and if you have to use PowerPoint, use it sparingly). Being lined up for an interview? Then make sure you maintain control – without frustrating the interviewer.

We could go on and on with the dos and don’ts. In fact, we’ve so much to say on public speaking we’re dedicating a whole slot to it at our PR Summercamp. We’ll cover slide design and time management, highly effective techniques for getting your message across, and audience interaction. We’ll even show you how to handle black-outs and ambushes.

We’ve not met anyone yet who doesn’t admit to being even a little bit nervous before public speaking. And that includes the corporate big-wigs who do this stuff all the time.

If your palms start sweating at the thought of public speaking, you’re not alone. Why not sign up for our PR Summercamp? We’ll make sure you don’t suffer an ordeal the next time you have to get up there and impress an expectant audience.



Have you linked the Holy Trinity of PR – brand, messaging and reputation?

You could be forgiven for thinking corporate giants and start-ups have completely different marketing and communications goals. In terms of the nitty-gritty – the day-to-day activities they get involved in – you’d be right, to a large extent. But when it comes to the bigger picture, these companies share a common aim: issue clear and consistent communications, build a brand, and protect the company image.

A brand is bigger than a logo and a catchy slogan. Messages, meanwhile, have to convey more than just facts about products and services. Similarly, the reputation of a company goes well beyond customer satisfaction. Brand development, company messaging and reputation management must be in synch to achieve maximum impact.

We’re often asked how you align these three core elements. So often that we’re dedicating a whole slot to the subject at our two-day PRSummerCamp

We’ll be covering how to formulate messages that resonate with target audiences, and exploit all communications platforms to increase brand awareness and enhance reputations.  

Another thing we’re asked is how to come up with a communications strategy when you’re operating in both the B2B and B2C markets. Obviously, the two markets require a different approach – but there is some overlap. At the PRSummerCamp we’ll cover what tactics they can borrow from each other. 

By the end of the course you’ll know how to adjust messages for different audiences and circumstances, and have a roadmap to a clear communications strategy.



The future of print communication is online and interactive

The VIGC managed to get print’s éminence grise on board for a post-drupa Benelux tour. Eddy Hagen hosted an exclusive Frank Romano seminar on June 21st. How many chances does one have to get that close to print wisdom? Not that many. So en route to Turnhout duomedia’s Maya Staels was.

After a very elaborate, yet concise and funny presentation on the evolution of the print industry and a glimpse of what Frank perceives to be the future, I mustered all my courage to pick The Man’s brain on print communication.

At duomedia, we have some print veterans who remember the times when we used a fax or even snail mail to send press releases to the journalists. (I kid you not!) Now everything goes mainly via e-mail and even social media. How did he feel about that evolution and how should communication about and within our industry evolve?

Well it turns out that Frank has truly embraced the digital evolution in print communication. He attends press gatherings using his MacBook Air, always keeps a USB or two in his pocket (one is the small pocket-size Xeikon one BTW) and regularly posts videos on the WhatTheyThink channel. He is particularly thrilled about how fast information becomes available, but still insists on the need for journalists to put everything in the correct context and provide the reader with enough background to back up the (r)evolutionary new stories.

There he recognizes the need for a specialized PR agency. They are your intermediary with the press, streamline your communications flow and can assess what needs (not) to be done. Thank you for the vote of confidence, Frank!

When it comes to events, he takes a clear standpoint. You need to keep press events alive. One-on-one interviews are great, but you do not get as much journalistic print wisdom in the same room all that often. The questions they might ask can be imperative to your further research. He recommends that press conference agendas be better timed and scheduled. And please, try to avoid long walks. Also, treat your press people well, a good drink, something nice to eat. They’ll appreciate the care and attention. A press breakfast is his favorite formula: you are fresh, so is the food and you have food for thought for the rest of the day. Also, budgets are down everywhere, including for the press. Invest in paying for their travel expenses, so they can attend the shows and give it and you the deserved coverage.

Last but not least, go online. Your website should be the core of your company. Make sure you have a press section that contains your key press releases and includes a link to your (external) press office. The press will need to know who to get in touch with, and the PR agency can assess the required action. And do not underestimate the power of a good press release, but keep it short, concise and to-the-point.

By the way, did you know that duomedia has an online press office where the press can download all press releases and pictures from our clients? You can find it here. Thanks for the food for thought, Frank!



Make room for social media in the communication mix

Make plenty of room, in fact. That’s the message that came over crystal clear at a social media roundtable at the recent IBIS Awards. Today, most businesses recognise that social media allow them to engage customers and prospects in conversation like never before. They can see that these free online channels present a communications opportunity way too big to miss.

So why are there still some social media refuseniks out there? In a word, fear. Fear of the (relatively) new. And more specifically, fear of losing control. Since day dot comms people have worked in a world where communication was a one-way street – they issued a press release and the media covered the story (or not, as the case may be). Essentially, they controlled the flow of information. Back in the day, the communications process was simple. 

Social media have changed everything. Now, communication is all about dialogue. If people don’t like what your company is doing, or disagree with the information you’re putting out, they’ll waste no time telling you.

That’s why a well-considered social media strategy is so important – something that Monique Devroe, Spokes Person of Belfius Bank, clearly understands. At the roundtable discussion she commented that it’s very important to engage and befriend influential people on social media platforms, so that they don’t become your enemy.

Monique acknowledged that such a strategy involves adopting a different communications approach, but also underlined social media’s value in providing another platform to talk to stakeholders. She rightly pointed out that a company’s reputation is one of its most important assets, and while you can’t control what people say about you, you can control how you respond.

A representative from the newspaper, De Tijd, also underlined the importance of being selective when engaging people. He commented that there’s much ‘bar talk’ in social media, and you have to block out the ‘noise’. Despite this challenge, the representative noted that social media channels have become big hitters in the communications mix – they afford them immediate feedback on their stories, and this feedback sometimes helps form the basis for future articles. 

Whatever your take on social media, there’s no denying these channels are here to stay. Resistance is futile (and potentially very damaging). It’s time to embrace social media and reap the many rewards that these exciting platforms have to offer.



#lifeafterdrupa

Life after drupa - it’s been what we been dreaming of after all the months of hard work and the exhilarating two weeks in Düsseldorf.

Last week the last duomedia lady returned home - with the latest drupa dailies, our little office pharmacy (compeed for feet!) and business cards. As we take a trip down drupa hall lane, we cannot help but wonder… Was it all real?

Sometimes it surprises us how something you crave so deeply passes by so quickly. At duomedia we’ve been preparing since last year, when we launched the first pre-drupa press conferences in various European countries. Early this year we moved on to full speed for our international pre-drupa press event in Lisbon. April was all about prepping all press releases and make sure the message got across to the press that these companies have been working for four years to stand tall at drupa and put forward solutions that help our challenged graphic industry.

Late April and very early May were all about fixing interviews and prepping the press conferences. Getting all material for press conferences, stocking up our tool box (no laughing matter, our tool box comes in handy at any press conference!) and getting the stuff in the duomedia cars.

On a personal level, thorough planning was also required. Briefing the homefront on essentials - kids’ swimming gear on top shelf, daycare days clearly indicated in red on the calendar and don’t forget the cat medicine! What (not) to wear and to what weather - short or long sleeve? Looking for comfortable yet classy #drupashoes. Stocking up on some sleep before you leave so as to not arrive with baggy eyes.  

And then the big day arrives. The kick-off to a rocking two weeks. Sprinting from one hall to another, making sure every press conference is handled as professionally as the next and sitting down with interviews so we can keep track of what the press needs. We can hardly believe we handled 10 press conferences on a few days’ spread. duomedia represented no less than 15 customers at the show, each one as valuable as the next. Meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. Handling urgent press and customer requests. Pushing your boundaries to the maximum, even on days when you do not feel like it. And not forgetting to be social. Updating the duomedia and drupa social media tools: catchy snapshots, happy reunions, RTing the key news, tagging the right people. The interaction was wonderful to experience. The twitterwalls were just booming with tweets on the #drupa buzz!

We’ve worked hard and it was worth it. Messe Düsseldorf reports on successful drupa with a strong emphasis on qualitative leads and visitor profiles and that is indeed how it feels. Rewarding.

So thank you to the Messe, for organizing another successful edition of drupa. Thank you to our customers, for their continued faith in our PR skills. Thank you to the international press for their continued faith in our PR skills. And last but not last, thank you to the entire duomedia team. It would have been impossible without your dedication, humour and perseverance.

Onward and upward. drupa 2016, here we come. Watch out! ;)



predrupa - time to de-care and de-stress

At the recent #duopredrupaBE press conference held in Brussels, there was one sentence that sums up pretty much all of the drupa trends currently going on. Ignace Cosaert, CEO of Athena Graphics, specialised in pre-press for packaging, said the keyword in everything they do is “de-care”. An interesting thought as drupa is only a fortnight away.

The #duopredrupabe was held on April 5th, Easter break in the duomedia premises at The Egg, a communication hub in Brussels. A raft of interesting speakers gave their take on the drupa at hand. Monika Kissing, head of the press department at messe
Düsseldorf, informed us drupa was sold out. Sold out. Entirely! The cross-media campaign definitely proved its worth. Initial feedback from visitors shows they are coming to see a lot of diversified solutions. A trend confirmed by Eddy Hagen, Director at the VIGC and trendwatcher. Belgium based, but with a steady eye on the international trends, he confirmed printers are looking at not one solution at a time, but they’re exploring options on how they can take more work and cares away from their customers. They’re researching automation, shorter run terms and web-to-print applications for easier access, control and output. This was reflected in the Belgian industry figures, released by Belgium based Febelgra. Downward leaning figures indicated that Belgian printers are experiencing difficulties, but the survivors are the innovators who are investing in solutions that turn printers in interactive and cooperative partners.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so we asked Athena Graphics (a packaging pre-press specialist) and Drukkerij De Bie (commercial printing specialist) to provides us with a sneak peek on how they grow. De Bie invests a lot in sustainable management and solutions (they even have a bee-kingdom at their premises!) and Athena Graphics focuses on de-caring. They’ve developed an internal workflow approval tool, to manage and integrate all the processes from within the company. They’ve also set up the Athena Academy to invest in training people. Quality and de-caring are on top of their priority list.

De-caring or taking stress and workload away from customers, it seems like today’s mantra. Especially as we head up to drupa. A fortnight to go and still a lot of things to be done with stress levels hitting the red zone hours before opening day. So here an appeal to all of you - let’s de-care one another every once in a while.

Hey you there, good job on all the drupa preparations, how can we help?

Don’t forget: #drupa #drupacube #drupadip @drupa2012 @duomediapr

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