Mobile World Congress helps brands stand out

Mobile World Congress (MWC), which will be held in Barcelona next week (from 22-25 February), is the biggest mobile and technology conference in the world  attracting thousands of brands, journalists and attendees year-after-year. It gives PRs interested in the sector, opportunities to network, chances to create media coverage and reach a vast audience both at the event and indirectly.

However, the sheer scale of the event means PRs compete to get messages through and get in touch with the top media players. Several big brands including Samsung and Sony launch flagship products every year, leading to a host of marketing collateral that PRs must cut-through. So how do PRs ensure their clients, their messages and their own opportunities stand out?

We asked MWC media partner CNBC,  Edelman and Babel what the biggest trends are set to be, how to cut through the noise and what the target audience is. Here is what they said:

Look to the future for opportunity

The mobile-handset market has become crowded so many brands are set to shift the focus away from mobile phones to virtual and augmented reality offerings. HTC, for example, is defying the convention of launching a yearly flagship smartphone at this year’s event and will focus on its virtual reality headset, Vive VR.

Arjun Kharpal, tech reporter at CNBC, said: “This year there’ll be a number of big trends and one of the most exciting will be virtual reality (VR). The potential of the technology has been talked about over the past few years, but with a number of manufacturers now releasing VR devices, it has entered the mainstream and competition in the space is heating up.

“5G and what that means for mobile and the internet of things are also going to be a big trend. A lot of mobile networks and also equipment makers will be talking about how you might be able to download a movie to your phone in a few seconds and when 5G could become a reality.”

Matt Humphries, director and head of telecoms at Babel PR, said: “The mobile sector is experiencing a big shift and it’s no longer all about mobile operators and handset manufacturers. That’s changing the power base and the most interesting developments are likely to come from the mouths of the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Ford President & CEO, Mark Fields and Matercard’s President, International Markets, Ann Cairnsdent.”

Know your audience

Although it’s focused on the mobile and tech industry and draws in major brands such as Facebook, LG or Google, the event also provides opportunities for businesses in related industries such as finance. For instance, brands like HSBC and Deloitte are exhibting at MWC this year.

Satyen Dayal, director of enterprise and innovation, London technology at Edelman, said: “MWC is a fascinating show and one that has evolved significantly over the past three decades from being primarily telecoms oriented to practically everything mobile. As tech investors Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz and Benedict Evans, note: “mobile is eating the world” and this is a big part of the reason for the show’s continued success amongst media and attendees.

“For Edelman, we are seeing clients from all industry sectors look at this as a major destination to showcase their products and contribute to the conversation that takes place over the week. Hence, as mobile continues to grow, we expect to see an ongoing trend of non-tech or telecoms firms telling their story at MWC.”

Keep things simple to stand out

In 2015 there were 94,000 visitors to MWC and 2,199 exhibitors. In addition, 3,800 press and industry analysts attended as well as thousands of C-suite level leaders. While this presents some big opportunities for PR, it can also be easy to get lost in such company.

“Brands can make a big splash at a place like MWC, but the ones that do it best are the ones that get their message across through all the noise. And, the way to do that is stand out by being simple,” said CNBC’s Kharpal.

He added: “Brands have the world’s biggest media and businesses in one place. They need to tell a compelling but simple story, not try and complicate it by throwing every buzzword under the sun into their pitches. The amount of times I’ve seen pitches involving the words “end-to-end cloud mobility solution” in the first line is incredible.

“I’m excited to see the way companies market themselves, how they will attempt to stand out from the crowd in a market that is becoming very same-y in terms of devices.”

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