You may have read some of Pete’s blogs on our recent seminars in South Africa on the touchy topic of bed bugs (for example here). He was approaching it from a broadly technical point of view – while my interest is mainly around the impact that these events will have on our brand in the local market.
We have carried out bed bug seminars in France, Italy, Spain, Ireland and now S Africa in the last 6 months, using Professor Mike Potter from the University of Kentucky to support our message. In all these countries we have gained a lot of media coverage, which has clearly driven awareness not only of the growing threat from these biting insects, but also of our brand.
From a marketing point of view our key learnings are:
1. Promote the event thoroughly at least a month beforehand
2. Use a respected external speaker – this makes a real difference to the credibility of the event, and will help get media interest and attendees.
3. Target the customer segment where you want to drive interest, but accept that other people will want to attend (may be even competition).
As a result of the activity we have just done in S Africa our website there (www.rentokil.co.za) has recorded a 74% increase in visitors in the last month (compared to the same time last year), reinforcing that PR can and does have a direct impact on interest in the brand.