Lotusphere Orlando 2000
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Lotusphere Orlando 2000

The public relations activities around Lotusphere 2000 had to be coordinated across 12 different Lotus PR teams at the agency. This included making sure that every team was kept aware of any changes that could affect their specific product area.

Paul Holmes

 

As the agency responsible for managing all media relations surrounding Lotusphere Orlando 2000, Lois Paul & Partners (LP&P) was responsible for securing press attendance, writing the press releases, as well as designing the Press Kit, and scheduling 838 interviews between the Lotus executives and press and analysts.  Lois Paul & Partners also crafted 304 background briefing documents on journalists and 10 electronic internal Q&A documents and an overall Q&A.

The public relations activities around Lotusphere 2000 had to be coordinated across 12 different Lotus PR teams at the agency.  This included making sure that every team was kept aware of any changes that could affect their specific product area.  The PR teams also needed to take into consideration the news topic preferences of the on-site journalists when scheduling meetings.  Given that many journalists were not able to attend the event due to time or budgetary constraints, the PR team worked to notify non-attending journalists of the news announcements as they crossed the wire and set up telephone press briefings with Lotus spokespeople in a timely manner.

Feedback about the show from members of the press, analyst community and Lotus itself was overwhelmingly positive.  Press coverage in more than 300 articles demonstrated the media’s acceptance and understanding of Lotus’ positioning and key messages. 

OPPORTUNITIES 

With over 10,000 customers, 200 exhibitors and 300+ members of the media at the “Happiest Place on Earth” for an entire week, the possibilities are limitless.  Lotusphere is an annual user conference held in Walt Disney World for customers and business partners of Lotus Development Corp.  This year, the conference sold out in two days.

A-Okay with Y2K

Companies that were hesitant to purchase new software during 1999 due to the Y2K scare were now confident with the level of security and reliability in the computer industry.  2000 was the year companies built up their e-business and knowledge management solutions by implementing software that enables users to work in the style that best fits their needs. 

A Visionary Company 

Computerworld has rated Lotusphere among the top user conferences worldwide.  And, it was the only conference run by a vendor to receive such an honor.  “Survey respondents said Lotusphere has the best exhibits and demonstrations, and they gave it high marks for its training and certification offerings.” (Computerworld Sept. 20, 1999)   The theme for Lotusphere 2000, “Looking Forward, Forward Looking,” captured the visionary status that Lotus has acquired in the software industry over the last decade.  A visionary company like Lotus is naturally the target of many competitors -- Microsoft for example -- that seek to profit by mimicking technology concepts that it originated.  By meeting with key press and analysts at Lotusphere, Lotus had a chance to shine through as the original and true leader in e-business and knowledge management technology.

RESEARCH, PLANNING AND STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES

There were two high-level objectives for Lotusphere 2000.  The first was to reinforce the message that Lotus is the leader in developing total knowledge management solutions.  The following announcements were designed the help draw attention to this objective:

  • New Lotus Client Family Enhances e-business Communication and Collaboration 
  • Lotus QuickPlace 2.0 Previews at Lotusphere 
  • Lotus Extends Domino.Doc Family of Products

The second objective was to promote Lotus as a visionary in building next-generation e-businesses.  The following announcements aided in delivering this key message:

  • IBM and Lotus Announce Integrated Software Technologies to Build Next-generation e-businesses 
  • New Lotus Client Family Enhances e-business Communication and Collaboration 
  • Lotus Highlights Single Sign-on Solutions for Easy Access to Multiple Enterprise Applications

LP&P also mapped 122 Lotus Business Partner announcements to the overall Lotusphere 2000 objectives, depending on which initiative each release best supported.  

STRATEGIC APPROACH AND CAMPAIGN EXECUTION

A high-impact industry event like Lotusphere 2000 demands extensive planning and preparation.  Lois Paul & Partners spent four months fine-tuning and executing the PR plan to ensure its success. Following is a summary of the strategies/activities leading up to Lotusphere 2000.

Outreach:

Press/Analyst Meetings

  • 16 meeting tracks were targeted and used to deliver Lotus' key news/strategic messages. 
  • 838 meetings were secured with 340 US and international press and analysts. 
  • 4 “White House Style” press conferences were planned in addition to the 838 meetings.

Press Materials

  • LP&P crafted 7 Lotus press releases and 17 supporting documents. 
  • LP&P edited 122 Lotus Business Partner press releases. 
  • LP&P created an Online Press Kit for the LP&P Web site and the Lotusphere Web site.

Celebrity Guests

  • Celebrities Walter Cronkite and CNBC’s Gina Smith participated in the opening session. 
  • Message Continuity/Spokesperson Preparation

Briefing Materials

  • LP&P crafted 304 background briefing documents on reporters/analysts. 
  • LP&P crafted 10 electronic, internal Q&A documents and an overall Q&A.

Leveraging of Technology

  • High-tech PR demands high-tech resources.  The following Lotus Notes/Domino technology was designed/implemented by LP&P and used in preparation for Lotusphere 2000: 
  • Meeting Schedule Database - An electronic form prevented double-booking by capturing reporter/analyst information, meeting times, topics and locations.  Schedules included links to tailored briefing documents for easy distribution and coordination. 
  • Briefing Document Database - Background information on each reporter was prepared for every meeting and electronically delivered to spokespeople.  
  • E-clips Database - This database was one resource Lotus could use during the show to see the coverage/electronic press clips, as the event was happening. 
  • Press Kit Databases - Two databases were designed for Lotus and Lotus Business Partner press kits as an easy resource for building the Online Press Kit. 
  • Webcast, Online Press Kit - as noted above

RESULTS DOCUMENTATION

At Lotusphere 2000, Lotus Development Corp. made seven announcements and showcased solutions that successfully demonstrated the company’s leadership in the knowledge management and e-business markets.  Feedback about the show from members of the press, analyst community and Lotus itself was overwhelmingly positive.  Press coverage in more than 300 articles demonstrated the media’s acceptance and understanding of Lotus’ positioning and key messages. 

Coverage

  • A total of 315 press clips appeared in both print and online media, including 208 clips from international press. 
  • Articles appeared in all of Lotus’ top-tier trade press, including a cover story in InternetWeek (“Lotus: Grand Vision, Tall Order”, January 24, 2000). 
  • Lotus’ key messages were accurately received for each announcement. 
  • 60+ articles focussed on knowledge management. 
  • 50+ articles discussed the e-business strategy. 
  • 25 articles mentioned Lotus products that were not included in the announcements. 
  • 17 articles included analyst quotes as a result of LP&P’s analyst outreach efforts. 
  • 86 articles included quotes from 12 different Lotus spokespeople.

Attendance

  • There were more than 10,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors. 
  • 838 meetings were secured with 340 US and international press and analysts. 
  • 22 of Lotus’ top-tier analysts attended a news-based teleconference prior to the show.
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