Holmes Report 30 Apr 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
uWand and APRICO are two small TV technology ventures that started out in the R&D labs of PHILIPS but with big ambitions. They wanted to break away from the PHILIPS brand and be known as important advanced TV technology providers in their own right and with a global reach. The sky was the limit for these two fledgling companies and we enabled them to secure sales leads all around the world through a comprehensive global trade show program including shows in the US, and Europe, run from London. In total throughout the year we secured 76 briefings at trade shows as well many around them with titles such as Cable & Satellite International, PC World and Videonet.
Both APRICO and uWand’s principle aim was to increase the sales of licenses of their technologies through increasing their presence in the market. Specifically, they wanted a global presence, a challenging task because as both companies are small, they only had sufficient budget for a UK PR agency. As two independent companies, but which are also part of PHILIPS Intellectual Property and Standards, they wanted to have voices in their own right but also be able to leverage the PHILIPS name. To achieve this, the chosen strategy was to boost their presence at key trade shows as that is where they traditionally talk to many of their customers and would enable them to reach their target global audience efficiently and cost-effectively. However, as both TV recommendation technologies and remote control technologies are very niche, there was a limited number of publications we could reach out to raise awareness at industry events. We therefore had to use a small number of titles to reach a large global audience that included multiple stakeholders interested in TV technology.
The most significant insight gained was that differentiating a consumer-focused technology available for licensing from a consumer product is complicated. As both companies produced technologies that they wanted to license, our targets were businesses like set-top box manufacturers rather than consumers. Previous PR companies had not succeeded in this and a large amount of enthusiastic B2C coverage had had no positive effect on sales.
The technologies have a strong visual element, making them best explained by a demonstration rather than over the phone and also need a competent and knowledgeable spokesperson to fully explain them to the press and analysts.
Due to the nature of APRICO and uWand’s brands, there is often a blurring of them as individual companies with the much more powerful PHILIPS umbrella. This has a detrimental effect on their business case to sell licenses as set-top box manufacturers believe it is a branded PHILIPS product rather than an independent technology. A delicate balance had to be struck concerning the use of the PHILIPS name as occasionally mentioning PHILIPS made the case stronger in media outreach.
Our principle strategy was to shape our campaign around trade shows and use them as a platform to best present APRICO and uWand’s technologies. The trade shows were treated as the peaks of the campaign and all other activity was used to raise interest in the run-up and sustain it afterwards. The international nature of trade shows enabled us to make the best use of international spokespeople’s time as they could speak to many influencers in a short space of time and showing the technologies in operation was an effective way to impress journalists.
The media outreach conducted therefore was to key trade titles and analysts specifically writing about TV technology. Analysts were a key part of this program as they provided a sounding board for the company to tailor its business strategy, as well as acting as third party endorsement for the technology, and as a strong means to influence sales.
To this end the execution of our trade show outreach was three-pronged. Firstly we sent out exclusive HTML teaser mailers for both APRICO and uWand in the run-up to events highlighting key topics APRICO can talk about to raise interest. Secondly, we reached out to key media attending trade shows such as CES and IBC in order to target them with offers of briefings and demos. The final part of our execution was the demonstrations of the technology. These demonstrations took place both at trade shows where the technology could be seen at its very best, and at journalists’ offices as a teaser in the run-up to shows.
• High-quality media and analyst interviews for both uWand and APRICO Solutions at IBC 2010 which resulted in them being approached for further opportunities such as APRICO’s appearance in the Multimedia Research Group’s 2010 Over-The-Top TV report
• Outreach for NCTA 2010 resulted in interest from 1,032 global journalists, analysts and bloggers as well as 762 qualified leads from show delegates
• At NCTA, stand visitors from Time Warner and Virgin Media cited coverage we had generated as the reason they chose to visit
• Following a meeting at IBC 2010, analyst house Strategy Analytics included APRICO in their IBC report
• Number of top-tier international trade media interviews at CES 2011 for uWand far exceeded expectations: 26 secured briefings, 31 drop-by requests
• 55 pieces of coverage from CES 2011 spanning UK, US, Netherlands, Italy and China
• Boosted the number of sales leads in 2010 including meetings with operators like NBC Universal at CES 2011 as a result of increased presence at trade shows
• Established brands as separate business entities, for example, the uWand is now referred to on its own as opposed to being referred to as the PHILIPS uWand