MWC2015: Like getting a seat at rush hour…

Chris Gibbs compares getting attention at MWC like getting a seat at rush hour.

This event is like a tube train at rush hour where everyone is fighting for space. Physically, just trying to get from Hall 1 to Hall 8; figuratively in terms of winning sales in a saturated market; and in PR terms in trying to get Share of Voice.

4,000 media from all over the world come here (Samsung is claiming that 5,000 attended its launch event meaning it also flew in a lot of media). The MWC Show Daily team will have covered something like 240 pages of news and 48 hours of live TV. Open up the FT, BBC, Economist, Wired, TechMeme etc. and you'll find stories from here. But you won't find everything and not every story can get covered, or deserves coverage.

The challenge is knowing what you need from the show. So answer these questions:

  1. Do you need industry support? If so, it's all about the relationships primarily with customers and partners so focus on that. From a PR perspective, build brand presence and awareness and relevance so that those partners and customers know to seek you out. That might mean doing PR in advance of the show.
  2. Do you need to disrupt the industry? Then what are you doing being all 'normal' in your approach? Be disruptive.
  3. Are you selling to consumers? It's a gamble between knowing the world's media is here and making yourself heard in all the noise. The experience and coverage tells that the biggest brands get the most attention. If you fall outside the top five, or heaven forbid the top 10, then consider point 2.

Then plan your onsite approach:

Brand presence

  • Google and Intel get it right. Both brands are ubiquitous throughout because of their brand presence in every hall. Intel uses its keynote and exhibition stands in a variety of different halls to demonstrate its work across the entire mobile ecosystem and then clever branding and sponsorship (working closely with Android) so people see, touch and hear the brand. Google does similarly but has never had its own exhibition stand, rather it uses a keynote and then heavy sponsorship and placement of Android branding on all its partner stands to make sure it's seen and loved by everyone.
  • Microsoft is back with a stand, thanks to Nokia, but it used to get flamed for not being seen to be trying to succeed. If you're a challenger brand, and especially a challenger brand with resources, then you have to be seen to want to be successful.
  • Personally I think the industry is too mature to need booth babes and cheerleaders, but I can't deny that seems to work for some…

Social presence

  • The normal rules apply but there's more opportunity to engage with people onsite creatively. Snapdragon does well by engaging people using #MWC15 to meet them in person to give 'care packages' of food, sweets, plasters etc. Clever, witty and useful.
  • Plan your approach! This is not the time to do things on the fly. It can take an hour to walk from hall 1 to hall 8 and back so things take time. If you want to do video interviews, editing and posting onsite, then you'll need professional equipment, and a wired connection. Plan your content calendar and fill as much as you can in advance.


  1. Pitch early and make it compelling/relevant: David Pringle, ex-WSJE and now Mobile World Live TV reporter, told me that their reporting schedule booked up weeks before the show and only high-level, C-suite thought-leadership interviews make the cut. If you pitch in February, you're getting late.
  2. Do you need to do media briefings onsite at all? Pre-briefing can work better, sometimes you can fill a vacuum if you go after show. This isn't a show for deep dives, it's about building relationships and show & tells.
  3. Think about what the media will want and need. The global head of PR for a consumer internet company told me that she hadn't expected all the media (CNBC, FT, BBC) would want to film a prototype product (invisibility glasses!) so they didn't have it with them. By under-estimating the need for a consumer, visual story the media were disappointed and the company didn't get the coverage it could have.
  4. Please don't do briefings offsite, travel time makes it near impossible.
  5. Don't do parties unless you make it the best and biggest ever. A 2 hour coach trip for a warm beer and lounge music and a chance to speak to someone in a suit isn't great for anyone.
  6. Respect the professionalism of others. I spoke with the GSMA (show organisers) who told me horror stories of PRs ambulance chasing spokespeople to steal the media away immediately after their briefings.

Like that tube train at rush hour, if you want a comfortable ride you need to know to get to the front and where to stand. MWC is all in the planning. Next year's event starts now – or maybe Monday. 

H+K Admin

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search