Nov 26th 2018

Winning friends and influencing people at MWC Barcelona

The BBC, Reuters, Capacity and Ovum share their thoughts at Babel’s panel event

MWC Barcelona has become a key fixture in the telecoms industry, drawing over 100,000 attendees each year. Having supported clients at the show since its inception, Babel has seen time and time again how instrumental it can be to raising companies’ profiles, driving leads and building relationships with media. However, with so many brands now competing for attention, and over 2,500 journalists attending, standing out from the crowd, and getting noticed by media and analysts, has become increasingly difficult.

To address this challenge, Babel hosted a panel event featuring journalists from the BBC, Reuters and Capacity, as well as a leading Ovum analyst, at the Covent Garden Hotel in London. Representing a cross section of tier one business, trade and analyst influencers, the panelists shared valuable insight about how companies can optimise their presence at MWC Barcelona, as well as their predictions on forthcoming trends.

The discussion kicked off debating the value of “quirky” stories, and their ability to drive engagement with a tier one media audience. Citing Vodafone and Nokia’s announcement of the first 4G network on the moon, panelists noted that while such stories undoubtedly pique media interest, all too often they end up being little more than PR spin. As Capacity observed, trade journalists are less likely to be lured by gimmicks, but instead will seek to validate hype about emergent technologies by speaking to others in the industry.

The conversation then turned to timings, and what the optimal window is for securing briefings. According to Capacity, some companies have already started to try and lock in briefings, which is far too early for journalists! This was supported by both Reuters and the BBC, who recognised that while business publications necessitate a long lead time for pitches, anything earlier than January will be disregarded. All agreed that shortly after the Christmas break is the best time to approach influencers for briefings, and concurred that the two weeks prior to the show should be avoided. With a number of operators, device manufacturers and major vendors running “preview” media and analyst tours ahead of MWC itself, pitches during the final two weeks are likely to fall on deaf ears.

Further insights were shared after opening up the floor for discussion, and focused on how companies can best explain complex technological propositions, such as AI and machine learning, to a media audience. As the BBC observed, some get stuck on technical nuances, and risk losing sight of the bigger picture. This was echoed by Capacity, who revealed that often the best way to get under the skin of an organisation’s proposition is to ask spokespeople to describe a technology to them as they would to their CFO. This approach backs up a common media trend of describing tech “as you would to a five-year-old,” and shows the importance of translating complex technical language into messages that will resonate with a wide audience.

While MWC Barcelona may be several months away, the panel highlighted how important it is to plan ahead, develop compelling messaging, and understand the needs of the influencers you’re looking to engage with. To hear these discussion points and lots of others, please visit https://babelpr.com/mwc19-preview-reg/ to download a free recording, and to find out how Babel can help to raise your company’s profile in Barcelona and beyond, please do get in touch.

 


Katie Finn
Katie Finn ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR