The brand promotion people

From Publishing Events to Klarents Media

24 May 2022

Publishing Events has changed its name to Klarents Media. Why?

Put simply, we wanted a new name that was more memorable, as well as one that gave a sharper focus to the unique package of brand promotion services that we provide to event organisers, exhibitors, trade associations and association members.

Founded in 1995, our mission as a company has always been to create specialist media products that are of a significantly higher quality, more commercially effective, and clearer and easier to use than our customers, readers and users have experienced before.

We chose the name ‘Klarents’ because it is short and simple, and merges two ideas that drive our business.

The first part of the name is from ‘klar’, which in Germanic languages means ‘clear’, ‘bright’, ‘distinct’, ‘lucid’, ‘conscious’, ‘unambiguous’, and ‘ready’.

And the second part of Klarents is a reference to the word ‘events’. This reflects the strong feeling we have always had at the company that every time we produce and promote a publication or launch a directory for a client – whether it be a magazine, association yearbook, show guide, event preview, or online members’ directory – it is always a tremendous event.

In fact, there is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing a publication we have compiled, designed, edited and produced arrive in our office. And, even better, is then going out and seeing it used by our customers and their customers at an event, whether that is a huge international trade expo, or an association seminar or networking event.

So we hope that our new name Klarents will help to remind all our clients that we are always here and ready to help them promote their brands in the most effective way and, above all, with total clarity.

The Klarents team

Plug the events gap with powerful extra membership benefit

10 February 2021

By strategically focusing on all three legs of the ‘perfect marketing trifecta’, associations can not only survive but thrive during these challenging times

The closing down of almost all kinds of in-person events in March last year – and at the time of writing still with no end in sight – has led to a catastrophic fall in income for most associations.

In-person events will eventually return of course. But this could be long time. In the meantime, the shutdown has almost completely removed one of the key reasons companies at least previously had for joining “their” association: namely the ability to promote their business by meeting in-person with future partners and clients.

Virtual meetings and events can go some of the way to making up for that loss. But for associations, even the most successful virtual events typically only generate 10-20% of the revenues from the equivalent in-person seminars, networking events, conferences and exhibitions.

And while online events can maintain existing business relationships, they are much less effective at helping members to form strong new relationships. Nothing beats the power of face-to-face meetings to foster transformative innovation and creativity through serendipitous conversations with people we had never planned to meet.

So how can associations both balance their books and still provide a strong mix of promotional benefits that will keep their members continuing to renew their membership each year?

In my view, associations need to take a holistic approach. The power of the trade association lies in the idea that by helping companies and individuals to connect and work together collaboratively and creatively everybody wins – because good business is done by and between members, and wealth is generated for the benefit of society at large.

Associations therefore need to develop new ways to fulfil their mission.

Now, more than ever, associations need to make use of all three legs of the “perfect marketing trifecta”, namely: online, face-to-face, and printed communications. During this pandemic online and face-to-face have come together as never before with a mushrooming of virtual events and exhibitions. This is all for the good. Virtual events are an efficient way to have targeted meetings and conversations and these events will continue to play a major role long after this pandemic is over. But printed communications – specifically net revenue-generating printed members directories and yearbooks – are also now being increasingly used by successful associations to square many circles.

Just as printed books for consumers never disappeared after the arrival e-books, and are now thriving as never before, particularly over the last 12 months, so printed media in the B2B space are also coming back into their own. Corporate marketers increasingly realise the value of giving their customers and prospects the opportunity to literally take ownership of their message – by touching it and feeling it. With less print being used nowadays, counter-intuitively what does get printed is even more effective, and lasts long after a once-looked at web or app page has disappeared from sight.

Printed media and marketing communications “sit with” the people who receive them, and are read, and reread over a long period of time, in ways that digital media (for all its benefits and other uses) rarely is.

‘Highly Covid-secure member directories are not only a win-win for members …. They are also a win-win for associations who have a powerful new communications tool – more often than not at zero cost, or even profit, to themselves’

Apart from giving members something that they overwhelmingly want, the key benefits for associations themselves of publishing a printed member directory include:

  • ‘Spring cleaning’ the association’s member database: Staying up to date with members’ business activities, changes in personnel, mergers and acquisitions and, sadly, even corporate failures, can be difficult. The process of publishing a printed members’ directory solves this issue by prompting members to update their profile information before a set print deadline each year, and means that as a result all your members’ data gets a thorough spring clean.

  • Enhancing the quality of an association’s online member directory: Associations can synchronise the member data published in their printed directory with the information on their online directory. The two directories can work together seamlessly and symbiotically, with updated member information published in print also being used online. What’s more, the printed directory can also be used to promote an association’s online directory, for instance with front page banners, house advertisements, and other editorial content.

  • Promoting the benefits of membership: Associations can use the front section of the member directory to remind their members in detail of all the benefits of membership, and how members can get more value out of their association.

  • Influencing government, regulators and other key stakeholders: Use the directory as a tool to drive the association’s cause by distributing it to key stakeholders, particularly in government and regulators. The directory can include agenda-setting editorial articles, such as “state of the nation” opinion pieces by leading industry figures, ‘positioning papers’ on regulatory issues, and critical industry data that promote the association’s “cause”.

  • Recruit new members – and renew more of the existing ones. Drive up your membership revenues by using the directory as a member recruitment and renewal tool. Companies are more likely join, or stay with, an association when they see that it is proactively – and very visibly - promoting its members to their target market by mailing it to all their customers, and (once the pandemic is over) handing it out to their target market at in-person events.

  • A new stream of revenue for the association. Last, but not least, if a printed members directory is managed optimally to balance the commercial needs of members and the association – it can also provide a new and growing stream of net revenue for the association, even after taking account of the costs of association staff time, production and distribution.

As non-profit “business community makers and shapers”, associations have huge cachet and power. And so does printed media. Put the two together, and associations have a winning formula.

Highly Covid-secure member directories are not only a win-win for members who have another tool to use to help them to reach out to customers and partners in ways that no other media can. They are also a win-win for associations who have a powerful new communications tool – more often than not at zero cost, or even profit, to themselves.

This article was published in Boardroom magazine.

Rupert Darrington, chairman, Klarents Media

Beating Covid – getting exhibitors’ brands into the hands of their customers

3 August 2020

The global exhibitions industry is facing its greatest ever challenge – how to persuade visitors, exhibitors and governments that it is now safe for people to travel and attend business events.

The UFI-sponsored ‘Global framework for reopening exhibitions and B2B trade events post the emergence from COVID-19’, and its “Good Practice Guidance  - Addressing Covid-19 requirements for re-opening business events”, supported by all the major global organisers, is already making great headway in persuading governments and local authorities around the world to allow the reopening of venues.

At the time of writing, most of Europe, and parts of North America, Asia and Australasia, have given a cautious go-ahead to restarting trade exhibitions.

But an existential threat to trade shows remains – the continuing fear of the coronavirus among huge swathes of the population, even in those countries where deaths from the virus are now zero – or close to zero. In the UK for example, the death rate continues to fall, and is currently less than one per million per day, which is significantly less than the average daily death rate for seasonal flu every winter. Yet a recent survey showed that 88% of office workers said they are still not comfortable about commuting to work on public transport. There are similar levels of fear across most other developed countries. And significantly, professional people appear to be more fearful of the virus than ‘blue collar’ workers. For ‘professional people’ read prospective exhibition visitors considering whether to attend an event.

UFI’s best practice standard for trade exhibitions includes creating more distance between booths and wider aisles, extra physical distancing between delegates at seminars and conference sessions, extra cleaning and sanitising of the venue, and limiting the number of visitors in the exhibition hall at any one time.

Clearly, the “new normal” for Covid-secure exhibitions comes with a large price tag for organisers and venues, and therefore ultimately for exhibitors too.

But with change – as always – also come opportunities.

An important, and obvious, part of UFI’s guidance, is that exhibitors should be encouraged (or told) not to hand out promotional materials such as brochures, leaflets and branded products from their stand. Moreover, even if they do, many visitors are unlikely to want to accept them anyway.

Yet it is a fact that branded physical products and printed communications are a hugely powerful weapon in the armoury of exhibitors seeking to maximise the return on their investment in live events.

So how can show organisers help their exhibitors to still get their brand – quite literally – into the hands of their customers securely and safely – not just at the show itself, but also for months and years into the future?

The answer lies in that most Covid-secure communications tool of all – a marketing medium that continues to see growing support by exhibitors – the organiser’s own printed exhibition guide.

Despite the common perception, average spend by exhibitors on advertising in printed show guides has been increasing over the least few years, not falling. As a specialist provider of event media for exhibition organisers – working for global organisers like Reed, Informa, dmg events, and Tarsus – my company tracks like-for-like average spend per exhibitor in a consistent, like-for-like way across a huge range of markets and multiple geographies.

And, surprisingly perhaps, the average increase in investment by exhibitors in show guides has actually accelerated in recent months, despite (or perhaps because of?) the massive economic fallout from lockdowns imposed around the world. Counter-intuitive, but true.

The “customer is always right” as it is often said in the hospitality trade.  The same also holds true in the exhibitions business. Exhibitors actively use printed show guides and other printed products (such as branded promotional merchandise) at face-to-face events, because these media help them to stand out from their competitors and cement new customer relationships that will propel the growth of their businesses for years into the future.

Exhibitors demonstrate their support for show guides in the most tangible way possible – with real hard cash.

That is why I believe it is so important for exhibition organisers to ensure their exhibitors have the best of all worlds by delivering to them the perfect trifecta of event marketing media – digital, face-to-face, and printed communications.

The printed show guide can be the perfect Covid-secure exhibitor marketing vehicle – printed on paper using anti-microbial coatings (shown to be a highly effective barrier to the spread of the coronavirus), packed into boxes several days in advance of the event to ensure there is no risk of transmission of the virus from the printing environment, and distributed to show visitors untouched by other human hands.

Even better, show guides nowadays can be produced in a way that is sustainable and environmentally friendly – using paper that is sourced sustainably managed forests, printed with natural vegetable inks, and in a way that leaves zero carbon footprint.

And the icing on the cake for the event organiser is that, if the show guide is managed well – and consistently promoted in an optimal way to exhibitors and visitors – it can be developed into a significant additional stream of net revenue.

A true win-win for exhibitors, visitors, and organisers.

The above article was published in Exhibition World.

Rupert Darrington, chairman, Klarents Media