Exhibition News September 2018 - Page 45

A new challenge S ome ideas take time to come together, and others come in a flash of inspiration. An exhibitor at Natural & Organic Products Europe, a trade event organised by Diversified Communications, approached MD Carsten Holm with a proposition. “He said, ‘The time has come to do something consumer-facing and you are the right people to do it. I would like you to do a consumer show’,” Holm tells EN. “We were going to an awards dinner and I talked to the team in the taxi and said, “Look, I’ve just been talking to this guy and I think there’s something in it. It can’t be a traditional consumer show, it’s got to be different, it’s got to be awesome, it’s got to be more like a festival to make this work.” By the end of that ten-minute taxi journey the event had a name – Go Organic – and the very next day the organiser had signed up to a venue: Battersea Evolution. “It was all a bit crazy and completely unplanned,” laughs Holm. “Suddenly we were there, we’d done it, and it was like holy –, what do we do now?” Luckily, Go Organic may be Diversified’s first foray into the consumer market but the company’s range of trade events places it centrally in the natural and organic food market. In addition to Natural & Organic Products Europe the organiser also runs Natural Products Scandinavia, the Nordic Organic Food Fair, lunch!, Casual Dining and kitchen equipment and design event Commercial Kitchen. “I don’t think we’re that kind of business, but yet suddenly we found ourselves in the consumer market trying to do something good for the public, and which is also there to try and grow the market generally,” continues Holm. “The sector is very important to us and if we can have our trade events and a consumer facing event as well, it will support our position in the market and we’re giving back to some extent, we’re giving back to our exhibitors who supported us over the years.” “It was all a bit crazy and completely unplanned” In terms of what Go Organic will look like on the day, similar to many consumer shows the word ‘festival’ has achieved a heightened significance. Alongside stands with organic food, drink and product suppliers, there will be experiential elements, brand activations and those all-important musical acts. Plus, the show will provide a different outlet for the companies used to exhibiting at Diversified’s trade events. “While it’s a consumer event it definitely has a trade side to it” explains Holm, “A lot of the tradespeople exhibiting at Natural Products would be here because they PREVIEW Diversified Communications MD Carsten Holm on moving into the consumer space with new launch Go Organic want to meet the consumer. They can sell directly to the consumer and listen to them about what they think about the products, etc. so that’s of value. But also there will also be a lot of trade there. “Exhibitors want to bring big buyers to the event from supermarkets etc. They see this as a more appropriate way to launch the brand to the trade than something like Natural Products, which is a traditional trade show. This is much cooler and funkier so they’re using it as both as a trade and consumer launch.” One noticeable difference between organising a trade and consumer event is in the marketing, and this has been a learning curve for the organiser. “It’s that old cliché,” say Holm.”50 per cent of your marketing budget works and 50 per cent doesn’t work but unfortunately you don’t know which 50 per cent. I think particularly at this point we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing, but we’re throwing it out there. We’re trying to do everything, some will be successful and some won’t. It’s a very different marketing mix to what we normally do.” As with every launch, the proof will be in the pudding (baked with organic ingredients, naturally). Go Organic will arrive at Battersea Evolution on 8-9 September, using the venue’s mix of indoor and outdoor space to its fullest. “Although the world of show launches is never certain, we’re sure that many organisers launching in the consumer space would covet the pre-existing market relationship that Diversified has cultivated in the world of organic products. exhibitionnews.co.uk | September 2018 45