In between all of the writing, researching, planning, organising, and flying to and from meetings, working in PR presents various opportunities to get on the road to attend different industry and client events.
Early October saw me head to my first industry event – UK Construction Week (UKCW), the country’s largest trade event for the built environment. On first impression, the scale of the event was quite overwhelming. Consisting of nine shows and uniting more than 650 exhibitors all under one roof, the event covered every facet of the interconnecting construction industry. There really couldn’t have been a more relevant space for me to see and learn about the latest array of innovations in the industry! And to get a better understanding of the sheer extent of the construction sector.
The atmosphere was lively and the stands were busy. Our client, British Gypsum, was exhibiting over the three days and this presented a good opportunity for me to meet some of the team including the company’s Plasterer Demonstrators that I had previously only communicated with via email, and to also learn more about some of the products first-hand. I spent much of my day hovering to and from the British Gypsum stand taking pictures and posting live on social media – the first time I was given the responsibility for live updates on one of our client’s social media channels.
A key attraction for me at UKCW was the sheer range of seminars and fully accredited CPD programmes that they had on offer. Talks surrounded the important issues that are currently facing the building industry, providing insight from a host of leaders and industry experts. I attended a CPD session on the Design and Installation of Light Gauge Steel Infill Framing which I found particularly beneficial to aid me with the work that we do from a Hadley Group perspective, another of our clients. Hosted by the Finishes & Interiors Sector (FIS) and The Steel Construction Institute (SCI), the hour-long talk provided advice and guidance on the design and installation of light steel external wall systems before introducing their latest SCI/FIS guide which will be published at the end of the year. It gave me some great ideas for developing content for feature articles and social media posts for Hadley Group.
A week later and I was on the road again, this time to attend the British Gypsum “Driver of the Year” final, an annual event that takes place at Palletforce’s superhub in Burton-upon-Trent. It was nice to be able to experience a different side to British Gypsum, particularly as the drivers and fleet are such an asset to the company. The day saw 10 finalists from across British Gypsum’s sites battle it out in a series of practical and theoretical challenges, including driving assessments and manoeuvring tasks.
I saw the entire PR process for the event through from start to finish, from writing and co-ordinating the press release with the various parties, organising the photography and then heading down to site on the day to facilitate the live social media feeds. I was a little nervous being the sole company representative attending, but there was no need to be. I was surprised as to how laid back, friendly and helpful everyone was, and it ended up being a really enjoyable day away from the desk – there was even a remote control LGV area, to allow spectators to gain an understanding of the some of the challenges that drivers face on the road. The aim was to try and navigate the vehicle around the test track, picking up and dropping blocks along the way – it turns out, driving remote control cars probably isn’t my forte!
I think it is important for us to get out and about to support both industry and client events. Not only do they allow you the opportunity to build relationships with the client, but they often provide the best place to learn something new, to get inspired and to network with like-minded industry professionals.