Exhibition Industry Advocacy: Months Later – What Now?

October 8, 2020

Arlene Shows

Arlene Shows (yes – that’s her real last name!) is the Marketing Director for TSNN & TSNN Awards and a passionate networker in the events industry.

For the past few months, Go LIVE Together has been a primary voice advocating on behalf of the trade show industry, which has been profoundly impacted by COVID-19. #WeMakeEvents and #GoRedforEvents are other events industry efforts that have tried to garner some local and national attention. Many of us now are wondering what we can do to drum up even more publicity in mainstream media.

This time-pressing need for advocacy led #Expochat-seasoned moderator, Stephanie Selesnick, president of International Trade Information, and special guests Amie Cangelosi of mdg agency and Leah Mendes with Freeman to tackle this issue in our weekly Twitter discussion on Sept. 30. We needed to discuss what all of us, collectively and individually, can do right now to promote our industry, as we can’t leave this solely to the industry associations.

Here are a few key takeaways from the chat:

  • Freeman helped found #GoLIVEtogether in April because we recognized a need when the CARES Act was introduced and did not address the scale of impact to the events industry. We wanted to unite event leaders, and GLT now has more than 2,500 members from 1,500 organizations.
  • #GoLIVETogether is a coalition that advocates for the protection of the business events industry. Our mission is to support legislative actions that will aid our industry’s recovery from COVID-19, focusing on health and safety, impact and legislation.
  • One important step for @golivetogether was to bring on a lobbying firm “inside the beltway” to get the coalition further faster. They’ve coordinated meetings with over two dozen members of Congress and helped draft language for the GLT’s Business Events Recovery Act”
  • #Legislators are most interested to learn about how many #smallbusinesses are in our industry and how they’ve been impacted. Ninety-nine percent of #businessevents companies have less than 500 employees and 80 percent of the 1.7 million companies that exhibit each year are small businesses.
  • Countries that understand that we can and will build the meeting places and market places for all industries and sectors are the ones that will be successful in realizing we can do it safely.
  • Got a story of how your business has been impacted? (Everyone does!) Record a video (it can be quick and easy, nothing fancy) and send to @golivetogether today!
  • Think global – act local. We need national decisions like “separating trade shows from mass gatherings,” then work with local authorities in implementing #covid19 frameworks.
  • There are lobbying efforts going on, but it’s hard to get attention when so MANY industries – hotel, travel, airline, restaurant – are in trouble. The events industry impacts ALL of those positively! It's all about creating awareness. Maybe we should all initiate a “take action” day?
  • Writing an op-ed to your #localmedia is a great way to capture the attention of your #legislators. Here’s an example of a great article that David Audrain wrote from GLT’s Operating Committee that was shared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  • When they launched the German #lightitinred, it made the prime time evening news, plus created front page newspaper coverage – this shows the power of symbols and standing united.

We all have a responsibility to support the industry that signs our paychecks, so get out there and make your voices heard!

View the entire recap HERE and gain direct access to all the shared resources. Learn more about our weekly industry #Expochat and view all previous discussion recaps HERE. Add YOUR thoughts and advocacy ideas to the lively LinkedIn discussion HERE.

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