Sailing over many obstacles

Short lead time, numerous late requests and changes, an impending storm and multiple division heads are part and parcel of Taiwan Expo 2018.

Event brief
Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), Taiwan’s foremost trade promotion organisation, wanted to organise the first Taiwan Expo 2018 in New Delhi, India where it would showcase Taiwan’s latest technologies, eco-friendly products and industrial prowess through eight themed pavilions along with eight specialised industry exhibition areas focusing on green products, smart cities, healthcare, tourism, food processing machinery, textiles, automobiles, sports, agriculture, ICT products, Mandarin education and business service. Some 130 vendors from Taiwan were handpicked to exhibit at the event.

As the event was the first TAITRA venture of its kind in India and was meant to be a crucial catalyst for economic and trade cooperation between India and Taiwan, success of the event was a must.

India-based TIC Events Group was engaged as the event manager. It had to ensure high footfall of relevant business visitors at the event, as well as create awareness of Taiwan’s economy and trade potential for various business segments in India.

Challenges
The biggest challenge for TIC Events Group was the short lead time between the planning and delivery stages.

“Closure of the project happened very late, so we had only a month to make the expo a success. Numerous last minute changes and new requirements were a challenge,” recalled Ritika Sharma, brand custodian.

The second challenge was unforeseen – a storm alert in Delhi. Sharma said many attendees from other parts of India considered cancelling their travel to Delhi as a result, while the marketing team had to rethink its plans for the outdoor hoardings.
The third challenge was a last minute notification that some renowned cricket players would visit the expo as part of a promotional activity, and that required security detail that followed protocol.

Summing up, Sharma said: “TAITRA also has multiple divisions headed by different individuals and we had to service each of them individually to help make the event a success.”

Solution
To execute the event in a short span of time, multiple teams of skilled professionals were pulled into the project and additional staff was hired within a week. As a result, TIC Events Group formed a team of more than 100 people to work on the month-long project. Full-time and temporary staff worked in tandem day and night.

“We also had a meeting every end of the day to gauge the progress being made in the execution of the event,” said Sharma.

To achieve strong awareness of the event and the exhibitors, a PR agency was hired to focus on creating coverage that highlighted the diverse business verticals at Taiwan Expo 2018. That effort resulted in a number of interviews with a TAITRA’s spokesperson in trade journals and mainstream media during the run up to the event.

“We also focused on outdoor advertising at key locations like Indira Gandhi International Airport,” shared Sharma.

E-mailers on business opportunities available at the event were also sent to a database of Indian companies.

To assure participants worried about the storm, TIC Events Group shared regular weather updates with them and created extra hoardings as back-up for outdoor advertising materials. The team also shifted its marketing focus to the Delhi New Capital Region to ensure strong local participation.

“The event recorded more than 6,000 visitors,” she added.
To support the visiting celebrity cricket players, a security company was hired.
Lastly, to ensure attention was given to the multiple divisions at TAITRA and that the various division heads were kept abreast of progress, TIC Events Group assigned a team leader to manage communications with each division.

Key takeaways
According to Sharma, manpower investment and a comprehensive media plan were critical contributions to the success of Taiwan Expo 2018.

Event: Taiwan Expo 2018, New Delhi
Organiser: TAITRA
Event manager: TIC Events Group
Destination: New Delhi
Date: May 17 to 19, 2018
Number of participants: 30 exhibitors and more than 6,000 visitors

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