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NAIAS – the North American International Auto Show in Detroit (in its 30th year as an international event) – and its technology showcase – AutoMobili-D – open up to some 5,000+ press people and thousands of auto industry insiders next Sunday.
Bigger than ever, this key auto industry event can be overwhelming to the first-time supplier PR attendee. Have no fear. Our team of automotive supplier PR professionals, who have worked NAIAS Preview Week for multiple clients over the past 20 years, offer these tips:
1. Plan to arrive early. Construction, detours, traffic jams, full parking lots, snowfall (it invariably snows this week!) and other snafus will likely delay your arrival at Cobo Center. Plan accordingly.
3. Know where the Michelin Media Center is – in Cobo Center’s Grand Riverview Ballroom, close to the show’s main floor. DON’T crash the media’s sanctuary … but do walk-bys to catch up with any reporters you may have missed or to snag an extra interview or two.
4. Consider the media’s point of view. Reporters are slammed and overwhelmed, so anything you can do to make the show a little more comfortable or pleasant will be appreciated.
5. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and keep moving. Standing in one spot not only hurts your feet and back, it also hurts your chances of bumping into reporters or other important contacts.
6. Bring hand sanitizer, comfortable shoes, eye drops, Advil and Airborne, and, most importantly, pace yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
7. Know your key messages and pitch points, and take advantage of any opportunities you have to interact with reporters – but don’t be too pushy. Make the conversation about THEM first.
8. Have realistic expectations and know the press conference schedule.
Most of the reporters are there to talk with the national newsmakers – that is, the automakers. With numerous vehicle introductions and a full schedule of press conferences occurring every 25 minutes, most media just can’t spare more than a few minutes to talk to suppliers during the first day and a half … even if they want to.
9. Remember that this is an automaker show, so let the automakers be the stars. You don’t want to rain on your OEM customers’ parade, but you can expand upon or add color to their stories.
10. Socialize it! Go beyond your own social media properties. The show’s hashtags are: #NAIAS and #NAIAS2018. Follow the official show Twitter feed @NAIASDetroit. Here’s the show’s Facebook page.
11. Expect the unexpected. Murphy’s Law – Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong – will prevail, so be flexible and ready to switch to Plan B.
12. Keep smiling and make it fun. The pay is the same so you might as well enjoy it!