Wetpaint Advertising was honoured to play a part in bringing South Africa the inaugural Metals and Engineering Indaba (MEIndaba) on 28 and 29 May 2015 at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg. The MEIndaba was the first of its magnitude in the history of the sector. It was the brain child of the Steel and Engineering Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) and the ground-breaking conference was held against a backdrop of mounting labour challenges, a shrinking economy and an uncertain electricity supply situation. The two day event brought together experienced industry business owners, business leaders and executives, entrepreneurs, policy and decision makers as well as investors all into one room. The event came at a time when government had identified the manufacturing sector as a key driver of economic growth in the National Development Plan and a platform for job creation.
As a team we were excited to be involved in such a prestigious conference and took utmost pride in how to go about setting it up. The first priority was that of creating, designing and developing a functioning website specifically for the MEIndaba. Our creative design team had no problem in envisioning a wonderfully themed concept for the website and overarching campaign in general. After many a brainstorm we were able to outline a prominent concept of Engage, Innovate, Contribute and Sustain as the messaging for the Indaba. It was about giving delegates a unique platform to engage policy makers, familiarise with industry-relevant technological innovation and contribute to the growth of a vibrant sector. It gave the industry a much needed impetus to overcome current challenges and pave the way for sustainable growth. By utilising the colours of the South African flag and a bold type face we were able to start spreading that message into all the elements of the campaign. From pull-up banners, the conference and exhibition venue design and setup, stage design, emailers and all other materials to all forms of advertising, the MEIndaba had taken on its identity.
The website was the foundation of which we were able to start promoting the event. By creating a registration portal on the site it made it easier to direct the many categories of different individuals from media, exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and delegates who would be attending and then process their registration.
The Wetpaint PR team worked relentlessly to get a host of sponsors and media partners on board with the Indaba. Without these sponsors it would have been impossible to ensure its success. With big names such as MEIBC, MerSETA, Arcelor Mittal, PRASA, Transman, Standard Bank, SPHERE Holdings, and MacSteel as proud sponsors the event soon started to take its shape. Media partners such as Engineering News
, SA Mechanical Engineer
, Business Report
, Saturday Star
, The Star
and ABN helped create a heightened hype and anticipation for the Indaba in the months leading up to the event. This was achieved through 11 press releases written up by Wetpaint and SEIFSA and sent to the various publications with a combined reach of 117,054 thousand people. Wetpaint also gathered a database of 21,138 thousand potential delegates and sent six emailers to them over the months before the event. This PR strategy was only the tip of the iceberg.
Focusing on traditional forms of advertising, Wetpaint encouraged the use of print, radio and outdoor mediums to promote the event. By approaching various print publications with a total readership of 2,394,295 million people there were different advertorials inserted over the weeks before the event.
Wetpaint wrote the script for radio adverts that ran over 20 days on Power FM, 702 and SA FM with a total listener reach of 3,971,423 million. With the advancements in technology Outdoor advertising has taken on a digital form. We created the design for the MEIndaba advert, which appeared 4,600 times on digital billboards around three key locations in Johannesburg for 10 days.
Moving away from traditional to the online realm, it is here where most of our efforts to promote the event took place. There were a total of 43 banner ads placed over the following online publications in order to generate increased registrations. CNBC Africa, Engineering News, Mining Weekly, Business Day, Financial Mail and LinkedIn were among those publications and helped achieve 3,906,142 million impressions with 11,178 thousand clicks. The now created website for the MEIndaba was also successful in generating registrations and increased awareness. There were 5,764 thousand unique views to the website, over 7,500 impressions, around 15,644 page views and a total of 189 registered delegates. By utilising the use of social media, specifically Twitter, Wetpaint created this page as an alternative means to promote the event. It was also undertaken by Wetpaint and their social media manager to live tweet the event as it happened. The success of this can be seen through the figures. Twitter adverts that were targeted to specific audiences had 274,204 thousand impressions with over 2,484 engagements. The page itself performed at exceptional rates by acquiring 570 followers in a short space of time, over 3,300 profile visits, with 386 tweets having 331,400 thousand impressions.
It is to be noted that all sponsors of the event had their logos placed on all advertising mediums and we are proud to say that each sponsor made the right choice as their total audience reach for the entire campaign was just below 11 million people.
Our previous Production Manager, Evandrie Ellary, worked magic in organising the exhibition and conference set up at Emperors Palace for the event. It exceeded both our own and the client's expectations. We were charged firstly with creating 45 pull-up banners, 10 hanging banners and two wall banners that were placed throughout the conference area during the event. She was also tasked with managing, coordinating and helping exhibitors set up for the conference. At the beginning of the planning stage we had decided that by incorporating an exhibition area separate from the conference area we would be able to encourage more participation and engagement. We were right. The exhibition area was the gateway for all delegates and speakers to engage within discussion and it also gave exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their products and services. The actual panel discussions took place in two separate venues within Emperors Palace. This made it hard to coordinate proceedings but we were able to pull it off without any hitches. The stages, seating setup and lightning were also top priorities and needed to be stimulating for the delegates. It also needed to be comfortable for speakers from all parts of the industry.
We were also in charge of creating goodie bags for all registered delegates who received them upon entering the venue. These were filled with sponsors collateral as well as a marketing brochure created by us.
This was the amount of work the Wetpaint team poured into the MEIndaba over a couple of months but our work was not over yet. During the event itself we headed up the registration process on both mornings as well providing the pre and post videos for the Indaba. Follow the link to see them for yourself: Pre Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQIUGd7t6R0
or Post Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhmBuZJa5Dw
As mentioned previously Wetpaint's social media manager spent two days live tweeting the event. This way we were able to encourage live interaction and engagement from those who could not attend. It was also an opportunity to engage with the many distinguished speakers and companies present.
SEIFSA has been a privilege to work with and the MEIndaba 2015 was a first of many to come for Wetpaint. We relished in the challenges, provided well beyond what was expected and in the end produced a very successful conference. It was a truly integrated campaign, something we are passionate about in providing our clients with. This success can only be measured by the already waiting registrations for next year. If you would like to be a part of change and contribute to the mining and engineering sectors visit http://www.meindaba.co.za/
for more information.