Guest blogger: Angela Herberholz, UFI Marketing and Communications Manager
What do the EURO2016 and the GED16 have in common?
The EURO 2016 kicked off in June shortly after the first ever Global Exhibitions Day (GED16), and both had the same effect on me! I must confess that I’m a big soccer fan, especially when there is competition across borders like the EURO or the World Cup. The month before the competitions are always filled with a thrill of anticipation and during the tournament, the air is filled with positive energy, with everyone hoping that their team will win. Global Exhibitions Day (GED) triggered the same reaction!
When GED16 was set in motion, I would never have guessed that the impact would be so enormous, and so positive! In January 2016, UFI decided to join forces with its global network of associations to make GED16 happen, and everyone involved has worked extremely hard to get the initiative in motion. GED16 was a viral success; it was celebrated around the world. GED16 has proven that it takes a united industry, with combined forces, shared an interest and the same passion to make an event truly global! Isn’t it amazing what we can achieve together! Personally, sharing my passion for the industry with thousands of professionals around the world gave me the same feeling (or almost) that I have when sitting in a packed stadium ready to cheer for my soccer team. For the past months, I was all in to cheer for my industry, our industry, the exhibition industry.
At UFI I had the pleasure of initiating and managing global communications for GED16, and most of my time was spent behind the computer or smartphone aiming to motivate as many associations, companies, universities and individuals as possible. And of course making sure that everyone was being heard globally! The engagement was overwhelming, and my motivation to make this unforgettable day rose with every selfie that was posted, every video that was shared on www.ufi.tv, with every interview that was given, and media reports that were published. One video especially swept me off my feet: the GED16 Motorcycle Tour. This documentation showed the highlights of the roadshow. Seeing dozens of bikes crossing Russia with large GED16 flags attached to their bikes was just brilliant. The roadshow may not have educated anyone on how many exhibitions are being held globally every year, nor on the size of our industry’s economic impact, but it surely raised awareness across Russia and beyond.
So what was my personal experience of 8 June? I spent half of the day behind my desk following and enhancing the buzz GED16 created in our online community. The GED Facebook Group shared a new post from GED16 supporters nearly every minute, on Twitter #GED16 was used close to 5000 times and my inbox exploded with news articles, media releases, pictures and more.
In the afternoon, together with two UFI colleagues, I joined a Global Exhibitions Run organised by UNIMEV, the French meeting industry council, to celebrate GED16. Arriving the at the VIParis site, and witnessing the shared excitement of some 200 runners supporting our industry, made me feel very happy to be there. It was almost like arriving at your “surprise” birthday party: you have an idea what is going to happen because these parties never remain secret, but you would have never imagined the outcome to be so astonishing. Isn’t that the same feeling we would like to offer our visitors when entering our exhibition halls? Sharing this day with the online community was rewarding and running alongside so many motivated professionals all supporting GED16 was a whole new level. Yes, we work in and for a face-to-face industry, and here once again I was reminded of just how important the face-to-face experience is!
GED16 mobilised thousands of industry professionals in over 60 countries and offered insight into the diverse and extraordinary working place that the exhibition industry is. I’ve always been a big fan of our industry, and I’ve really enjoyed working in it, but on 8 June I also felt proud to be part of it. For anyone still wondering where to pursue a career, join our team “The Exhibition Industry.”
I believe that the EURO 2016 and the GED16 alike unite people, create a positive energy and make us feel proud of who we are and what we do!
I can’t wait for 7 June 2017, when Global Exhibitions Day will be celebrated again. And in the meantime, I’ll keep on cheering during the EURO 2016.