The International Association of Exhibitions and Events is launching a public relations campaign to promote the value of exhibitions and has tapped Edelman Public Relations as its public relations agency.

The three-year campaign is supported and funded by more than 70 organizations, including destination marketing organizations, associations, and meetings industry companies. It will officially be launched at IAEEs annual meeting, Expo Expo, December 6–8 in Las Vegas. IAEE’s Public Relations Task Force will oversee the project.

The initiative’s aim is to strengthen and enhance the exhibition industry’s reputation as a preeminent medium for conducting business and bringing buyers and sellers together around the world. “The exhibition industry remains the most resilient business-to-business marketing and communications channel despite the challenges brought about by the most serious recession in the nation's history,” says IAEE Chairman Vinnie Polito, president, VP International, a Westport, Conn.–based event management company. “I am extraordinarily pleased that the Public Relations Task Force has selected Edelman to tell our story to make a positive and enduring impact in the global marketplace.”

The task force will develop the core messages to promote the value of face-to-face marketing through media messaging. It will focus on the following:

  • Leverage strengths of face-to-face opportunities
  • Promote the ongoing relevance of events
  • Increase the favorable impression of events
  • Compile real stories about the power and uniqueness of trade shows
  • Differentiate trade shows from other forms of engagement
  • Craft a succinct, compelling, and relevant message
  • Leverage new media and digital opportunities to expand reach and build online buzz.
“On behalf of the SISO Board of Directors, we are excited and very pleased to support the public relations initiative that will increase awareness and understanding about the exhibitions and events industry as well as foster an understanding as to why trade shows are unsurpassed as the vital medium in bringing buyers and sellers together to do business,” said Lew Shomer, executive director, Society of Independent Show Organizers, one of the funding organizations.

In related news, 27 exhibition industry leaders from 16 different associations convened in October at the Irving (Texas) Convention Center for the first-ever Exhibition Industry Summit.

Organized by IAEE, SISO, and the Exhibition Services and Contractors Association, the summit was developed to bring volunteer leaders of key industry organizations together to discuss and collaborate on important industry issues. In the first meeting, the group identified several initiatives to pursue, including developing industry standards and exploring ways to advocate on behalf of the industry.

For more information on the summit, including a list of attendees, go to IAEE’s Web site.