The London International Music Show (LIMS) is a new concept event that was launched in 2008.
The exhibition comprises of four shows under one roof and presented over 300 of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers and distributors.
The most recent show in June included the hugely successful Drummer Live and London Guitar Show and introduced the brand new Unplugged and Sound Recording Technology.
With a strong emphasis on education, the show aimed to inspire the future talent of the industry with demonstrations, seminars, workshops, tuition and live performances, helping to guide teachers and students alike through the music industry maze.
Visitors had the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument regardless of age of ability, and feel inspired by performances from some of the industry’s most influential musicians, including Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith, Joe Satriani and Led Zeppelin’s Jason Bonham.
In order to reach the difficult youth market, Midnight put together a carefully constructed social media campaign which generated 140 positive pieces of coverage smashing all client targets, achieving extremely high key message penetration and exceeding the number of target visitors.
Engaging with the youth market and wider musical community can be notoriously difficult.
June marked the start of the ‘festival season’ which meant that LIMS had to compete in a crowded market to attract the same audience demographic. As an unknown brand, it faced the task of establishing LIMS as the place to be by building brand loyalty, attracting the right mix of students, industry executives and music fans, and present the show as fresh, vital and ‘on trend’.
LIMS faced these challenges by crafting a campaign which utilised a complementary mix of social media platforms.
The main objective of the show was to attract 20,000 people to LIMS. More than 23,000 attended the four day show at ExCeL London.
The show also aims to attract a youth and music audience whilst identifying new broader audiences and securing high profile coverage across a broad spectrum of media sectors, particularly social, national and online platforms.
The first task was to develop a Socioscope, a bespoke strategic planning tool, developed in-house by Midnight, to map out the networks in which the LIMS target audience operates - both on and offline - in blogs, groups, communities, forums, informal network groups, journalists etc. This showed how the target audience was consuming media and helped us develop the new media strategy to engage them.
It is well known that MySpace is an important resource for the music community and this is complemented by Facebook. Midnight set up pages on both for LIMS and allocated resource to populate the sites, inviting musicians and bands to become ‘friends’.
Blogs were researched and monitored to identify the key media influencers and decide how best to engage with them. All key bloggers received a personalised invitation to become a ‘friend’ of the show and attend the exhibition.
A constant flow of stories with in-built PR hooks was planned, such as the benefits of learning a musical instrument, VIP speakers and appearances by international musicians. Each story would be issued to traditional media and optimised for online and social media platforms such as blogs, news bulletins, twitter feeds and email alerts, encouraging inward links to the web site and boosting search engine rankings.
An online Guitar Idol competition was held, whereby visitors could submit a video of them playing a guitar on line. The winner would open the show for Joe Satriani - universally acknowledged as the world’s greatest living guitarist. We factored this into our planning and actively featured the story on our blog and via our news feeds.
From the outset, Midnight worked in close partnership with the show organisers and a team of experts, including ex-BBC head of special content and programming, to develop media assets that would engage audiences across multiple platforms – on air, on paper and online.
Traditional off line activities were underpinned by a structured online and social media campaign, ensuring that bloggers, industry influencers and journalists were engaged from the outset and opportunities to expand media reach were optimised.
Midnight utilised social communities as ‘virtual focus groups’ by listening to comments and entering into an open dialogue with a range of audiences. Information regarding new product launches, special show offers etc were issued frequently to online ‘friends’ of the show using ‘Bulletins’ thereby creating a growing sense of excitement and a feeling that one was taking part in an evolving event.
A dedicated member of the team was assigned as the ‘show blogger’ to quickly draft stories as they happened, celebrity sightings for example, as well as taking photos and uploading to the site.
The Twitter newsfeed service (whereby one can let people know what you are up to in less than 140 characters) was also used to provide all ‘friends’ of the show with regular news and updates about new performers and exhibitors attending.
In place of the old time ‘show daily’, a series of podcasts were recorded at the show and issued to the full range of media. The official show blog was linked to all news feeds during and after the event.
Online and social media coverage accounted for 42 per cent of the total reflecting the general trend towards news and information via the internet. Key message penetration was 80 per cent – meaning most pieces of coverage carried at least one of the four messages stipulated.
Over 163 pieces of coverage was secured, resulting in an AEV of over £668,160 and an ROI of 3,341 per cent. Highlight coverage included: Stuff.tv (podcast), The Guardian (print and podcast) and Musik (music blog) and a feature BBC Online – the most popular news website in the UK, averaging around 15 million visitors per month.
Many ‘friends’ left positive messages on the community notice boards which helped generate further excitement and build campaign momentum. For example: “Looking forward to a great day”, “Lovin’ the Satch vid,” and “I want to say how much I enjoyed LIMS … I went on Friday and then again on Saturday. I met loads of interesting people and heard some very good music.”
A number of key media influencers and bloggers attended the event and wrote follow up stories, supported, by photography, videos and podcasts.
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