“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds,” said Lloyd’s List editor Richard Meade in his post-Posidonia round up. This certainly typifies the sentiment in the shipping industry right now. But of course it didn’t originally come from Meade, he was merely quoting Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis.
The reason for the popularity of this statement is not only because it reaffirms that our industry is constantly changing, it also resonates with us because we know it rings true. As every PR professional will tell you, repetition is reinforcement, and a message like this that enters the public consciousness is what every organisation should aspire to craft. Not necessarily an inspirational soundbite like this one that has passed down through the ages, but something true, memorable, thought provoking, and – if appropriate – maybe even a little bit controversial!
Posidonia is one of many landmark shipping events that is attended by people and organisations from right across the industry spectrum. Large and small, these gatherings provide a meeting point for shipping’s leading players and enable commentators to take the temperature of the industry. Opinions, ideas, predictions and grievances are all actively sought and shared. And networks, contacts and relationships are always essential, not least in the Greek market.
In an inherently global industry, events such as Posidonia create a platform for nurturing relationships, making new contacts, and sharing your organisation’s story. But this year’s Posidonia was the biggest yet, with over 1,800 exhibitors from 90 countries and over 22,000 delegates from around the globe. To cut through the noise and directly support your business objectives, your organisation needs to be very clear about who it wants to talk to and what it wants to say. As convivial an event as Posidonia is, with budgets being slashed to navigate today’s torrid economic waters, there still has to be a commercially smart justification for investing the time and money in attending and exhibiting at industry events such as Posidonia and SMM. And this makes a strategic approach to marketing and communications more critical than ever to achieving a compelling return on investment (ROI).
We’re bombarded by numerous and often conflicting messages, every minute of every day. Information overload is an unavoidable evil in today’s world, and events such as Posidonia only serve to amplify this, as hundreds of organisations vie for attention and jostle for column inches. The ability to clearly, concisely and consistently articulate your message to the market is essential if you want to avoid being lost in the melee.
As we look forward to SMM in Hamburg this September, there’s still plenty of time to prepare and create an impactful communications strategy with compelling and impactful messaging that will engage customers, prospects, journalists, and the broader market alike. And although your message may not be recorded in the annals of time, like Aristotle Onassis, it could well be there in the online archives of Lloyd’s List!