Providing a truly engaging experience and thought leadership while broadening the horizons of tradeshows and other events is the aim of a new, free service called the Freeman Speakers Bureau offered by the Freeman Corp.
“The Speakers Bureau is really a derivative of a bigger platform, which is all around our thought leadership,” said Toby Purdy, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Freeman. “We
have a duty to provide thought leadership that is broad-based in nature. The Speakers Bureau is another medium we use to get out our thought leadership.”
First announced last fall, the Freeman Speakers Bureau provides “solutionists” to help event organizers better engage their tradeshow attendees and other audiences. The program builds upon similar ones in use by Freeman and other companies considered to be thought-leaders in their respective fields, such as Dell. The bureau provides various subject-matter experts who share insights regarding industry trends and best practices to enhance the experience of show organizers, corporate customers, exhibitors and attendees.
“Our speakers that we put out there are all thought-leaders or what we fondly call here, ‘solutionists,’ that can go out and relate a particular story based on best practices and proprietary and secondary insights that we have garnered to tell the story,” said Purdy. “And it goes broader than maybe what others are doing in the industry. But it could be how neuroscience is playing in changing the behavior and how we are moving from going to an event to being part of an experience.
“What role will technology play? Understanding the mindsets and the behavior. That’s a lot of the stuff that we gather as part of our insights, and we turn those into stories and best practices that our solutionists either go carry through a ‘Thinking Thursday,’ through a Speakers Bureau, through proprietary pieces we put out there. They all get packaged after this thought-leadership umbrella with different mediums to carry that thought leadership.”
That thought leadership many times involves informing audiences through engaging anecdotes and examples of how new trends and tools can impact tradeshow outcomes for exhibitors and others.
“People in our Speakers Bureau who are solutionists are simply the storytellers that get to go carry that message,” said Purdy. “It’s really meant at giving customers and prospects a form to find a solutionist who can come in and talk about a story. Not so much talking about what Freeman’s done but: ‘Let me talk to you about neuroscience. Let me tell you how that can impact the live-engagement sector and what that means with someone’s purchasing behavior.’
“They speak to not only to the future but they build the future based on the current. They do not just tradeshows but live events because everyone can go to an event, but a lot of people really want to go and participate in an experience.”
Before agreeing to provide a speaker for a tradeshow or other event, Freeman officials first examine the event in question to ensure it is a good fit and appropriate use of the Speakers Bureau. Freeman officials will interview event organizers to better determine their needs. If a good match is indicated and assistance is requested, Freeman will help promote the event through its communications channels and will not promote Freeman in any way.
“It needs to be relevant to what our topics are,” said Purdy. “We do modify the program during a pre-call conference and determine how the content impacts how people are engaged.”
Requesting participation from Freeman speakers requires at least four week’s lead-time, but more time might be needed if looking for a specific speaker to engage an audience during an upcoming tradeshow or other event. Preferably, an event will have at least 50 attendees scheduled so Freeman officials know they will have a suitably sized audience to engage attendees on a relevant topic.
Freeman currently offers five topical areas through which speakers will engage audiences with thought leadership and an eye to the future. Current topics for which speakers can be requested include the evolving nature of “experiential marketing,” which addresses changes in face-to-face marketing; creating an integrated marketing strategy using best practices, social media, market research and trends to create brand harmony; and using creative development to emotionally engage an audience.
Another topic involves using innovation to extend the event experience through advancements in event technology, including use of social gaming, mobile apps, QR codes, virtual and hybrid event and other technology-based advancements. And using the latest trends in planning tools and technology to provide improved logistics management and onsite execution rounds out the current slate of topics covered by the Freeman Speakers Bureau. But more are on the way and can be addressed by up to 14 current Freeman executives who are experts in various fields.
When a speaker has been booked for an event and those requesting the appearance also seek help in promoting it, Freeman officials will provide free promotional assistance through proprietary channels, such as company websites, news releases and other vehicles and channels.
“We work in collaboration with them if they are asking us to help promote our involvement using our channels to reach more people. We do not do any self-promoting,” said Purdy. “That is their event, and as our tagline says: ‘It’s about innovation dedicated to your brand.’ We’re an extension of their brand.”
When looking for innovative solutions to create engaging experiences and broadening the horizons of tradeshows and other events, the Freeman Speakers Bureau very well may have the answer tradeshow organizers need.