Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre (Messukeskus in Finnish) is Finland's largest event venue, producing a variety of events for consumers and business professionals throughout the year. The goal of their communication is to highlight the themes and content of the events, showcase exhibitors, but also to create phenomena around the events that generate discussion and widespread interest. We delved into the fascinating world of event communication with Tarja Gordienko, Communications Manager at Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre!
Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre has several communication goals, but the central focus is on making an event more than just a single visit to a fair.
"Our customers benefit from events in many ways, and we are a meaningful place for them. We create successful encounters for our customers and make events phenomena that provoke thoughts and discussions on important themes", says Communications Manager Tarja Gordienko.
Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre serves a diverse range of customers, including exhibitors, visitors, and B2B clients. In addition to producing its own events like Travel Fair, Helsinki Book Fair, and Child Fair, they also rent out the spaces to external event organizers. Communication needs to be versatile, showcasing both the events and their themes more broadly.
A competent team and the right partners
In Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre's communication team, four communication specialists work alongside Gordienko. Media relations are critically important, and leadership and other key individuals play specific roles in media communication. Sustainability is also a central theme in communication, closely related to all activities and events. Therefore, communication collaborates closely with the new sustainability manager appointed to Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre in the spring.
Gordienko hihglights Travel Fair and responsible tourism as a successful example of how an event can generate societal discussion and broaden understanding of issues related to the theme of an event.
"Travel Fair week provides a platform for highlighting and discussing sustainability themes not only at the event but also outside of it. This is when the public discusses, for example, companies' efforts in developing more sustainable travel solutions and innovations. More sustainable travel becomes a phenomenon around Travel Fair."
Social media communication is done in collaboration with the "sister team", marketing, and external partners. Gordienko emphasizes the importance of acquiring diverse expertise, also from external partners, for their social media work.
Diverse measurement with effective tools
Managing communication requires continuous monitoring and measurement. The tools provided by Retriever for media monitoring and social media listening have been significant for Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre. With these tools, Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre can track news coverage and discussions, reactions, and their topics on social media.
"The information from the service helps us make better decisions and respond quickly to the changing media environment. Media coverage and social media discussions can directly influence our decisions."
For Gordienko and her team, Retriever's tools enable comprehensive data collection and reporting.
"The reports generated from Retriever's tools are almost infinitely diverse. Information can be filtered by source type, region, time period, media share, and in many other ways. Regarding social media, there are several metrics available, such as sentiment, most active participants, common hashtags, and posts with the most reactions", Gordienko lists.
Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre uses media and social media reports in various ways. Experts can order various summaries based on their interests. Media reports related to the event industry and the themes covered at events are also tailored for product development, management, and the communication team. Additionally, broader reports are produced, such as yearly reports on publicity or reports on a specific event theme, that are used by project groups or development teams with representatives from the industry and the client.
"Publicity reports are one part of the reporting we offer to our clients on the impact of the event. Data and feedback are collected from many channels. Media monitoring is one of the tool for evaluation," Gordienko says.
Sparring and new perspectives
Retriever has been Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre's partner for almost five years. Gordienko appreciates Retriever's comprehensive monitoring, fast and knowledgeable customer service, and the opportunity to regularly meet with Retriever's experts to discuss how different metrics and methods could best serve specific research needs.
"We have received expert coaching from Retriever and have been able to develop the service to better meet our needs. Based on comprehensive and well-compiled media information, we can develop our communication strategy, gain new perspectives, and quickly respond to the changing media landscape", Gordienko summarizes.
Marketing & Communications Manager, Finland
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