Tech4Africa PR campaign sets up conference for longevity and sustainability

The confluence of key operational and strategic factors enabled tech-focussed PR firm Emerging Media to reach 11 million people through its campaign to publicise the hugely successful, inaugural Tech4Africa conference.

“It was a huge win for us to be involved in this ground-breaking conference, but particularly so considering the success of the media campaign that has created long-term value for the conference organisers,” says Craig Rodney, MD of Emerging Media. “There were a number of factors that contributed to this success, based in part on our expertise in the tech sector, but also that PR was identified up-front as the primary driver to attract delegates. We don't know of any local events that have had no traditional advertising, but managed to secure full attendance for a paid-for, first-time conference.”

Tech4Africa is the brainchild of technology innovator Gareth Knight who identified the need to host a high-level Internet and technology conference on a continent thirsting for knowledge. The conference was hosted over two days in August this year, and attracted 460 delegates.

Knight's focus on bringing together some of the world's top thought leaders in the technology sector was key to facilitating Emerging Media's task, and laid the cornerstone for the success of the conference.

Craig says that working with a visionary such as Knight eased the process as he knew what he wanted to achieve and had the confidence in Emerging Media to do what it does best.

“We were involved from the get-go and were able to contribute our expertise to the process,” he says. “Our approach in any campaign is based on five core components that we execute well: know the media, know your client, understand and believe in their value proposition, create brilliant and relevant content and use your media relationships effectively.”

Emerging Media developed a focussed, five-month campaign leading up to the event that encompassed these principles and delivered outstanding results.

Using a combination of traditional and new media channels, the exposure has been valued at more than R4-million, providing considerable return on investment for the conference organiser.

“It obviously helped that we had five months to implement the campaign,” comments account manager Ian Rodney, “but we had a rolling strategy throughout that period that addressed particular markets and messages as we got closer to the conference date.”

One strategy that paid rich dividends for Emerging Media was to build awareness, excitement and buy-in with the country's leading technology journalists by inviting and involving them from a very early stage. Their enthusiasm for the conference and the speakers involved created a snowball effect with their peers – even those who might not have been familiar with the reputation of some of the key speakers.

Another key strategy was forging mutually beneficial media partnerships with leading print, broadcast and online media to add impetus to the campaign. “We had media partnerships with the leading players in each sector, from podcasters to broadcasters, online to print.” Explains Ian.

“Another tool used to great effect was the online media and reputation analysis services provided by BrandsEye that enabled us to monitor and react immediately to all online commentary,” says Ian. “Tools such as this are invaluable and helped guide our strategy modifications over the five months to address any issues that arose.”

The value and depth of the work done to generate strong buy-in and long-term resonance with the conference content have laid the foundation for Tech4Africa to become a regular event on the African continent.

To read what BrandsEye, the online media and reputation analysis service, had to say about the campaign and the results please see: