We were approached to plan and implement an online marketing campaign for the prestigious week-long ASHRM conference taking place at The Atlantis Hotel in Dubai in February 2014. ASHRM is the leading non-profit HR organisation for the Arabic world, and its Board is from organisations such as Saudi Aramco, Bahrain Prime Minister’s Court and others. ASHRM provides support and guidance on key sectoral issues to prominent HR professionals from the Gulf Cooperation Council region.
The client wanted to drive online enquiries and increase conference ticket sales for the event, and also begin using Twitter, which they had never done before. During our contract, the conference won royal patronage from His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Organisers were understandably concerned about doing anything to cause political or cultural offence.
We were limited in how we could connect with the audience, as they were spread so widely (across all GCC countries, Western Europe and the USA) and we were only able to visit the region for the event itself. We began by researching the audience and planning how best to secure our message, before delivering our campaign.
- Planning and delivering suitable content and messages for all social media channels, focusing on Twitter, and occasionally LinkedIn
- Stimulating and increasing audience engagement through all social media channels
- Writing profiles for all speakers for the ASHRM2014.com website
- Using the highest profile speakers as marketing fodder during the event, for example Twitter co-creator Dom Sagola attracted huge audience interest so we capitalised on this by using hashtags to alert attendees to a Q&A interview and photo opportunities, as well as an interactive panel discussion. Dom re-tweeted our tweets pre, during and post-conference, reaching over half a million users each time
- Maximising the use of Twitter hashtag #ASHRM2014 at all opportunities to get attendees engaging, discussing, following and fostering loyalty for next year’s conference or future events – including the forthcoming ASHRM digital members magazine
Our online marketing campaign drove high numbers of ticket sales and won praise from attendees, most of whom we had managed to convert to use Twitter for the first time. We also supported existing PR and media relations at the conference by issuing post-conference press releases, composing speeches for presenters and live-tweeting. Highlights included:
- The highest number of ticket sales to date for the annual ASHRM conference
- Huge engagement and traffic to the ASHRM Twitter channel during the conference, with a 278% increase in re-tweets, tweets and photos using the #ASHRM2014 hashtag, tweets to our account, tweets among delegates, tweets and photos to Instagram
- Increased ASHRM Twitter followers by 92%
- Converting any dissatisfied attendees to highly engaged and satisfied tweeters
- Winning press coverage in the Arab News newspaper and Zawya.com, the Reuters-owned Middle East newswire
Conference attendees, particularly younger ones, were highly engaged and positive about the new Twitter presence and campaign for ASHRM. The client also made us an honorary member of the ASHRM conference management committee, inviting closer participation at the next conference in 2016.
We have since provided journalism and editorial services for the new ASHRM digital magazine, launched in November 2014.
Our success at the conference led to enquiries from royalty and government organisations in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and an on-site PR Consultancy at King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC).
If you’re looking for a PR agency to manage your next online marketing campaign in the Middle East – or elsewhere – why not contact us? We’d love to speak to you.