16.12.16

Motorcycle Live – everything you need under one roof!

October and November are always busy and important months for the motorcycle industry. While many bikes are being tucked away in garages and sheds for winter, manufacturers are in the midst of show season with the INTERMOT-EICMA-Motorcycle Live triple-header in full swing. For those working within the industry it’s the busiest time of the year as new and upgraded models are unveiled to an eagerly awaiting public and the industry gears up for the new season ahead.

Motorcycle Live is the biggest event on the British biking calendar with 43 of the world’s motorcycle manufacturers on show for nine days at the NEC in Birmingham. The majority of new models from the European shows (INTERMOT and EICMA) make their British debut in front of over 113,000 fans.  For BMW Motorrad UK, the 2016 edition of Motorcycle Live represented their most ambitious to date as more new models than ever before made their UK debut.

DSC_8587.jpgIn the past, consumer shows were one of the few times brands were able to speak directly to their customers on a large scale. But now companies are able to interact more directly than ever with their customers and potential customers as social media continues to reach more and more people in a greater number of forms. As a result there are an ever-rising number of people asking: ‘Are consumer shows worth the money?’ The price stands at Motorcycle Live soars into the five figures and easily pushes six when you account for housing and feeding the staff. In turn, the question of, ‘Wouldn’t that money be better spent on creating and boosting content for social media and potentially reaching millions?’ arises.

Shows are a chance to step away from the familiar computer and desk combination, meet the people who live and breathe motorcycling and remind yourself why it’s one of the best industries to be a part of. Motorcycle Live is an unrivalled chance to break out of the bubble that you can often find yourself in and get back to interacting with the people you’re trying to reach and communicate with.

It’s all too easy to get stuck in your own work bubble, bouncing ideas around with the same colleagues, planning the next great campaign or piece of content, but Motorcycle Live is a refreshing break. The days are long and always throw up new challenges, but the insight and face-to-face connections are worth the sore feet and investment in lozenges.

There’s no better team building exercise than spending nine days and nights with the same people, working together every day to deliver a fantastic experience for customers and visitors to the show. As an agency that prides itself on being an extension of our clients’ in-house teams, there’s no ‘us and them’ – we’re all in this together.

But for those working in the motorcycle industry, it’s not just about meeting the people buying the bikes, but also those selling them. BMW Motorrad UK hosted their retailer conference at Motorcycle Live - the ideal chance to talk with retailers and understand their specific needs. These events are especially important for us in a PR agency as they offer a chance to speak directly with those interacting with customers on a day-to-day basis. Feedback from retailers is valuable and more insights and data are always appreciated.

The engagement with customers, retailers and client employees alone is almost enough to justify consumer shows. You’re never going to get the same level of feedback and understanding you get from talking to someone on a SurveyMonkey or Facebook comment. Data and insights are the driving force behind everything we do, and the interactions you can have on the show floor are better than anything else.

Beyond understanding your client better, consumer shows provide solid insight into what your competitors are doing. Again, this helps to burst the bubbles we can find ourselves in. Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere and shows like Motorcycle Live are an important reminder of what’s going on outside the office’s four walls.

motocycle live nec.pngWith social media content more important than ever, shows have also become a great content farm. New and old bikes on display offer a perfect chance to get footage for bike walk-arounds or simply generic B-roll; it’s a GoPro playground at the NEC!

The interactive BMW GS Experience, in conjunction with BMW Off Road Skills, was a content creator’s dream, with motorbikes jumping and sliding all over the place. While sitting down in front of a computer and editing footage for days at a time will always produce the best results, a GoPro and an iPhone provide an exceptional on-the-go editing suite and allow for well-produced clips to be posted within minutes. It’s a great way to share all the incredible things a BMW Motorrad motorcycle can do, and a great way to entice people to come to the show/experience.

Content hives such as these aren’t possible anywhere else; it’s almost unprecedented to have such a high number of bikes, influential people and activities in one place at one time – and it’s something you need to take advantage of.

Again, it’s interesting to see how different brands and agencies handle an event as big as Motorcycle Live. Some dive head-first into producing their own content while others rely on fans to help them generate the content needed to help keep their Twitter feed ticking over.

Success was not limited to the number of bikes on show for BMW Motorrad UK, who also generated more test ride bookings and leads than ever before. The show also offered surprise success for BMW Motorrad UK who managed to seize the interest of the children’s market with the use of VR. BMW was one of only two exhibitors to use VR of some kind, and were able to capture the imaginations of hundreds of kids as a result. Capturing a child’s sense of awe and admiration is vital; who doesn’t want to get that car or bike they had on their wall as a child?

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As VR continues to become more advanced, the possibilities will only increase. Who knows, maybe in five years’ time you won’t even have to leave the NEC to test ride the new BMW S 1000 R! The VR success stood as a solid reminder to never cut off or forget about a group of people because you’ve assumed or found they weren’t interested in the past. With technology advancing each and every day, there are always new ways to reach and engage people you’ve never thought of before.

Of course, it’s not all work. There’s also time to have a bit of a giggle with the rest of the team, but even that is a prime source of engaging content these days! Click here

From an insight and content perspective alone, consumer shows are unrivalled. That’s not to mention the huge benefit to the manufacturers themselves, able to generate tens of thousands of leads within just a few days – and all under one roof! As the world continues to shift and change with technology, the consumer show remains an ideal venue to gain insights and get feedback, as long as you’re keeping abreast of all the trends and innovations outside. If you can keep pace with the consumers, there’s no reason they won’t come along to see.

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ARTICLE BY HARRY LLOYD


Senior Account Executive and motorcycle racing enthusiast

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