Held once every three years in a different, exotic port-of-call, the World Orchid Conference returned to the U.S. for the first time in 25 years. Commonly referred to as the “Olympics of Orchids,” the World Orchid Conference is the largest and most prestigious gathering of orchid growers, enthusiasts, hybridizers, and scientists on the planet; the Miami WOC would be the largest orchid event ever held in the U.S. The two-year public relations and marketing campaign needed to entice exhibitors and vendors from around the world to take exhibition space at the convention center and subsequently attract attendees to the orchid show and its extensive lecture series.
PUBLIC RELATIONS and MARKETING STRATEGIES & TACTICS
Working with the South Florida host committee and the American Orchid Society as their public relations agency of record, Miami Beach-based TMA compiled an international list of more than 400 orchid societies and developed a calendar of regular e-flyer blasts to inform their memberships of various aspects of the WOC, including travel specials, guest lecturer announcements, special event invitations, booth rental information, registration information, and sponsorship and program book advertising opportunities.
The Agency also developed and implemented a calendar of 20 press releases for distribution to the national media and utilized the international business wire to reach reporters throughout the world. Within the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale communities, TMA reached out to international consulates, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Ft. Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau and municipal governments to generate awareness and support.
As the event drew near, TMA created print ads for placement in local publications as well as radio scripts for PSAs and Metro Traffic reports with the goal of attracting South Florida attendees to the orchid show. The Agency also secured the County Mayor and WTVJ-TV anchor Kelly Craig to be the special guests at the official opening ceremony.
- Exhibition and vendor space at the convention center sold out – with a waiting list – and participants represented more than 50 countries.
- Nearly 2,000 week-long, full registration tickets were sold with attendees coming from all over the world.
- More than 25,000 single-day tickets were sold for the orchid show.
- International media coverage came from the four corners of the globe with more than 200 confirmed stories appearing in China, The Netherlands, Singapore, Brazil, Thailand, and all 50 states. Total impressions from the public relations campaign topped 150 million.
- Noteworthy among the press coverage were four articles that moved worldwide over the Associated Press and a full-page, four-color story in The New York Times.
- Financially, the WOC, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, was able to clear all production costs and still make a sizeable donation to horticultural scientific and conservation efforts.