For the first time since the pandemic UKC and UKH have attended an actual, real life trade show - OTS in Liverpool. A lot has changed in the last couple of years - and not just the novelty of being around lots of people. So how have we adjusted our approach to fit the times?
Up until 2020 there were two trade shows in our diary: ISPO in winter and OutDoor in summer. These both took place in Munich and involved several members of the team flying out to film and report what they saw. It wasn't cheap for us to do, it had a weighty carbon footprint, and it was - in light of the dwindling attendance from brands at the show - something that felt like it'd had its day.
Throughout the pandemic we switched to a digital, Zoom-based format, so that brands could still showcase their new stuff without anyone having to meet in person. This was fine while it lasted, but simply wasn't the same as speaking to someone in the same room, face to face, and physically handling the gear. As restrictions eased we attempted an alternative approach, which involved us visiting each and every brand we work with. Lovely though it was to see people again, this ultimately proved unworkable because of the time, effort and cost involved in travelling all over the UK.
Ever since, we've been looking for a more managable alternative - one that involved us having face to face contact with actual people, and getting the new product in hand, but without sending multiple members of staff out to Germany.
Thankfully we had an obvious alternative in the form of OTS - The Outdoor Trade Show. This friendly show, which takes place in Liverpool, has been growing significantly in recent years, with a good attendance amongst a wide range of brands. Compared with Munich it's practically on our doorstep, so switching venue was an easy decision to make.
We've also updated the way in which we produce and publish our Trade Show Reports. In previous years we'd opted for individual videos for each product. Whilst this allowed us to go into more detail, the sheer quantity of material (70+ at its pre-Covid peak) became time consuming and unwieldy. And when it came down to it, who really wanted to sit through all that product coverage?
Our new approach is to produce a more 'greatest hits' style report, featuring our top picks from the show. We've also tended to do a lot of the presenting ourselves, instead of talking to brand reps, as that way we can give our take on the product. This helps to keep the videos shorter, punchier and (hopefully) less waffly.
So, Trade Show Reports 2022 style - we hope you like them!