Home TypeNews Trade show mission statements: how can you tell the difference?

Trade show mission statements: how can you tell the difference?

by EN

In his latest column, EN guest editor Phil Soar takes aim at the company mottos and wonders whether exhibition companies do enough to make themselves stand apart?

“Our goal is to make the world a better place for everyone, especially our customers and our staff.” Mission statements and company mottos – don’t you love them? The above is one I came across just last week. Tells you so much about the business, doesn’t it?

But surely, we clever, witty West London, cosmopolitan trade show companies can do so much better when it comes to missions and mottos. We surely must make it really clear just “how different our company is from all the others!”

OK, so let’s give it a try:

Here are 11 company mottos, mission statements or ‘corporate objectives’ taken from the very first page of the web sites of some of our major exhibition companies.

  1. “In the Business of Building Businesses”
  2. “We are on a mission to create unmissable events where people from all corners of the globe can meet, learn and inspire.”
  3. “We pride ourselves on a deep understanding of our customers and their needs, creating platforms that deliver growth and value.”
  4. “Accelerating business through face-to-face events.”
  5. “Our long-term strategy is market specialisation.”
  6. “Founded on bringing together people together, building relationships and supporting communities.”
  7. “Our events are dedicated to protecting people, assets and organisations and our corporate vision is to be the most successful events business in the UK.”
  8. “Delivering market-leading customer outcomes and experiences.”
  9. “Welcome to the future of Events.”
  10. “Join us on a journey into the future of events.”
  11. “We are an indulgence enjoyed across cultures, races and income levels and (which) has the potential to deliver joyful experiences across the world.”

As I don’t entertain you much in my weekly fun pieces by offering quizzes, this is a rare chance to shine. In a technique I have learned from Woman’s Own magazine, try and match the 11 mission statements and corporate objectives above to the following exhibition companies:

  1. Clarion
  2. CloserStill
  3. Diversified
  4. DMG Exhibitions (Daily Mail Group)
  5. Easy Fairs
  6. Informa
  7. Hyve
  8. Nineteen Events
  9. RX (Reed)
  10. Tarsus
  11. And for (K) – Guess the Company

Well, I will try not to labour the blindingly obvious point too much. How many hours must have been spent creating, arguing about, sub-editing, fretting and generally despairing about these mission statements?

And how much money must have been spent with PR consultants and advertising agencies to come up with something which differentiates Company A from all the rest, and which says something which will inspire its customers?

So, assume that you could hack into the front page of the web sites of all these companies and simply change their mission statement, picking at random any of the other 10. How many of those new ‘interloper’ statements would make much, if any, difference to the way each company was trying to sell itself? And how long would it take for anyone to notice?

A famous author in the 1970s and 1980s – Len Deighton – published a dozen successful novels. As is normal, a short personal biography was printed on the inside back of the dust cover. But he changed his biography every time he wrote a new book – the year of his birth, where he was born, his father’s occupation, his career history etc. No one, including his publisher, noticed until Deighton pointed it out himself.

I often idly think to myself:

  • Who writes these company mission statements or corporate objectives?
  • Why?
  • Who reads them?
  • What difference do they make?
  • What is their purpose?

I won’t labour the point, but we, as an industry, are clearly finding it rather difficult to say anything which differentiates our companies much. And perhaps that says something about what an exhibition group is.

Is there really nothing else we could offer? Something honest, pithy and to the point?

Such as: “Our Mission is to make as much money as possible for our shareholders.”

I doubt you will ever see that on the wall behind the reception desk.

Main image above: An enthusiastic stock image model points at, presumably, a witty slogan, Getty. Image below: trade show stock image, Getty

Answers to the quiz:

  1. RX
  2. Hyve
  3. Tarsus
  4. DMG Exhibitions
  5. Informa
  6. CloserStill
  7. Nineteen Events
  8. Clarion
  9. Diversified
  10. Easy Fairs
  11. Krispy Kreme Donuts (courtesy of The Economist)

If anyone got eight out of 11, email me and I will take you to lunch at The Ivy…


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