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PR Agencies

PR know-how: Getting creative to boost visibility at a crowded trade show

Mix one part hockey, one part fund-raising effort, three parts organization and planning, and voila, you have a recipe for a successful effort to stand out as a brand among many others attending the same crowded trade show. Learn how Canada Goose made a name for itself at Winter Market by promoting fun.

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How on earth does a company manage to stand out at an industry trade show like Outdoor Retailer in a way that develops long-term impact and meaningful business relationships? Serve beer? Not likely. Promote tasty espresso shots? Please. No, you need to get creative and connect with attendee desires to have fun while at the same time supporting an industry cause. In the case of Canadian apparel-maker Canada Goose, it turned to hockey and debuted the Canada Goose Cup at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

SNEWS® asked company vice president of marketing Kevin Spreekmeester to share his thoughts on what he learned from the first Canada Goose Cup as a way to help others leverage a trade show for maximum visibility and long-term business impact.

“While we have been sold and distributed in the United States for a while, I wanted more than noise about our brand,” Spreekmeester told SNEWS. “And I wanted to show our commitment to the U.S. outdoor community and The Conservation Alliance.

“My challenge was to figure out how I could best utilize Outdoor Retailer Winter Market to shake things up a bit during the show and support the industry.”

Spreekmeester kept coming back to his love for hockey and the fact that Canada Goose had a relationship with The Conservation Alliance he wanted to nurture.

“I decided to host a hockey tournament during the show to raise money for The Conservation Alliance,” said Spreekmeester. “Beyond that? I didn’t know how we would execute it or all of the logistical details. For that, I turned to our internal events team and our PR partner, CGPR.”

A brainstorming session produced an overall plan for the Canada Goose Hockey Tournament that included establishing details around specific goals, measurement, timeline for execution, criteria for success and a marketing plan. Each of those details included steps for execution:

Securing partners

Marketing plan/calendar

Managing team registration

Onsite support

Spreekmeester told us that many things proved the success of the event:

>> Every team showed up with enthusiasm and a great competitive spirit.

>> Every team sported incredibly creative outfits and uniforms.

>> There were a couple requisite fights and the referee even had to toss out a couple of highly energetic players.

>> In the end, collective efforts resulted in a $4,800 donation to The Conservation Alliance, and new business relationships that Canada Goose previously didn’t have.

“I personally have met and connected with some really inspired industry leaders who have already been a great support in planning the next installation of the Canada Goose Cup,” said Spreekmeester.

He added that his company will be hosting the Canada Goose Cup again at the 2011 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market and expects to be hosting the event for many more years.

“In the end, this is about having a sound concept, enthusiastic partners, a trade show partner willing to play ball and a great cause that can benefit,” said Spreekmeester. “The challenge is how you keep it fresh…and we have some ideas on that.”

–Michael Hodgson