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How to prepare for MIPIM 2022

MIPIM is the largest and most important European property event, hosted in Cannes each year. For most delegates and their businesses, it’s a significant investment of time and money. And with so much to do and see, it’s vital that you have your visit planned out before you step on the plane. We spoke to our property sector clients and contacts about how to get the most out of your time there.

Fingers crossed, Covid will be on the wane and properly under control by March when MIPIM takes place, and that it will be safe to go, but make sure you’re up to speed with the latest health and travel advice.

Here are their top tips

Before you go

  • KPIs – establish your objectives so that you can measure against these once you return – that way you will be able to gauge if your visit was a success and think about what you might do differently next time. Criteria could include a certain number of meetings over the four days, setting up a number of opportunities to meet people after the show when you’re back in the UK, collecting useful business cards, the number of clients met, social media interactions/blog visitors or journalist meetings/editorial opportunities.
  • Be realistic. Don’t go expecting the world, and be aware that the effort you put in now might not pay off for months or even years. Perhaps the most important thing you will get from being at Mipim is being seen to be there. That adds credibility to you and your business.
  • Take care of the admin now before it’s too late. It is vital to fully register before you leave for MIPIM to avoid any on-the-spot complications, and make sure you have all your travel information and documents to avoid any last minute panics.
  • Prepare your calendar – organise your schedule before you leave the UK. It is important to plan meetings in advance and arrange where you are going to meet. And although you will be tempted to fill your diary up to the brim, do leave room for manoeuvre, as meetings can tend to run late in the sunshine or even be rescheduled.
  • Assuming you’ve registered as a delegate, make the most of the databases, events guide and other resources on the official MIPIM website http://www.mipim.com/. Ensure your personal and company profiles are fully updated and you are easily contactable by prospective clients and partners. You can’t download email addresses in bulk but you can the rest of the list then filter it by the kinds of companies, locations, job titles you’re interested in meeting and find email addresses for the contacts concerned by searching the who’s attending section in the Quick Links.
  • To find out what’s going on in and around the fringe, use the MIPIM Tough Guide http://mipimtoughguide.com/ –the latest information on all events in and around Cannes – the ones you can get into and the ones you can’t.
  • Spread the word – do your contacts, clients and prospects know you will be attending MIPIM this year? Why not send an e-shot to let everyone you want to meet with during the event know how to get in touch with you to arrange meetings before you head out there. You can also include that you’re attending MIPIM in your LinkedIn summary so you’ll pop up when people search for LinkedIn, and in your email signature.
  • A good place to arrange to meet people, if you or they don’t have a stand at Mipim, is in the café at the far end of the ‘bunker’ – the basement under the show. If you haven’t met before, don’t worry about wearing a white carnation in your lapel – just arrange to call each other when you get there.
  • Are there people who can help you make the most of your trip by arranging meetings for you or inviting you to events. If you’re a member of London Chamber or another business organisation, contact your account manager to see if they can help. If you’re part of a delegation, make sure you maximise the benefits of your sponsorship.
  • Ask your PR consultancy to arrange some meetings with journalists. Often, MIPIM may be the only chance you get to talk to some leading property editors and correspondents.
  • Journalist prep – if you are meeting with journalists during your trip, make sure you know what you want to talk about with them and what key points you want to make, as well as topics to avoid.
  • Write a list of what to take with you – include lots of business cards and comfy shoes.
  • Exhibiting? This is a blog in itself. Suffice to say: Plan with military precision and make sure you know where your stand is located and the rules about setting up so that everything is in place with the minimum of hassle come kick off on Tuesday.
  • Smell the sea air – Non-stop meetings and networking are exhausting, especially when coupled with a little too much to eat and drink, so give yourself a break every so often, get some fresh air and enjoy the sunshine.

[quote Author=”Alex Shah” Quote=”Top tip – the Mipim databases are downloadable, but it’s best to do this closer to the event once everyone has registered. “][/quote]

While you’re there

  • Change your watch – be aware of the time difference when scheduling your meetings in Outlook or other online diary, and ensure to sync your calendar/smart phone to local time when you arrive to avoid confusion.
  • Familiarise yourself with the surroundings – get to know the conference centre, as well as the key cafes and restaurants on La Croisette, that way you can make sure you schedule your meetings close to each other. Also, make sure you know where the stands of your key clients are as well as those of any new business targets who are exhibiting.
  • Mipim virgin? Why not make the most of the practical information available to you and make sure to connect with the ‘First time at MIPIM’ conference team who are there to help you find your bearings. Plus there’s a daily happy hour in the first timer’s room near the entrance.
  • Bring your business cards – lots – but don’t lug around tons of marketing literature. People won’t want to carry around your brochure all day. An iPad with a brief but professional presentation is a good idea for those occasions when people want to sit down with you and find out more.
  • One important tip is to write down when and where you met each new contact on their business card with a note about their particular interest or situation. It will help you to organise your contacts and follow up effectively with the right kind of information once you get back to the UK.
  • Hang out – If you’re with a delegation, spend some time milling around on their stand or pavilion. Other good places to hang out are Caffe Roma and the London stand. You never know who you’ll bump into.
  • In between arranged meetings, take the opportunity to chat with people and, if they’re open to the idea, talk about your offer but try to avoid hassling people who may be recharging between meetings.
  • See the show – Have a look around the expo – you’ve paid for it! And there will be plenty worth seeing. Look out for sector specific stuff that’s particularly relevant to you too.
  • Go digital – there will be plenty of opportunity for real world socialising during your trip but why not use relevant social media to extend your reach. Know what hashtags you need to be using. Connect with the official Mipim social media accounts. Make sure your phone is charged and with you at all times so you can keep track of your online interactions.
  • Dear diary – why not take it one step further and write a Mipim blog on a theme of the day.
  • Travel light but carry the essentials – your laptop or iPad/phone and business cards, of course. Depending on your device’s battery life, you may also need a power pack or charger. Also, a sunscreen stick and sunglasses wouldn’t go amiss in case you are unlucky enough to be caught in the Mediterranean sunshine.

Afterwards

  • Have a post-MIPIM plan – how will you follow up with the new contacts you made? Make sure you have a clear idea of your next steps.
  • Get ready for next year. Book early and stay as close to the action as possible – but try to avoid the more expensive hotels and instead opt for an apartment.
  • It’s an exhausting four days so take time to relax and, if necessary, detox.

First published Feb 2017

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Reputation management and women in property

The big communications challenge for the real estate sector is changing attitudes

The property sector has a bad image. Developers and contractors are “net takers” from society. The public sees no social value from their activities. They don’t trust them – or councils – on planning. They wouldn’t advise young people to join the industry.

This grim rundown is communicated by Melanie Leech, head of the British Property Federation. An audience of real estate pros listens. It’s hard to say if they are surprised. Probably not.

No-one likes us

There has always been a Millwall-attitude among some hard-headed industry types: “No-one likes us. We don’t care.” But today, there is a realisation that such attitudes are not helpful. For example, winning public support for a regeneration project that is partly funded by a local council is tough enough without starting a goal down. A recent visit to Anthology’s Hoxton Press development  showed that to be true. It took numerous iterations to get the people of Hackney’s approval.

How should we respond to what seems like an overwhelming reputation management challenge? One initiative is a new BPF campaign. The pillars of ‘Redefining Real Estate’ include communities, skills and environment – something else that the industry isn’t trusted on, according to BPF studies.

It’s clear that to change public perceptions, the sector must change. Melanie confesses to being shocked when she came into property at attitudes to the public. Today, though, there is a move towards thinking about customers as people. That’s a mindset identified in a recent Property Week article as crucial for competitive advantage.

PR exercise

Mindful that this campaign can’t be a superficial PR exercise, the BPF has decided to walk the talk (the best kind of PR, as I discussed in our blog The Daring Fox) on diversity by shaking up its board.

Modernisation (such an old-fashioned world) also means that the property industry must embrace technology, music to the ears of our prop-tech client, Abintra.

Speaking alongside Melanie at the offices of top ten accountancy firm Crowe is Sandi Rhys-Jones of the Association of Women in Property . She singles out thought leadership and story-telling – both powerful weapons in the PR and communications armoury – as key factors in changing attitudes.

Story telling

“It’s a great industry,” she says. “We need to tell a better story.”

She took a group of children to Waterloo Bridge, built during the war by a workforce that was 70 per cent women, to get the message across. She works with a comedian to highlight the issue of unconscious bias in the construction workplace.

We need to look a through a new lens, she suggests. That’s one of the reasons for getting an outside PR and communications agency to look at your real estate business. It’s always hard to see yourself as others see you.

Lightbulb joke

There’s an old joke. How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but the lightbulb has to want to change. Initiatives such as the BPF’s new campaign and Women In Property will not by themselves change the industry’s reputation.

EG’s (female) editor Sam Clary is a passionate proponent of diversity and equality in the sector. Between chastising the industry for its inequalities, she often highlights good works by companies making commitments to change.

Are these beacons that others will follow? Are they a real trend, rather than just flavour of the month? Are they window dressing or backed up by effective action? I recall Nigel Bogle of the ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (Levi jeans boxer shorts launderette) saying that the measure of a company having a genuine principle is to ask does that principle cost it money.

Get the message out

I wonder what proportion of real estate firms have a desire, let alone a funded communications programme, to play a part in changing the industry’s reputation. Will such funded programmes survive a downturn? Commitment to protecting the environment was a big deal in the early 1990s until recession hit. It took more than a decade to climb back up the corporate agenda.

Hefty though it is, the UK property and construction sector is part of a global picture. Wider tectonic shifts in public attitudes as well as global economic forces will eventually force it to change. But we can accelerate change by walking the walk.

Which brings me to a final question: How many firms are doing good things but neglecting to get the message out? As I’ve seen on numerous regeneration and reputation management projects, you need to walk the walk and talk the talk.