Yvonne Nassar, head of marketing & innovation at RAI Amsterdam on the art of storytelling within your business.
RAI Amsterdam is helping its staff tell as many stories as possible. Within three years, we believe that everyone will be involved in content marketing at the venue.
How can you realise content marketing when your entire business revolves around content? RAI Amsterdam has found the solution by gradually giving employees the space and means to make and distribute their own content.
The event business has always been about connecting and inspiring people, while this used to primarily involve physical meetings, a digital layer also has a key role to play today.
New outlook on the world
For the RAI team, which organises over 25 consumer and trade exhibitions itself and facilitates hundreds of other events as a venue, the new layer has considerably changed its outlook on the world.
Instead of lasting a day or week, events often continue throughout the year online. This has made their impact much greater. You can connect people before, during and after an event, using content for matchmaking.
RAI Amsterdam is working on building communities around its own exhibition titles in domains such as water, traffic and horticulture technology. It has employed two community managers to ensure this ambition is realised in a professional way.
When it comes to the events it facilitates, the RAI plays a different role.
We share the stories of our customers; both via our own channels and by using the city as a platform. We compete with other cities such as Paris, London, Frankfurt and Barcelona. Competition in business is healthy. A unique characteristic we offer is the compactness of Amsterdam, which allows us to make an event visible and expand its impact on visitors. Use your city to your advantage.
For a company with content in its DNA, this isn’t enough. Digitisation demands a wide involvement. To realise this, we introduced webcare, which was transferred to so-called connectors in the various departments. If there is a complaint about too few sandwiches for example, the response is immediate and the kitchen is informed.
We listen to what people have to say. Webcare was placed with connectors in the various departments and is coordinated by the marketing and communication departments. We want to expand this concept through a more proactive approach. This will give the company a more distinct identity.
In the long term, nearly everyone within the company will be involved in content. A good example is the Basement Chefs Facebook page. The RAI has a very large kitchen that is located in the basement.
Several years ago, our executive chef Rientz Mulder and his right hand man Paul Conijn were looking to create more commitment among temporary staff: the hundreds of kitchen employees who are present during large events.
They also wanted to highlight their field among other RAI employees. The chefs created an open environment where they share stories and photos from our kitchen. They have done so well that we want to integrate this within our external communication to clients. These efforts have to be given the space and freedom to grow.
Internal social media
For this reason, employees will be given tools, which enable them to start using social media.
For example, all staff can take an iMovie course and are offered job- related training. The sales department, for instance, is shown how they can use LinkedIn for their work. The barrier to actively using social media was further lowered when the intranet was implemented as a social network some two years ago.
Previously all content was developed by the corporate communication department. Now they manage the content, while employees can place their own messages and respond to them directly.
Writing blogs is one of the types of content the RAI has implemented recently. It serves as an addition to the detailed trend reports, which were made public three years ago.
Many companies have a good vision on future challenges but are unable to translate it to their own business. An important competence is how quickly you can respond to the speed of changes around you.
We have a trendwatcher at the RAI and share our expertise with the market. Our goal is to inspire the sector and profile ourselves as a knowledge leader.