Corporate tie-ups are normally so much hot air and uselessness. But IJL’s decision to partner with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) suggests the organisers are genuinely looking for function, not flare, in the show’s latest iteration.
The buyers in any industry quickly get tired of the small handful of big spenders continually flooding the market with their logos. Especially in a market like jewellery, where many indie retailers would prefer to do a solid trade in unbranded collections where they can achieve a higher margin.
So seeing a major trade show – the point of which is to provide a platform for doing business – partner with a quasi-governmental body that dispenses advice on how to export successfully, is truly edifying. One suspects Reed Business Information (the show’s organisers) was perfectly competent at securing a deal with UKTI which works for it too. But there is something more ingenuous about this type of partnership as opposed to one with a major jewellery brand which gets top-dog status only by virtue of having the money. Goodness knows not every firm with a big marketing budget is actually producing quality wares.
In fact, that sense of utility in the show is what will get visitors talking and make it a decent day out for them.
None of this is to say sponsorship is a bad thing – and in reality event organisers do not run their shows for altruism. But if visitors can be presented with a really useful proposition, rather than just dull ‘headline sponsor’ marketing from the single highest bidder, then so much the better. Going forward, decisions like this will make the show better and more popular, and if that happens, everyone wins.