Neil spills all on… BIBA 2019

Brand Engagement, Events and Exhibitions

May 2, 2019

As BIBA 2019 approaches, we caught up with our Executive Director and exhibitions expert Neil Johnson about the upcoming event and what it means for us as well as the industry itself.


What are you looking forward to at BIBA this year?
The sense of community that Manchester brings to the insurance industry, it is the UK’s insurance event of the year! A chance to see what’s happening, what’s changing and, of course, to meet new prospects and some old friends and colleagues.

What is the scope of brandformula’s involvement in this event each year?
From an agency perspective, it’s total. Every marketing aspect in a B2B sense is engaged and, as a specialist agency working in the insurance sector, it culminates as the busiest time of the year. From the original stand design, concept campaign and build to online activity, social media and PR – it’s all working hard to maximise success at the event.

Are you seeing any patterns or themes in client projects and stands this year?
Accountability for results against ROI. Pressures of budgets and spend must work to deliver tangible and measurable results.

How is the event different now to 5 years ago?
The scope of the event has broadened to now become firmly established as THE UK’s insurance event of the year. Simply, if you work in insurance you must be there.

How do you see it developing over the next 5 years?
Consolidation of the larger insurance businesses ultimately reduces the number of key insurance exhibitors at BIBA, and this will change the ‘core’ of the event, which in turn reduces some of the broader appeal of the event to the visitor. Exhibitors must work harder to engage visitors with developments, focus and points of difference.

Have you done anything different or new for any clients this year?
AV and content messaging on stands, is taking a greater role. LED walls, supersized screen and iPads have become more affordable and the flexibility they give in terms of stand/visitor engagement is vast.

Why do you think it’s so important for the industry to gather, exhibit and network at BIBA year-on-year?
To knowledge share, learn and reacquaint. Insurance at BIBA’s level is so much about trust, and to build trust we need a series of markets and events to nurture and develop relationships outside of the day to day; real work is of course ‘done’ at BIBA, but it is also with a sense of interest and fun and that helps build friendships.

BIBA is a very ‘physical’ event. Insurers, brokers, and other industry experts and providers come together for 3 days to meet in person. Why is it so important to also include a digital aspect to brand comms at these types of event?
Because the message must live on beyond the event. Not everyone can attend as planned or they do and then unfortunately time runs out to get to see who they intended to meet! Digital communication provides an ideal platform to control your messaging and ensure that all those that you want to reach out to are aware.

What is your one big piece of advice for any first-time exhibitors?
Don’t try and do too much. It’s far better to establish your name of a single proposition than try and be a ‘Jack of all trades’. Keep it simple, elegant and impactful and think long term, this must be part of a longer marketing journey.

What steps should attendees take after the event to maintain the momentum of the relationships formed and developed in Manchester?
BIBA provides a launch platform to connect or reconnect. What happens after is vital. Don’t be afraid to follow up and do it fast, and don’t get drawn into complex CRM platforms and protocols – a simple phone call is often the best way.


Attending BIBA and have questions about the event? Get in touch or catch up with us there!