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When MWC Attacks—A Changing Landscape Presents PR Opportunities


Mobile World Congress (MWC) started during a time when pro football was still played in Los Angeles and Milli Vanilli had yet to break a nation’s heart (1987). It is the now Grandaddy of them all in the mobile ecosystem, a combination of Cannes, the Super Bowl and an Apple product announcement. A monster of a show with a general attendance over 80,000 and rising, MWC attracts the major players in mobile from across the globe, and 2015 should bring even more excitement to a space that continues to grow while pulling adjacent technologies into its orbit.

A major theme from this year’s show will be the impact of the connected ecosystem on the mobile landscape—a topic that has been simmering close to the surface for several years. At this point there’s really no doubt about it; the Internet of Things figures to have a big impact on MWC, just like it has on virtually every technology market. There’s good reason for the shifting focus and, depending on the space you play in and the audience you’re trying to reach, you can use a crowded, loud and paella-filled environment to your advantage.

The focus on IoT can largely be attributed to the role of wireless carriers and the way their businesses are changing. Ten years ago in the U.S. the easiest and most efficient place to get a mobile phone was through a wireless carrier. Devices were only available through certain carriers, giving them huge power in the wireless industry. Text messaging and additional wireless services were purchased through carriers, growing their already sizable slice of the mobile pie.

Today, it’s device loyalty that drives consumer demand, as leading mobile devices from Apple and Samsung are available across all major carriers. The app ecosystems that drive revenue circumvent carriers altogether through platforms like Apple’s App Store, Google’s Google Play and Amazon’s App Store that offer developers and consumers a marketplace outside of carrier domains. Even text messaging has taken a back seat to services like Apple’s iMessage and WhatsApp, that don’t rely on carrier networks in order to deliver content (read: emojis).

MWC presents an opportunity for carriers and other mobile players to illustrate how they are innovating in the new connected ecosystems, and how the mobile industry as a whole can weave itself into IoT aspirations like smart manufacturing and home automation technologies.

But what does this mean for you? To start, it’s an opportunity to broaden a conversation and take a stand prior to the show, one that can be projected across traditional and digital channels.

Traditional technology and vertical media love timely news stories, and finding a way to promote the impact of IoT on your industry while referencing the news coming out of Barcelona provides a tidy hook. With many wearable and IoT-related announcements on deck, what’s going to be the impact on your market?

Observations on how the evolving market is forcing long time players to re-think strategy could also provide larger commentary opportunities, moving outside of a specific industry to highlight a shifting tech landscape and the future impact.

While MWC certainly stands to be chaotic, looking beyond one’s own industry to see larger macro trends is always the key to thought-provoking content and ultimately, ongoing conversations with media and your market influencers as a whole. One last bit of advice—use your authentic voice. Lip syncing tech commentary might get you “Where are they Now?” coverage, but not much else.

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Sam Katzen

Sam Katzen

Senior Account Supervisor at MSLGROUP

Sam Katzen works on innovative and enterprise-focused tech accounts. When he’s not calmly dealing with PR challenges, he’s tearing his hair out over Oakland A’s baseball.

Sam Katzen

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