As I walked through the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association's Seminar and Expo last week in Atlanta, I could see there was a lot to take in — a daunting array of new products, packaging and merchandising ideas.
Fortunately there was a new tool to help enhance my experience: the “Total Access Blog” produced by our editors at http://total-access.supermarketnews.com.
This online feature provides a multidimensional experience for trade shows and conventions through real-time news, commentary and photos. It can supplement your experience either during an event or afterwards, and keep you abreast of all the action if you're not attending.
So far this year, SN has posted blogs devoted to Natural Products Expo West, United Fresh Marketplace and IDDBA, and each can still be viewed on SN's website.
Two new blogs are on tap this week — one covering Food Marketing Institute's Private Brands Summit and another tracking the CIES World Food Business Summit. A big slate of blogs is scheduled for the busy fall event season — and each will be prominently promoted on SN's home page during the events.
IDDBA is a good example of why such a tool is useful. Our editor bloggers boosted understanding of the event with innovative posts. They were SN's Roseanne Harper, and Katie Martin and Matt Reynolds of the baking group of Penton Media, the parent company of SN.
In pre-show posts, Harper prepped attendees on what to expect from the expansive exhibition, and Martin provided fun facts about Atlanta to make visitors into instant experts, including this one: “The Varsity Restaurant dispenses nearly 3 million servings of Coca-Cola annually, the most worldwide.”
The bloggers covered educational sessions with wit and insight. Harper described the energy of the scene when speaker and consultant Harold Lloyd arrived on stage in full Batman garb for his talk titled “Holey Donuts, Batman! Two Dozen Ways to Raise Dairy-Deli-Bakery Sales Without Spending Too Much Dough.”
Martin relayed the reality-show tension and excitement of the cake decorating contest that is one of IDDBA's signature events. “The three decorators face three grueling days of decorating, and they have to do it in front of observers,” Martin wrote.
Her ongoing reports included photos of participants and cakes, and of course the final outcomes.
A blog is also about commentary. That was certainly apparent in a post from Reynolds that took bakery directors to task for avoiding innovative initiatives merely because they hadn't yet been proven elsewhere.
“‘Who else is doing it’ shouldn't have much bearing on what works in your market,” he advised.
Here's my advice: Give a try to one of our upcoming blogs if you want a new lens on this industry's major gatherings. And please let us know what you think about it. You can email me at email@example.com.
Respond to SN's Viewpoints online at supermarketnews.com