Three lessons from a FAM trip
I just returned from my first familiarization trip for one of our clients, Costa Sunglasses. It was my first experience helping to plan a meeting with the goal of educating editorial contacts on the brand in an intimate environment. I’ve attended trade shows and given editors brand overviews, as well as showcased new products, but a brief half hour doesn’t allow time to delve deeper into the brand persona.
The recent FAM trip did. Six editors from the optical industry joined us for the two-day event. It took months of planning, from the hand made invitations to coordinating travel and making sure all contacts had time available to travel to Daytona Beach, Fla. in November (not the hardest of sells, I must admit, as most came from the Northeast).
Everyone arrived with ease and we kicked off the event with a casual dinner on the inlet, prior to a full day of tours, presentations, a round table discussion and sunset cruise. The event went smoothly and we received resounding appreciation from the editors for planning the trip and sharing more in depth information on the brand and its products.
Thinking of hosting a FAM trip for your client? Here are three main benefits I learned from my first experience.
- Relationships – It’s all about relationships. While it’s often hard to get face-to-face time with editors, it is an important part of maintaining a connection. When in-person meetings aren’t feasible, it also helps to just pick up the phone. Staying in routine contact with the editors is key, whether it’s sharing new product information or just touching base to hear what the editor is working on. As I learned from feedback on this trip, editors appreciate the opportunity to schedule calls to “catch up.”
- Education – Editors receive press releases all the time, and often have a general understanding of the brands they’re being pitched. However, it was interesting to hear that many don’t truly understand each brand’s story. This trip allowed us to give an in-depth look at Costa Sunglasses, complete with a behind the scenes tour, to make sure they understand the research, time and effort that goes into everything the company produces. This education was invaluable, as the editors walked away with a new perspective of the brand.
- Experience – We provided each of the editors with a pair of Costa sunglasses during the trip (several editors received their prescriptions sunglasses while standing in the Rx lab). The editors were able to test the sunglasses while we ate lunch outside and then while on the water for a sunset cruise. The opportunity to see the sunglasses in production, from start to finish, and then try them out gave the editors a better understanding and great appreciation for the brand.
In all, the trip was a success and the chance to spend time with the editors was a valuable experience.