Q&A-style press conference scores at K 2019

A press conference featuring several of your executives is always a great draw for the international media, leading to real buzz in and around the event. But what do you do when you have an important announcement to make together with a partnering company?

At K 2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany, in October, EMG was involved in organizing seven customer press conferences. Most were presentation style with one company announcing its latest news. But one was a little different, as it involved hosting and moderating a Q&A format press conference featuring Milliken and PureCycle Technologies.

The partners wanted to do things a little differently and chose to truly do their press conference together by opting for a hosted and moderated news show format. The format meant that attending journalists could benefit from hearing vibrant discussions and valuable, first-hand content from both companies. For the press conference interviewees, the well prepared and guided event meant that they could comfortably but comprehensively detail the partnership in their own words and rely on each other’s expertise when required.

Partnership background

PureCycle and Milliken entered into a partnership in March 2019, where Milliken’s additives could add value to PureCycle’s recycled polypropylene and thereby expand the application possibilities.

PureCycle’s patented recycling process, developed and licensed by Procter & Gamble (P&G), separates color, odor and other contaminants from plastic waste feedstock to transform it into virgin-like resin. The use of Milliken’s additives helps to ensure that PureCycle’s Ultra Pure Recycled Polypropylene (UPRP) is of the highest quality and adds the maximum value to brand owners and consumers. By incorporating Milliken’s additives in the feedstock, brand owners do not need to compromise on their brand equity when going recycled.

Telling the story

When the two companies approached EMG, it was clear they had a great story to tell about their technologies and collaboration. It was also apparent that the partnership element needed to be highlighted and that both companies should be given equal prominence and the chance to discuss its significance together.

To do this, EMG proposed using a Q&A press conference format at K 2019, where Allen Jacoby, Sr. Vice President, Plastic Additives Business at Milliken and Mike Otworth, Chief Executive Officer, PureCycle Technologies, would be guided through a series of questions by EMG’s Content Strategy Director and former journalist, Michelle Ponto.

Preparation began several months before the event. It included holding a couple of dry runs to get the participants ready and to consider and discuss the questions in advance – both the ones the moderator would be asking and those that the attending press might bring up during the event.

A successful collaboration

The preparatory work paid off and resulted in a press conference that stayed on message, but still had an air of spontaneity. The moderated Q&A delved into the background of the innovative partnership and then further detailed the technology itself and the business expansion plans. It provided the attending media with a great overview and inspired them to ask their own questions at the end. Samples of PureCycle’s recycled and clarified PP pellets were distributed through the audience to further help them understand the potential of the new technology.

The press conference drew strong international interest to both PureCycle’s technology and Milliken’s additives. All in all, 16 editors attended the event, representing 23 different publications, from across Europe, North America, South America and India. Their presence resulted in a lively discussion during the subsequent Q&A that honed in on sustainability strategies.

A comprehensive strategy

Organizing the press conference was part of comprehensive K Show campaign that EMG developed for Milliken. The communications plan also included developing the company’s messaging campaign for the event (“Enhancing plastics with Color, Care, Clarity and Performance. Together.”), including the slogan and storyline.

“EMG helped us with defining our message and slogan, as well as developing an integrated social media campaign in and around the event,” says Veerle de Wolf, Market Communication Manager EMEA at Milliken. She was particularly delighted with the success of the press conference collaboration, whereby the innovative news show format allowed Milliken to present its message in an interactive and creative way. “The format helped to stimulate an interesting Q&A session, where we could also gain insights into the media view on the market, and the trends currently at play. The circular economy theme clearly resonates among the media all across the world and it was great to put our efforts into the spotlight in this way,” Veerle adds.

Setting up Q&A style press conferences is just one of the latest feathers to EMG’s marketing communications cap. We have years of experience in organizing both press conferences and targeted press events such as Pre-K (held in Antwerp in June 2019).

Whether you wish to tell your story in a traditional panel format, or want to rely on our interviewing expertise in adopting a Q&A form, EMG is there to support our partners and help create great buzz for your next product winner or business collaboration.


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