A conference that “AirPops!”

The brief: Expanded Polystyrene Australia is the national industry body for all manufacturers and distributors of expanded polystyrene (EPS) products. EPS is a lightweight cellular plastic material consisting of small hollow spherical balls. It has numerous applications, including packaging, and is used widely in the building and construction industry. Although there are many benefits to EPS, the industry is continually under attack from misinformation about the product. For instance, some reports stated that EPS was used in the cladding of the Grenfell Tower in the UK, resulting in the 2017 fire tragedy. Although polyethylene was used in the cladding, it bears no relationship to the EPS product manufactured by EPSA members.

EPSA contracted with Font PR to organise and publicise a three day conference which would bring together manufactures and distributors of EPS in Australia and Asia to discuss global issues affecting the industry. In addition, they required assistance in developing presentations for the conference, as well as researching and and writing the opening speech. It was also the intention of EPSA to introduce a product re-branding strategy – “Airpop” – designed to reduce negative images of polystyrene.

EPSA also wanted to “break even” on costs for the event, and asked Font PR to assist with obtaining sponsorship.

The story: Font PR created a theme for the conference around the Airpop concept that was engaging and visually pleasing. A website was developed and Font PR provided the content which was both engrossing and informative. Font PR researched  and developed tailored sponsorship packages, detailing the reach of the sponsorships, which were then marketed to international sponsors. Font PR also actively reached out to stakeholders in the polystyrene industry to encourage their attendance at the conference as well as creating a detailed database of industry contacts around the globe. Local and international speakers were engaged.

Font PR continued to market the conference to registered and potential attendees via imaginative email blasts that announced new speakers as they were confirmed.

The results: Over a hundred delegates attended the event from 14 countries. There were 11 sponsors and exhibitors, which allowed EPSA not only to break even, but earn $20,000 in profit. Although it was a great financial outcome for EPSA, even more important were the connections and comradery fostered. The conference was a turning point in the maturity of the industry, with Australia recognised as a leading player.

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