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TWO OF A KINDDo you think your show could run successfully in another territory? Nadia Cameron looks at the concept of geocloning and why UK organisers are so eager to take existing shows to foreign shoresFEATURE24, a clarifi cation. This feature is not about geocloning. According to most UK organisers, geocloning, or the replication of an exhibition in one or more other countries, is in fact impossible to do. After all, cloning literally means to duplicate. And how can you possibly achieve that if you're taking a product or brand to a new territory? Language, economic conditions, cultural differences, climate, business approach, physical landmass and distance all change the shape of a show brand and its exhibitor base. "Geocloning is the emperor's new clothes," Tarsus Group MD Doug Emslie told EN. "You can't replicate something exactly, therefore geocloning is nonsense - it doesn't exist."So this feature is not, strictly speaking, about geocloning. What we are looking at is the very real trend of UK organisers expanding existing show brands on foreign soil. WHY AND HOWYou could attribute the proliferation of UK show brands abroad to this nation's obsession with conquering other markets. It could also be down to the fact that Great Britain isn't big enough for the entrepreneurial nature of UK exhibition personalities. Equally, it's just as likely exhibition organisers are simply responding to globalisation, a trend affecting nearly every aspect of commercial and consumer life. For Brand Events MD Chris Hughes, the way to continue achieving growth as an exhibition organiser in an increasingly globalised market is to be global. The consumer show organiser has two cores brand that are being reproduced abroad at a rapid rate - Top Gear Live and Taste."As organisers, we have always worked hard to look for new markets and new ideas," Hughes said. "Britain is a small country with lots of shows. If you go to other places, you fi nd new markets, which provide you with new opportunities. And once you get an initial handle on going overseas, it is easier than starting new concepts from scratch." Hughes pointed to millions of rich consumers around the world looking for things to do and buy. The trick to successfully launching your show brand on foreign soil is to look at it like a franchise or opening more shops, he claimed.Taste's initial foray into Ireland four years ago made money fi rst go, proving the show brand resonated FBrand Events' Top Gear Live is an event version of a global TV show brand. According to MD Chris Hughes, the TV programme has done the hard work by establishing the brand and its feature set in advance of the event. There are now nine editions of Top Gear Live running from the UK to Australia, Denmark and South Africa. Hughes described the show as entertainment meets exhibition and said the event format is tried and tested, making it easier to replicate each time. "We keep getting better as we have done it so many times, but we're always learning and getting cleverer with more practice," he claimed. "We now have elaborate systems to share ideas, skills and systems worldwide. "The other thing with multiple events is we can try new ideas every month. The frustration traditionally as an organiser is waiting for a year before you can try something new."Brand Events' other global show brand, Taste, operates in 13 locations worldwide today. Unlike Top Gear, the show doesn't stem from a recognised TV consumer programme and has therefore had to build its own global reputation via the restaurant industry it serves. This has meant the profi ts have taken longer to realise than Top Gear, Hughes admitted. However, Taste now has a profi le that is strong, sustainable and replicable in almost every country in the world, he claimed."We operate as a franchise that has been created in many countries," Hughes explained. "As it has grown, the industry has got to know what to expect. The produce, local exhibitors and run order could be different, but there's consistency of the brand. "The key is to be consistent. We got good at this for a reason and we keep getting better at it." CASE STUDY: TOP GEAR VERSUS TASTEwith foreign audiences and chefs, Hughes said. Since then, Taste has expanded into 13 locations each with the same format and branding. However, there are nuances including the types of produce exhibitors use and the exhibitors themselves. In some cases, Brand Events has also renamed certain content and its show currency (used instead of cash) to suit the cultural tastes of the local audience."With an overseas launch, you traditionally take some of your exhibitor base 25with you to give them access to new buyers," Hughes continued. "With a consumer show however, the exhibitors are often local. You might have some global sponsors, but it's mostly done locally. That is the disadvantage of repeating a consumer show abroad over trade exhibitions." UBM Live CEO Simon Parker agreed it was important to adapt to local market conditions. "It is dangerous to assume what works in one market is instantly replicable in every other geography," he warned. As a result, the organiser now uses the term 'geoadapt' rather than 'geoclone' to describe the rapid delivery of its UK show brands in other territories.SUCCESSFUL GEOADAPTATIONSUBM Live's geoadaption strategy has seen its security event IFSEC launch in India, South India, South Africa and Nigeria. It will tackle You are unlikely to clone a branded event in exactly the same form as McDonald's might clone its restaurantsSaudi Arabia shortly. On the back of successful internationalisation, UBM Live is starting to geoadapt other events in its portfolio including Health and Safety Expo and the Facilities Show. UBM's Built Environment business is also planning to take its newly acquired UK building and construction exhibition Ecobuild to China and India in 2012 followed by other emerging markets long-term. "Geoadapting is popular because it is a great way to grow your business in new and dynamic markets," Parker claimed. "Clearly there needs to be demand for the show and the launch has to be driven by the needs of both exhibitors and visitors. If successful, this approach offers growth not possible in more mature markets and leads to a deeper and richer relationship between us and our customers."There are key characteristics that indicate the internationalisation of your current events in terms of both exhibitors and visitors, Parker explained. That said, he claimed only a handful of brands have global resonance. "It is important to note that what we are really exporting is our knowledge of industries as well as our contacts and skill in putting together successful events," he continued. "In some instances we have not used our 'UK' brand but launched a completely new brand using our skills, contacts and experience."Tarsus Group arguably has one of the most successful trade show brands running in multiple territories. The UK-based group's Labelexpo exhibition, which started in the US, now operates in 10 locations globally and each has been profi table fi rst time. Interestingly, none involves joint ventures (JVs). "Taking an exhibition brand into a new territory is defi nitely less risky than a fresh launch, provided your customers are willing to support it," Emslie said. "Labelexpo is one of the few truly global industry exhibitions because it has 150 core exhibitors that are multinationals and market themselves on a global basis. In the majority of industries, you don't have that. "If your top six guys say yes, then you know it will be a success."Having proven your show brand in more than one territory also helps attract a higher caliber of exhibitor when you expand into even more diverse locations under the same moniker."Our exhibitors recognise the brand and will therefore follow it provided we go to territories that they are interested in," Emslie said. "In contrast, a regional show covering the same industry will only get agents exhibiting."THE RISKSFor UBM Live's Parker, there are several risks to watch out for when you're geoadapting a show in an unfamiliar territory. At the top of the list is researching and engaging with the market in advance to ensure the show concept will resonate. Practical considerations that then need to be factored in are venue availability, political stability, competition, local legislation and staff resources. To do it well, your team will also need to spend a great deal of time in the country understanding local circumstances, culture and market conditions. "You can't just take a product wholesale and expect it to be the same in China or India," Emslie continued. "You need local buy-in and particularly in emerging markets, to recognise that senior managers respect engaging with other senior managers. You also need a local industry champion. We have