#AccessatASCO: Social Media Meets Trade Show Set-up


In spite of its detractors and the naysayers, social media is a powerful communication tool. New platforms, as well as enhancements for existing platforms, continue to develop. Harnessing the power of social media to connect with colleagues and clients while adding philanthropy and fitness is a recipe for success.

Here is how Access used social media to shine a bright virtual light on show set-up.

The American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is one of the largest medical shows in the world. As the name suggests, ASCO is dedicated to education for oncology professionals and is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation (CCF), which funds research and programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of people with cancer. Oncology is a field where research and development continue to break new ground—and the ASCO exhibit floor is where companies involved in the care, diagnosis, and treatment of people with cancer gain access to an audience of close to 40,000 oncologists.

Although Access’ presence as a healthcare exhibit house across the medical show spectrum is formidable, ASCO is the company’s largest show. For years, Access has expanded its client base at ASCO, serving as many as 18 clients with processes and people that come together to create a memorable brand encounter at each exhibit.

In 2016, Access was responsible for setting up exhibits in 31,300 sq. ft. of show floor space, using among other things,

  • 40 gallons of contact cement
  • 200 sheets of plywood
  • 250 sheets of laminate, and
  • 4,000 yards (or 40 football fields) of Velcro.

Client offerings ranged from legacy and newly FDA-approved products to not-yet-approved products that benefit from building awareness among the oncologists. No matter the size of the footprint or the budget, each client received personalized service from the Access teams on the show floor.

While the immediate client contacts are aware of all the activity that produces a successful exhibit experience, most people never get to see the show, much less the set-up process. To build understanding in client companies and to give a shout out to all the Access employees who worked to produce the exhibits, Access developed a social media program, using the hashtag #AccessatASCO. The then newly launched Facebook Live was the 2016 platform, and the effort was remarkably successful, generating press mentions, social media followers, and inquiries from other exhibitors as well as an industry award. There were also companies and associations that later adopted the idea. In addition to the Facebook Live posts, Access incorporated a philanthropic component by making a donation to CCF, providing snacks in the foundation’s lounge.

A good program one year brings with it a challenge: how do we top this in 2017? Again using the hashtag #AccessatASCO, the Access team will report its daily combined step count via social media for the three days preceding show opening. Participation will be shared via Instagram Stories, with the additional hashtag #stepsforCCF to tie the activity to the contribution Access will once again make to CCF. Individual team members are encouraged to share their step counts on their own social media platforms. In addition to shedding light on the mysteries of exhibit set up, #AccessatASCO connects in a unique way with employees at client companies and builds great camaraderie among the hard-working team members. It’s more than a step in the right direction!

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