As an international PR agency, one of the most important things we do is support our clients at key events all around the world. So when asked if I would travel alone to the distant lands of South America and resurrect my Spanish speaking skills to support the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance’s (DSA’s) Global Summit in Colombia, my answer was, of course, yes!
The event would be my first one and I was somewhat daunted by the task that awaited me as I arrived in Bogotá, the Colombian capital, after 15 hours on a plane. But months of detailed planning and weekly phone calls, along with the ability to strike up a conversation with anyone in either English or Spanish, left me quietly confident the week would be a success. I’ll blame the 8,660 ft. altitude for the breathlessness!
After acclimatising as well as possible, my first port of call was introducing myself to our client and the DSA’s admin team. While this would be a fairly standard, everyday task in most PR jobs, our international focus means clients are spread across the world and multiple time zones. The opportunity to meet in person is almost next to none. It was lovely to finally meet and work with the client in person for this, its most important event of the year.
My first official job as on-site PR support was to coordinate a press conference with the local and regional Colombian press. Having convinced the hotel to let the press bring camera crews in, the conference was a great success. El Tiempo – one of the biggest TV news broadcasters in Colombia – interviewed key spokespeople on prime-time morning Colombian TV, adding to the buzz already surrounding the event.
The frenzy and excitement of the Global Summit harmonised surprisingly well with the laid back ‘mañana’ style-approach characteristic of Latin America. Interviewing leading figures in spectrum policy and international regulators for quotes to include in the press releases I was also responsible for writing on-site was much less daunting when they were in the swing of the Colombian spirit.
Managing the logistics of writing the daily press releases on-site, gaining client approval during the busy event and submitting them for translation 12 hours before distribution was the most challenging yet rewarding part of the week. Knowing that gathering all the content and gleaming the most important discussion points from the panel sessions for the releases was down to me alone was at times daunting; but the experience is one that will stand me in good stead for all future events.
All in all, my first foray into supporting clients at events was a phenomenal one indeed. Experiencing the Colombian culture, which may or may not have involved salsa dancing, whilst being the first port of call for PR on the ground is something I will never forget. ¡Me encanta Colombia!