If you haven’t been following along on social media (which — you should be!), I just got back from BlogHer ’16 on Monday. What a whirlwind of a trip! I was so excited to be accepting my VOTY award, learning about new tips and tricks about blogging, listening to an amazing round-up of speakers and interacting with brands that fit the landscape of my blog and community.
I have a blog post coming with how to prepare for a blog conference (after two in two months I feel more prepared than ever!) and my biggest takeaways from keynotes and workshops, but today I’m focusing on some of the brands that I talked with at the show. If you’re unfamiliar with how these conferences go, there are typically workshops to attend on various topics, keynote speakers and an expo, which is where brands come to talk with influencers about different ways to work together. I’ll be honest: the expo is my least favorite place to be at a conference. There are too many bloggers that are there grabbing every free water bottle in sight that it loses any sense of professionalism, at least for me. However, when I looked at the list of attending companies there were a handful that I wanted to be sure to say hello to.
The expo hall at BlogHer16 was laid out really well and wasn’t too big that it became overwhelming. Ironically, all the brands at the top of my list began with B!
My first stop was to Bai, a healthier-for-you drink that is loaded with antioxidants. I wanted to check them out for two reasons: 1. They are wildly popular in Hawaii and 2. I had gotten a sample of one after the Honolulu Half Marathon and LOVED it, so I wanted to see if they were planning to attend the Honolulu Marathon in December. As soon as I walked up to the booth, I knew that the company representatives matched their branding – fun & energetic. They were sampling Bai Brasilia Blueberry and Bubbles Peru Pineapple. Admittedly, I am now convinced their Bubbles line would be the perfect addition to ANY cocktail mix! #notetoself My main takeaway after chatting with the reps is that Bai never wants to sacrifice flavor in the name of drinking something healthy, so you can always count on their products to be packed with delicious flavor, not watered down crap.
My next stop – Best Buy – happened to be adjacent to the Bai booth, so with my Brasilia Blueberry in hand, I powered over to see what the commotion was all about! I use the word commotion, because Best Buy had, arguably, one of the largest booths at the expo and at any given point during each day, people swarmed the reps manning it. They were featuring LG Washer & Dryers, a beautiful refrigerator (seriously, I know I’m old because I’m using the world beautiful to describe appliances) and some sleek new electronics. What really caught my eye was how they had set up their booth, though. They wanted you to feel at home, so in addition to computers, refrigerators and cell phones, they had a kitchen bar set up, a living room space and lots of home accents so you could sit and stay awhile. I also took advantage of their recent partnership with The Secret Life of Pets movie and had my photo taken in their photo booth, which was a fun little image to send to my family being like LOOK! I’m the crazy dog lady I’ve always wanted to be! 😉
Part of Best Buy’s presence at BlogHer16 was to amp up excitement for new products, which they did by giving them away! All you had to do was take a photo and tweet some messaging. I think in theory it’s a tremendous idea, but in practice it creates a mob around the entire booth at all times, which can be intimidating.
The last booth I wanted to check out was Bush’s Hummus Made Easy. I am a lover of all dips, hummus included, so finding ways to spice up my recipes was at the top of my agenda when heading toward their booth. Thankfully, their biggest takeaway this year was recipe booklets to amp up the flavor on your favorite dip! Their booth was set up like a tailgate one day and a ladies night in on another day, which I thought was a great way to showcase all the fun occasions for hummus. In my mind, hummus is good for all occasions, but I know not everyone agrees!
On Saturday, Bush’s hosted a snack break where guests could sample the recipe ideas they had been giving out all weekend. I loved this from a marketing perspective — well done, Bush’s!
I also enjoyed talking with Mixbook, Embassy Suites and Knock Knock at this year’s BlogHer Conference.
Have you attended a blog conference before? What was your favorite part? Stay tuned for a post on my best practice takeaways and how to be prepared for a conference coming soon!