Show or No Show

ExhibitionThe value and merits of trade expos

In my role as Business Development Director for Smith Goodfellow, I attend some 20 plus expos and trade shows a year, many at the NEC Birmingham, some in London, some in Manchester.

I often get asked the immortal question: “Why?”

I get asked by other PR and Marketing folk… a lot!

I get asked by business owners and directors, most of them look at me with sceptical eyes, mainly questioning the value of the time involved. I always fall back on two clear reasons that determine my ‘why’.

The first is that more business is done by people who meet people, and have built some form of relationship. We are after all in the communications business.

The second is that Smith Goodfellow is a specialist consultancy and we need to know what’s happening within the industry. Who is launching what, what the new rules and regulations are, what’s happening in the BIM world, and what are the perceived developments in the future. The quality of the seminars at these shows are mostly very good value and an excellent indicator of the direction of travel and industry developments.

I also get asked by our clients to go to specific expos and report back on whether they should exhibit, which of their competitors are there, and what the event looks like, etc.

So, you could say I’ve become a bit of an expert on trade shows; what works, what doesn’t, and footfall – is it up or down? I know they all claim that it rises year on year, and we all know that they scan you if you

as go in and then again if you’ve stepped out. Even going to the loo gets you re-scanned at some venues!  It’s not always about quantity, it’s much more about quality. The best people to determine the merits of an expo are the stand owners, and I talk to a lot of them.

Every month I’ll be giving my ‘expert’ opinion on the trade shows I attend. I’ll try to present a positive critique, along with some suggestions on improvements.

I also take to social media when I’m at the expos, showcasing what I think are the best stands, the nicest people, things that make me laugh, things that bring a sense of despair. I usually award at least one exhibitor my ‘Stand of the Show’ accolade.

You can follow me with the hashtag #paulontheroad

Construction Week expo

See you out there.


Less Than One Month to Register Trade Marks

Have you have applied for a European Union trade mark before 22nd June 2012 and registered before 23rd March 2016?

If so, you have less than one month left to avoid loss of rights.


Amendments have been made to the EU trade mark regulation, that came into effect on 23rd March 2016 and allowed a six-month transitional period, ending on 24th September 2016.

In the past, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) interpreted use of the “class heading” (the brief summary of the type of goods or services included in a class) in the specification of a trade mark registration, as covering all goods or services in the class.

However, in 2012, the European Court of Justice ruled that a literal interpretation of specifications should be adopted.

This means that, whilst in the past the class heading was relied upon to give broad coverage of goods or services, a literal interpretation could result in a narrowing of protection. In some cases, protection for certain goods or services may be lost.

What can I do?

If you fall into the bracket of EU trade mark registrations filed before 22nd June 2012 and accepted before 23rd March 2016 for an entire class heading, you can file a declaration identifying goods and services of interest which are included in the alphabetical list for the class in question (in the edition of the Nice Classification in force at the date of filing) by 24th  September 2016.

If you are unsure of if this applies to you, we recommend getting in touch with your patent and trademark attorneys for advice.



Trade Mark

A Rant from Rural Cheshire


My LinkedIn profile keeps telling me that I should write a post, but here’s the thing, I personally am not the best writer of words at Smith Goodfellow PR; that honour goes to my wife and MD of SG, Cathy Barlow, who writes out of a deep love for the words on the page, and because she knows stuff about PR, Construction, Building Regulations, Air Tightness, BIM, Bolts, Shakespeare  and Terry Pratchett to name but a bit of her vast knowledge and skills.

I know stuff as well but it is rather more esoteric (I’m impressed I could even get this word into my post!).

What do I know: I know about electrical stuff because that’s what I trained in many, many years ago; I know about climbing; my beloved Manchester City; music; building and construction in a practical sense, because I’ve worked on numerous building sites over the years. I can rewire, plumb, plaster & craft beautiful joinery… it just takes me a while. Last week I replaced the floor in my caravan, this week I finished building a book case… so I’m quite handy all in all.

I also know about the value of networking and finding out what people think – that is a big part of my role with SGPR.

As for my opinions of the PR & Marketing world, new developments, changes in practice, measurement, SEO (don’t get me started on that one), I have a few, although it has to be said that there are often more questions than answers.

One of those questions is why, oh why, do some companies seem to judge an agency’s size and location with such negative eyes, even though there is clear evidence that their reputation with the trade press, longevity with and quality of existing clients, provides excellent evidence of competency? They fail to realise that smaller agencies often work harder for the client pound; they take a very personal interest in their clients’ success, and they clearly have far more to lose in relative terms if a client is not happy with the service they receive.

I am continually talking to companies and brands who have become disillusioned with the service they get from bigger (mostly London based, but not solely), self-defined “full service” consultancies. Clients often feel that they are just small fish in a big pond compared to the agency’s other more global clients. You can’t help but feel, isn’t it time to get better value for your money?

Yes, yes, yes, I’m talking about us; we who are based in rural Cheshire, with a 35 year reputation in the Construction PR field, with 5 staff (and looking for more), with an ability to offer a full range of services, with only one client within a 50 mile radius, 18 years with one of the biggest construction product manufacturers in the world… well we must be doing something right! Right?

I could be talking about you; let us know your experiences, or just tell me I’m talking b******* (balderdash).

Oh & one other thing… are PR consultancies/agencies or whatever else we call ourselves, generally a bit self-important? Shouldn’t we share more, therefore learn more?  Do the big industry professional bodies really represent SME sized businesses? Sorry, not one other thing, more rants for the future!

Paul Barlow is the joint owner of Smith Goodfellow PR alongside his very PR experienced wife and MD Cathy Barlow. Coming up to the grand old age of 60 in October, he has had a varied career (Vacuum Cleaner repairs, Electrical Engineer, Police Officer, Climbing & Canoe instructor in France, Youth Worker, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Officer) before joining SG in 2010.


Photo credit: Seddon

Father to two girls, a life-long Manchester City supporter, climber, occasional mountain biker, caravan owner, music lover with a vast collection of vinyl, CD’s, downloads and cassettes.


Paul Barlow climbing at Stanage Edge, Peak District.

This year he will undertake 60 challenges (see link )  to celebrate his 60 years. Some will be in partnership with the Smith Goodfellow PR charity year, dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the Homelessness charities, The Wellspring and the Construction Industry charity, Crash