The start of summer means the return of Shell’s largest annual event – Make the Future Live, featuring Shell Eco-marathon at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. For us at Edelman, this is an exciting festival that gives us the opportunity to flex our communications marketing capabilities to tell stories across earned and social about the energy challenge this world faces.

The second year of this festival of ‘ideas and innovation’ was bigger and better than 2016. The overall look and feel was awesome, which included installations from various energy entrepreneurs’ inventions, interactive science demonstrations, giant zorbs that people can race in and generate energy as well as evening events and entertainment throughout the weekend – even an open top bus bar! The challenge this year was how to exceed the great coverage we achieved last year, and continue to tell compelling stories across earned and social. The solution: quality over quantity.

This year’s focus was on generating in-depth pieces from top tier media through a bespoke content programme. Last year the aim was to spread awareness and drive attendance, whereas this year it was about changing perceptions and creating a deeper understanding of what Shell and partners are doing to meet the energy challenge.

This was super important and allowed us to take a step back and think creatively about how we could facilitate more in-depth coverage. The first step was to build on the success of last year’s media drive – a preview event for top tier media to experience Shell Eco-marathon (SEM) by driving the various SEM cars themselves. They could also speak to Shell spokespeople and UK student teams who were taking part in the fuel-efficiency challenge. This year the media drive exceeded all expectations with a constant flow of 14 media driving four cars each. The feedback was highly positive and the resulting coverage has been fantastic, including features in London Evening Standard, WIRED and The Guardian.

Ahead of Make the Future Live, we worked closely with various parts of the Shell business, especially the in-house media relations team to create a programme of open Q&A’s for media across Europe with some of Shell’s most senior stakeholders and partners. We also focused even harder on broadcast this year and secured some great pieces on ITV, STV and London Live, each with Shell representatives featured.

Overall the team have done a stellar job in pulling everything together and ensuring the event was a success. We welcomed 84 media from across Europe to experience Make the Future Live, and to date secured over 80 pieces of coverage across broadcast, print and online in the UK alone.

Having worked in Edelman (and the industry) for just over a year, it’s been really interesting to see how the story has moved on, and how there was a need to change the strategy for an annual event in order to to keep the story fresh. I’ve learned an incredible amount in the past year and have evolved in my own role as has the festival. I was responsible for talent identification, negotiation and management, trusted to run a mini-activation on my own in Scotland with student teams, clients and media and I think my overall project management skills have taken a huge step up. I really felt I had ownership of certain areas of the account this year and all as an Account Executive level; I wonder what challenges and opportunities next year will bring?

Shell is an Edelman UK client.