As part of the 50th
Anniversary of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), the
Headquarters office plans a number of exciting and engaging activations for
Members, their communities, and the whole network alike. At the General
Assembly in Querétaro, Mexico, attendees will learn about these activities
first-hand, and following that event Members will be offered webinars and
materials to help them participate in what should be a milestone moment for the
WTCA. To kick off our coverage for this year-long campaign, we sat down with WTCA
CEO Scott Ferguson to speak with him about some of the plans for the
Hello Scott! As we go
to publication for this issue Members will be gathering once again in
Querétaro, Mexico for the 50th General Assembly. That’s 5-0! Before
we begin with the anniversary, do you want to just touch on that event briefly
for those Members who were unable to attend?
Of course! As everyone knows the General Assembly (GA) is
our premiere annual event. It is held in a different global region each year,
which not only showcases the city where it is being held, but also the
cross-border reach of our association. Last year our hosts in Leeuwarden, the
Netherlands did an exceptional job of pivoting the event, giving it a more
external-facing element, and this year World Trade Center (WTC) Querétaro has
certainly stepped up to the challenge! We expect to have a great turnout, a
terrific program, and exceptional cultural events. So for everyone reading this
on their way to Mexico—get ready for a great event.
Thanks for that. And
speaking of the GA, there is a presentation on Monday to introduce how we are
planning to commemorate the 50th anniversary over the next year. Can
you tell us a bit about the thinking process that went into these plans?
For sure. Our intention is also to have a year-long campaign
to accomplish a whole set of objectives. First and foremost, we want to
celebrate this historic moment with our entire family, from new members who
have just joined, to those who have been around for nearly all of that half of
The second goal of our campaign is to give
Members tools to use to engage their communities about the history of our
association. We know that Members play an important
role in their home cities, and we want to create ways in which they can
reinforce that point with all of their key audiences. For that reason we have
developed a number of member-driven activations that we will roll out over the next 12
months, which will include assets for members to use across multiple channels.
Finally, in late 2017 the Board of Directors approved a
strategic plan with the vision to “become the world’s trusted global brand
facilitating international business connections and trade,” and the tagline,
“connecting the business world.” Taken together with our unique network makeup,
and the history of the last 50 years, our theme for the Anniversary is “A Half
Century of Global Trade Connectivity.”
Interesting! Can you
give us a little sneak peek into some of those “activations?”
Absolutely. First of all, as with any milestone we want to
capture this moment in time. It is really quite special to have made it to 50
years. For that reason we will be creating a commemorative video that will
debut at the 2020 GA in Taipei. Member involvement is key here because the main
pillar of the production is interviews with Members themselves. It will be a
narrative piece that rests on real stories of being a part of our network. And
moreover, once we have wrapped the main commemorative video, most if not all of
these interviews will be edited into shorter clips that will be hosted on a
microsite that will be very future-facing, providing a new tool for Members to
use to promote their WTC and our network.
We will also be creating a new awards program for the
association, using the anniversary as the occasion to launch the effort. We are
calling it our “Champions Awards” and will launch in 2019, with the first
awards being given at the GA in 2020. We have a number of categories, and the
intent is to continue this at each successive GA. In addition to our new
Accreditation Program—coming to full Membership in summer 2019—we felt we
needed a way to recognize excellence around the network.
Finally, we are getting a bit “artsy,” as well. A bit later this
year we will introduce a 50th Anniversary mural competition, and provide members with a creative brief to Members so they can solicit submissions from local
artists. We will ask artists to create a piece that depicts the ways that trade fuels
cultural exchange and understanding. These submissions will be on display in Taipei, and attendees
will be asked to vote for their four favorite murals. The artists of the top
four submissions—as selected by event participants—will be granted a small cash
prize, and their creations will be used in WTCA marketing materials, and made
available to Members for use thereafter.
A mural competition?
Some Members might be thinking, “what does art have to do with trade, or what
we do on a daily basis?” Which is a good question! What was the thinking behind
this? How would you answer that?
Sure—and I understand! Though I should add that many of our members are involved in artistic and cultural endeavors around the world, so it may not be so strange for some. One of our challenges is that trade
and investment discussions are typically had by those whose professions require
them to do so. Trade and investment are not, traditionally, a “kitchen table”
topic. While recent global events have changed that a bit, they are complicated
topics and do not always make their way into wider consciousness. However, as all of
our members know, it absolutely should. Trade and investment are so vital to the health and
opportunities of our communities. So, in an effort to help Members engage audiences they may not regularly have an opportunity to speak with, we wanted to give create a way of building a bridge to those wider communities.
Great. As you well know, many
Members note that help building the brand locally to make the
“WTC” or “World Trade Center” brand more universally understood, is a huge
service they look for from headquarters. I wonder if you can touch a bit on how
this will help accomplish that.
Sure. We want to use the occasion as reason to speak with
press and other important external constituents so that we can leverage the
anniversary to build our profile and brand. With the resources and staff we
have at Headquarters, we cannot be everywhere around the globe at once. However,
collectively with Members we can be! To accomplish this we will provide Members
with a hefty toolkit to use in their own markets, and with their own local
press. From media kits including pre-baked pitches and messaging, to pre-built
social posts, hashtags, and video assets, and graphics that they can use across
their own channels we hope
that Members join us in this campaign. And of course, headquarters and our
agency resources are always there to help with any questions or guidance—we
want to make this as seamless and impactful as possible.
Great! So how do
people find out more about all of this?
Like you mentioned before, we will have a presentation at
the GA for those in attendance. Following the event we will schedule a number
of webinars open to Members if they were unable to attend the GA, or
if they want a refresher or a more intimate place to ask questions. And as
always, we are available anytime. Just drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alright—well I know
you are getting ready for the big event, so are there any last words you want
Just briefly that the success of these activities depends
almost entirely on the active engagement of Members—WE NEED YOU! As with any program our Members' participation
is critical if we are to succeed. They are the most important ingredient to any
recipe for success at the WTCA.
for your time!