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Building a 365 community around a mental health tradeshow

A new mental health B2B brand is using the power of a community platform to help workplace leaders make key buying decisions in person.

Emerald launched Mentera to tackle the issue within businesses across the US, as figures show the topic is becoming increasingly important.

The 365 community and in-person brand aims to create and foster a more connected audience through a year-round digital platform and live forum.

Wilfred Krenn, brand leader, believes the sensitive nature of mental health makes it even more important that trust is built using the tool ahead of those key buying decisions at an exhibition.

He told ExpoPlatform: “We all have the need to care for our mental health, but it’s a very personal decision and discussion for everyone involved.

“We’re really focused on creating that space for our audience to come and connect and feel they can get their needs met. 

“Building trust through that 365 experience is really important to us. When you build a relationship with a brand, you’re building trust and that creates openness to those types of experiences.

“Then we can prove that business case to our exhibitors and sponsors by showing that this is the place to find open and honest conversations.

“The audience that we are targeting – the people who are making the buying decisions for these companies – are not just buying it for a few people who might need it right now, they’re buying it for everyone in the company. 

“What we’re really trying to do is de-risk that conversation for both parties. De-risk it for the audience by saying this is a place where you can get the information and make the connections you can trust. We have the opportunity to connect them with the best people for their needs. 

“For our exhibitor and sponsor companies who are selling B2B, we have the exact audience that they’re looking for right here – and you can be confident that you’re talking to the right people.”

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Wilfred explained that Mentera is a “diversified platform” that makes use of all forms of marketing such as social media, its own website and other engagement.

This will be used to build enough confidence in the brand to position it well for a real launch on the digital community after its first live show next year.

The inaugural conference and exhibition is scheduled for May at the Hyatt Regency Salt Lake City, Utah, with hopes for progress in tackling workplace mental health issues.

Wilfred added: “We see our big live event next year as really the opportunity to launch the digital community in an effective way. 

“If you have something like that too soon or if you try and force it on people who are not ready for it, they don’t yet see the value, it’s hard to build that trust.

“Having those key points like a live event as an opportunity to launch that digital community platform is really an essential piece of doing that in an effective way.”

Why mental health matters

The development of Mentera comes as numerous reports have recently shone a spotlight on the worsening impact of mental health issues in the workplace.

Findings from show more staff have been leaving jobs for mental health reasons than ever, due to factors like overwhelming and unsustainable work.

Wilfred said: “Business leaders, HR leaders and CEOs are hearing that their employees have wanted comprehensive mental health support.

“For a long time it’s been what we’ve been calling a one-size-fits-all solution. 

“Unfortunately, those services, while amazing in their own right, haven’t been well utilised and a lot of that’s because it hasn’t met all the needs out there. 

“There are all these amazing mental health companies out there now that have really been accelerated through technology.

“The use of telehealth, the use of digital therapeutics, even using data and analytics to really have a better understanding of mental health. 

“This is a big part of how we start to individualise and make sure that every person gets mental health support no matter where they are in their journey.”

Wilfred explained that it was about making sure there was preventative work available right up until and including when an employee reaches crisis point.

That could be someone in their family experiencing addiction, an eating disorder or if they are going through a difficult time and starting to have harmful thoughts. 

Mentera aims to show that there’s a solution out there for any issue by getting people connected. 

Wilfred added: “That’s where we really see our role is bringing all of those people together – bringing in those thought leaders, those companies that really excite us, that have that same passion for making the change in mental health in the workplace that we want to see, that our audience wants to see. 

“Part of that is building that brand. Over the next year, our goal is to start to bring together each part of that audience so that when we get to Mentera 2023 people have already started to build those relationships. 

“People are already starting to build a trust and a comfort level with Mentera and the community that we’re putting together, we want to come to that experience from a very open place. 

“Mental health is such a personal and important thing to people. We want to make sure that any experience we do is really respectful of that and gives people the chance to connect – not only with their business needs but their own needs as well.”

Emerald’s Xcelerator division

Mentera comes as part of Emerald’s Xcelerator division which blends online and onsite components to build strong audiences around companies.

It is dedicated to launching and transforming brands that curate year-round communities through face-to-face and digital experiences.

It builds B2B and B2C businesses in emerging industries with a focus on commerce and connection.

Wilfred said: “We’re really trying to build off of what Emerald as a whole is doing and the direction that Emerald is going with the development of the Xcelerator, which Mentera’s a part of.

“The Xcelerator programme is really exciting and definitely a big part of why I felt confident in joining and doing something brand new.

“My background is in mental health. I’ve been a therapist my entire career, I’ve worked in clinical treatment – both in individual therapy and in treatment centres – and worked in the mental health focused insurance industry. 

“It was very new to me, going into media and events. But it was exciting and I felt like I really bought into what Emerald was trying to do.

“The mission of Xcelerator is a lot about using technology to create new opportunities for people to connect beyond those once-a-year events – using community as a way to build a brand and create opportunities for people to connect throughout the year.”

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