The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) has announced the launch of its initiative to promote the local food industry.
In a recent digital promotions meeting attended by representatives from its partner exhibitors, buyers, government agencies, embassies and media, CITEM executive director Pauline Suaco-Juan shared that these digital-based endeavors are part of the CITEM’s drive to provide a unique and comprehensive trade show experience for all of its stakeholders.
“Even before the pandemic started affecting businesses and events the world over, CITEM has already begun working on its digitalization initiatives in an effort to go where our audience is headed,” says Suaco-Juan. “With digital marketing and e-commerce disrupting the trade industry, one must be able to adapt to the new online processes, systems and methods that are the future of this industry.”
CITEM’s digital initiatives aim to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) keep up with their global competitors and maximize their resources in the new business environment, through the power of digital and content marketing.
Food entrepreneurs among CITEM’s registered exhibitors, for example, can now easily connect with, and promote their products to more buyers around the world through their digital storefronts and online catalogs housed in the IFEX Connect website (ifexconnect.com).
Their online visibility will also be supplemented by hybrid events (partly onsite and partly online) as well as fully digital trade events which are promoted through communications in various online channels to extend the reach and discoverability of exhibitors beyond that of a typical onsite trade show.
Content in the form of social media posts, press releases, newsletters, event brochures and look books, among others, will also be created under the Food Philippines brand (foodphilippines.com), to help promote the local food industry by highlighting the country’s food heritage, recipes, feature stories, products, ingredients and culinary talents while linking back to the exhibitors’ digital storefronts.
To help exhibitors maximize the potential of IFEXConnect.com, CITEM is also running content amelioration programs to assist MSME’s in the production of product photos and brand copies meant to optimize both the user experience and their searchability online. This program started with a pilot batch of 100 MSMEs with top food stylist Chichi Tullao and food photographer Justin de Jesus helping in the production.
For all these efforts, CITEM enlisted the expertise of premier storytellers in the food industry: Joey Ong, advertising veteran and Managing Director/Executive Creative Director of Dojo as Chief Storyteller, and Angelo Comsti, chef, food writer, and author of the bestselling cookbooks, From our Table to Yours and Also Filipino, as Editor-in-Chief of the two platforms.
“CITEM, works hand in hand with these food luminaries along with ODV Creative who offered strategic support for content production and event management, and UM Philippines for web development. We are proud to have built a homegrown website and we look forward to building a community that will let the world savor the best of Philippine food,” added Suaco-Juan.
Food companies and buyers are encouraged to register and be the first to experience the shift to digital. Application for the initial batch of exhibitors is until August 25, 2021.
These digital initiatives will be managed with the aim of creating profitable relationships between businesses and their customers using a customer relationship management system (CRM) which MSMEs can now benefit from by virtue of being registered exhibitors of CITEM.
MSMEs can even link their e-commerce platforms (such as their online stores in Lazada, Shopee or Alibaba) to their digital storefronts in IFEX to facilitate seamless sales transactions and fulfillment.
Another support that CITEM extends to food MSMEs is its product innovation and development program, which is now known as NxtFoodPH. It is a year-long comprehensive and integrated assistance for the development and promotion of Philippine food products to adapt to changing consumer demands.
The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is the export promotion arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
CITEM is committed to developing, nurturing, and promoting globally-competitive small and medium enterprises (SMEs), exporters, designers, and manufacturers by implementing an Integrated Approach to Export Marketing in partnership with other government and private entities.
For three decades, CITEM has established the country’s image as the premier destination for quality export products and services. It continues to set the highest standards of creativity, excellence and innovation to achieve export competitiveness in the international market.