English: Caravan retailers. I could be unkind ...
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What some organisations in the region fail to understand is that PR (Public Relations – is the full form in case you’ve forgotten) is about the way the Public – especially YOUR public – sees you. And, depending on your behaviour and ethics, this could be good or bad.

Last week, we were part of the annual DISTREE Middle East show in Fujairah, one particular vendor showed a scant disregard for its public (the retailers and fellow vendors in the retail space). This particular vendor, Monster, is not a small player. It has a good reputation. But last week, it showed a different side and complete disrespect for the community that it relies on for business.

The event – DISTREE – and its organisers are very well respected in the community. It is a free country and anyone can choose to rent a space and talk to retailers. However, this particular vendor selected Fujairah specifically because DISTREE was running there. What they did not think of was that all the retailers that were there were DISTREE’s guests i.e. paid for by DISTREE and the supporting vendors. All expenses. What the retailers did outside the event hours, was none of DISTREE’s business.

The organisers, DISTREE Events, were forced to send out the following email to its participating delegates:

WARNING: Unauthorised Vendor

 Dear Delegate,

 It has come to our attention that one vendor has taken a suite in an adjacent hotel and is attempting to meet retailers attending this year’s DISTREE Middle East. While it is a free world, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the vendor in question – Monster – has NO connection with this year’s DISTREE Middle East and is not an authorised exhibitor in any way.

 We rely on the support of our exhibitors to make this event possible and we feel sure that you understand this fact. If you are contacted by the vendor above, we would highly appreciate it if you would refrain from meeting them.

DISTREE Middle East appreciates the ongoing support of the retailers and delegates that have helped the event develop in recent years.

Monster had a choice – be a legitimate part of the event and maintain its contacts and meetings or do what they did. Sit on the sidelines and poach on DISTREE’s event. What they have now done is let everyone (and I can safely say that the who’s who of the retail industry in the region attend DISTREE) know that Monster are not respectful of its community.

Now is that ethical? Would you do business with them?

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