WASHINGTON, D.C. — A scant 30 minutes into the opening of the exhibition hall at the annual BIO International Convention here Tuesday, enthusiasm ran high among the 70-member Oklahoma delegation as visitors poured into the OKBio booth.
“We have something like 10 meetings going on over there on the other side of the booth,” said Robin Roberts Krieger, executive vice president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “It’s very cool.”
In fact, in a span of about 60 feet down one side of the Oklahoma exhibition space, one-on-one or one-on-two meetings quickly broke out between OKBio hosts and visitors from around the world — China and Australia were just two of the locations that visitors called home.
At one end of the 1,600-square-foot OKBio space, a constant stream of people stopped to take photos of a life-size cardboard cutout of Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, which was one stop on a “scavenger hunt” that involved 16 organizations out of hundreds of exhibitors at the Biotechnology Industry Organization conference.
Footprints affixed to the aisle floor led BIO show visitors from the entrance of the exhibition hall directly to the Oklahoma booth.
The positioning of the OKBio space at one end of the giant Washington Convention Center hall and participation in marketing ploys such as the BIO floor footsteps, the scavenger hunt and a full-page ad on the inside front cover of every issue of the BIO Show Daily magazine are all strategic initiatives designed to make the Oklahoma delegation stand out among the huge number of exhibitors at the show, said Jennifer Seaton, director of Marketing and Communications for the Greater OKC Chamber.
“I look for sponsorship opportunities that are limited so that we are only one of a few organizations and not amongst 20 or 40 or 100 at BIO,” Seaton said. “We like the footsteps because we are one of only three organizations that can have them.”
Other ways the OKBio Association promotes the state’s growing life sciences and biotechnology industry at the show include what Sheri Stickley, president and CEO of the organization, identified as “scholarships” for some of the state’s newest life sciences companies.
This year, OKBio scholarships brought Otologic Pharmaceutics, Onconos and LumiDX to the international convention.
“Having all of these people under one roof is a unique opportunity to make connections, to develop strategic partnerships, and also just to interact with the Oklahoma delegation,” Stickley said.