By Rory Archibald

‘Legends’ is one voice for Scotland’s business events sector to showcase the country’s innovative spirit, our pioneering ambition and bold outlook. Today, we’re reflecting on Scotland’s first global digital campaign for the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market, which was launched in November 2017 by VisitScotland Business Events.

When the Legends concept was created, our main goal was to communicate that events generate ideas, create connections and can be leveraged as a marketing tool to drive growth in our key industrial sectors. This project has achieved just that and more.

Today, I want to focus on connections and the remarkably collaborative spirit that we’ve felt from our industry throughout the Legends campaign, as well as share some key learnings and achievements form its first quarter.

The benefits

We know that business events are catalysts for economic and social progress. What’s special in our industry, compared to other countries or even other sectors, is that all industry professionals and ambassadors actively support the idea of improving the industry by possessing a stronger collective voice – and it’s working. The more we collaborate, the stronger our voice becomes and the more impactful our messaging will be.

For example, VisitScotland supported the Business Events Leaders’ Summit, the first meeting of its kind in Scotland, organised by EventsBase magazine. The event united both senior leaders in business events, international experts and key figures from relevant economic sectors to explore how to create a positive, sustainable and lasting economic and social impact from events. Initiatives like this prove our industry’s cooperative efforts and helps move our industry further up the economic agenda.

Online results

So far during Legends, we’ve seen Scotland’s cities, regions and key public bodies such as Scottish Renewables, Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Technology Scotland, Education Scotland, all come together to promote one unified message – ‘Scotland, where ideas become legend’.

The first six months of the campaign saw engaging stories from Scotland’s technology, education and creative industries come to life on social media under the hashtag #IdeasBecomeLegend, which has achieved an astonishing 41m impressions to date with no paid promotions – more than 13.3m social media accounts reached each month. This is how collaboration can positively impact the industry and inspire events.

Offline results

Legends has also generated £3.5m worth of event enquiries. Along with industry partners, Legends has supported Technology Scotland in bringing the 16th European Photonics Industry Consortium AGM (annual general meeting) and the 24th International Optoelectronics Association to Glasgow in 2019. This will bring 200+ photonics experts to Scotland from the USA, Canada, China, Singapore, Taiwan, India and Korea, as well as the elite of European photonics.

Proof points

It was during Legends’ first technology phase that we learnt from Stephen Taylor, CEO of Technology Scotland, an avid Legends supporter, about the important role technology plays in Scotland’s future. We spoke to Professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh about pureLiFi and the science and technology that makes light-based communications possible. ScotlandIS highlighted disruptive technologies and why now is an ideal time to establish a tech business in Scotland. CorporateHealth International ApS unveiled the new diagnostics centre within the Life Sciences building right on Inverness Campus. All of the above and more came to the forefront and showcased why Scotland is a melting pot of technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

During the second education phase, we were inspired by Graeme Logan, Strategic Director, Education Scotland, and his national mission to achieve excellence and equity in the classroom. Graeme highlighted how Scotland is laying the foundations for future excellence through a sustained effort to close attainment gaps and improve education for all children. Viarama taught us about the shift and benefits of adopting VR technology in classrooms. To celebrate Legends’ education sector, five international students shared their experiences of studying and conducting cutting-edge research at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

With Scotland as the home of two of the world’s top-selling computer games of all times (Grand Theft Auto and Minecraft), the largest arts festival in the world (Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and the world’s oldest continually running film festival (Edinburgh International Film Festival), it was a no-brainer to celebrate Scotland’s creative sector during Legends. Scotland thrives on creative thinking, from traditional crafts such as art, textiles sought after by the most luxurious fashion houses and traditional music to leading the world in computer game and graphic design. Stewart Christie & Co gave some of Scotland’s greatest cultural icons of the past 700 years a fashion makeover at an event to celebrate the strength and depth of the country’s creative and textile sector.

With Legends Energy in full swing on social media currently, industry experts and ambassadors are highlighting Scotland’s innovation and pioneering in the energy sector.

We are looking forward to building more connections with our partners, the Scottish Government, academics and industry experts and continue to provide a strong platform for the industry to build on Scotland’s legacy and demonstrate the important contribution of business events to our economy.

Legends is so much more than a social media campaign. It is our sole key message and selling point at all tradeshows, it is weaved into our sales activity in Europe and North America and will be further incorporated into our corporate marketing activity throughout 2018. To find more about Legends, please visit


Rory Archibald, Business Development Manager – Associations & Sectors, VisitScotland Business Events