Walking into Dubai Expo one would expect to discover the wonders and diversity behind the many nations that inhabit the World. A spectacular theme park on the one hand, and a superb place for creating and reinforcing business relations on the other. Dubai Expo is a huge playing ground for businessmen and marketers alike. Today, we’re here to tell you the story of one fascinating discovery, which uncovered an important lesson on global PR and needless modesty.
Hando walked into the Lithuanian pavilion full of childlike excitement. It’s no secret that we, the Balts, love to compare and secretly cheer for our collective progress. In Dubai everything has to be the “World’s biggest” and one example tends to pop up on everyone’s mind: the infamous Burj Khalifa. Lithuanians exhibited a witty twist on this fascination around grandiosity: the World’s smallest Burj Khalifa. However, there’s a caveat – there wasn’t even a tiniest indication of the masterminds who actually produced this wonder.
Hando’s curiosity got the best of him and he asked the staff about the producer, which was followed by collective confusion. Moments and some hard Googling later, the girls showed him a search result with the name Femtika. In Hando’s words: “The most interesting exhibit at Lithuanian Expo pavilion is the World's smallest Burj Khalifa. The smallest in the city that is proud to have the biggest, the best, the flashiest things in the World! Good positioning! However, when I asked the customer service staff at the pavilion about who is the author of such a genius exhibit - nobody knew. Very humble approach from Femtika, too humble in my opinion.”
Femtika is one of Lithuania’s fastest-growing laser sector companies, a spin-off company from Vilnius University Laser Research Center established in 2013 by a team of experts with a portfolio of many years of research and development of 3D laser precision micro processing. Femtika specialises in hybrid microfabrication technologies. One source reads: “The company is targeting for supplying the growing worldwide demands of available tools and technologies, enabling true 3D laser fabrication of custom design components in micro- and sub-micro scale. Microstructures provided by Femtika are used in development of new future products in semiconductors, photonics, medical, automotive, space industries, etc.” Well, you get the picture – very impressive stuff.
We caught up with Femtika’s marketing and communications coordinator Giedrė Grigalevičiūtė to find out why on earth we haven't heard about them before. When asked about their peculiar modesty at Dubai Expo, Giedre assured us that it wasn’t about the company, it was about promoting the country as a whole: “The idea was not to show the company but the face of Lithuania as a country of modern technologies, laser technologies. It wasn’t about promoting the companies, but the country overall. I don’t think Dubai is a place to find new clients. It was more of a social activity for us.”
Turns out, the Burj wasn’t the first project of this magnitude. Earlier in march, as part of a symbolic gift to the Americans for their support of Lithuania’s freedom, Femtika produced a nano copy of the Capitol Building. With an overall height of just 0.15 mm, it looks like a small dust particle on a glass surface. It took three months for Lithuanian scientists to develop the nano copy, which is around 600,000 times smaller than its actual. A nano copy of the Statue of Freedom, the crowning feature of the Dome of the Capitol, is 10 times smaller than a human cell.
Again, very little coverage can be found on this impressive showcase of Femtika’s capabilities. Laser technologies are an important export article for Lithuania: lasers are exported to over 70 countries around the world. 90 of the top 100 world universities use lasers produced in Lithuania, as does NASA, CERN, and companies as IBM, Hitachi, Toyota, and Mitsubishi. Consequently, new players are faced with the challenge of gaining attention. Especially in a World where trade shows and exhibitions have been obsolete for quite some time.
Giedre told us that their main goal is to promote the capabilities behind their technologies and trade shows are an important channel on the customer journey: “Our goal is to promote our name and promote the technology, which is very young and those companies who could be our clients don’t always know the possibilities. So first of all, we have to promote the technology, to show its capabilities. Our main leads come from personal communication via conferences.”
When asked about the lack of PR, two reasons are revealed as potential culprits: PR is done in-house by two marketing people and the overall disposition that these projects are part of a social activity, not a way to promote the company.
“The Capitol was covered to some extent. Burj had no global media articles, but did gain some attention on a local level. I think it’s a great chance for becoming an attractive employer, but we haven’t considered it that much in terms of gaining new clients,” said Giedre.
Giedre also pointed out the importance of scientific publications and gathering content from colleagues. Luckily, she has a background in business administration and laser technologies, which means she feels comfortable in this very complex field. Most write-ups she can produce herself and is aware of the fact that some technicalities can feel foreign to the general public: “I’m not communicating in fancy vocabulary. We are trying to show something that would be interesting for scientists but also make it understandable for the general audience. For the scientists we have key publications that are targeted at them specifically. LinkedIn is great for the general public.”
To sum up, the point of us telling this story comes down to two simple takeaways. Firstly, it’s a delight to introduce you to interesting B2B pioneers like Femtika. Secondly, it’s astonishing that the smallest Burj and Capitol haven’t brought up this company on our radar before and it took extensive research to write this story. Both due to Femtika’s modesty and the lack of global coverage overall. When you come up with such an impressive showcase of your know-how, make sure you tell the World about it! And don’t forget - Expo is indeed a huge trade show.