Promoting the world’s largest robotics and automation event

The Brief

The 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) is the world’s largest gathering of leading experts, academics and innovators in robotics and automation.

For the first time, this world-class, international event took place in the UK – at ExCeL London.

Barley was brought on to raise ICRA’s profile in the UK and encourage people to attend. We also managed the media accreditation process.

More broadly, we wanted to engage a wider consumer audience and position robotics and automation in a positive light as something which can aid humanity, rather than to be feared. This was especially important given the event coincided with a significant spike in negative AI-related news stories


Insights and Approach

After holding an in-depth workshop with ICRA’s organisers we developed a clear set of strategic messages which we used in all media and communications.

Messaging emphasised the positive attributes and uses of robotics across sectors and settings, highlighting the range of technology on display from over 100 exhibitors.

To maximise ICRA’s profile globally, our media approach targeted international news wires with journalists based in London, including Associated Press (AP), PA Media, Reuters and Getty, as well as nationals, science, and tech.

Two media tours were organised with an ICRA spokesperson, ensuring that top tier media including AP, The Times, Metro and New Scientist were well briefed.

We coordinated several interviews from ExCeL London including with BBC Click, BBC World Service, and AP. After proactive pitching we secured ITV London to film a children’s robotics workshop, part of ICRA 2023’s schools outreach programme, which was covered on their evening news.

The Outcome

More than 6,000 delegates attended ICRA 2023 at ExCeL London.

We achieved 224 items of media coverage with opportunities to see/hear of more than 2.1 billion.

Coverage from PA Media, AP, Reuters and Getty images led to over 100 items of overseas coverage as well as extensive national coverage.

AP’s video on a humanoid robot that can write poetry was picked up and used by over 30 international TV channels and a social media version posted across AP’s channels reached an audience of almost 26 million.

BBC Click, the BBC’s flagship technology programme featured ICRA in an episode.

ITV London filmed at the Give a Hand workshop and covered the schools outreach programme on their evening news

Print coverage highlights included The Times, Daily Star (two pieces), The Independent, The i and New Scientist.

Online coverage highlights include MSN, Yahoo! News UK and Ireland, AOL, Daily Mail, The Times, The Independent, Metro, London Evening Standard, and Herald Scotland. New Scientist published a first person piece with video of their reporter controlling a robotic avatar.


journalists accredited


items of media coverage



opportunities to see/hear


pieces of national and international TV coverage


pieces of global online coverage

“It was a great pleasure working with Barley Communications. They ensured to get an excellent, international media coverage for the flagship robotics conference, ICRA 2023, held in London. I highly recommend them to anyone organising a large-scale conference."

Kaspar Althoefer | Professor of Robotics Engineering, Head of Centre for Advanced Robotics at Queen Mary University of London; General Chair of ICRA 2023