The Devil is in the Detail!
An event is one of the best ways to promote your project and engage with stakeholders. But great events don’t just happen – they require detailed planning and skillful organization.
Living in Style International 2009
Events are a key part of many public relations (PR) campaigns. PR related events can take many forms – from product launches to fund-raising gala dinners, sporting tournaments and ground-breaking ceremonies, to press conferences and training workshops.
The success of your event depends on a combination of factors, from making the event interesting to raising awareness of the event to extending your reach to engage with your target audience. As with all planning, the devil is in the detail. While for some, planning a PR event is “no sweat,” to others it may seem a daunting task. The good news is anyone can do it! And when done right such events can shape opinion, shift perception and create a lasting impression.
So what does it take to pull off a successful event?
Believe me – it’s not rocket science! All you have to consider are the 6 basic questions of why, who, what, where, when and how, and you’re well on your way to executing the mother of all events.
Let’s check it out:
Why? Why do you need to talk to your ‘public?’ What is the real objective for staging this PR event? Is your objective important enough to justify the costs involved?
Who? Which audience are you trying to reach? You need to identify the right people who fit in with your aims. Each event is limited by space and cost – do not waste valuable resources. You need to focus on attracting the right target group to achieve your objectives.
The 2010 CMS X’mas party for clients and friends!
What? What kind of event works best? This is dependent on the profile of your audience or target group. What kind of theme or angle would best attract a specific audience?
Where? Your profile audience and theme of the event should determine the venue although the exact location can vary. A lifestyle event like a charity ball, for example may need to be in a 5-star hotel, while a press conference can be held anywhere as long as it is easily accessible to the media.
When? The best time to hold your event is an important consideration. What is the best time to draw in the audience – certainly not in the middle of the year (smack during the school holidays) or at the end of the year when everyone’s busy with year-end projects and budget planning. Make it a point to check on other events happening at the same time to avoid clashing with any industry exhibition or conference.
How? This is really about getting down to the wire – planning the event. From designing the program to directing on-site traffic, venue sourcing, food and beverage, logistics, equipment rental, photography, marketing and publicity, and coordination with principal players associated with the event (speakers, sponsors, guests, etc.) prior to and on the day of the event – these are important details you cannot afford to ignore. You need to have an organizing team in place. No matter how good you think you are – you can’t do it all alone. DELEGATE!
A pre- and post-event debrief with your team (including the venue’s hospitality team) is critical to the smooth running of the event. Prepare a checklist and go through each item. Good communication is key – make sure everyone understands what is happening and what is expected of each individual on the team. For example, greeting VIP’s, parking concerns, or dealing with special dietary concerns.
Last but not least, when it comes to the logistics, no matter how prepared you are, every venue or event will throw up its own set of problems at the last minute. Don’t fret, over time and with experience, you will learn to anticipate the unexpected and deal effectively with problems as and when they crop up. Just remember to keep a cool head and you’ll do fine!