COMPANIES organize various events throughout the year as a way of interacting with their target audience, clients or the community. These events may be income-generating events such as booths at a shopping mall. They may also be publicity events to either launch a product, introduce a product brand ambassador or reward customers. Other events may include the official opening of a company, press conferences, seminars, workshops, speaking engagements, participation in a trade show or a company’s anniversary celebration.
Regardless of what type of event the company is organizing, it is important to remember that each event reflects the company’s brand and image.
A successful event requires detailed planning, good coordination and behind-the-scenes organization. The scale of the event will determine how much time ahead companies require to begin planning. Here are a few tips in creating a successful PR event.
1. Identify the purpose of the event. The objective and goals of the event must be addressed as all the elements of the event will revolve around this objective. Make sure that everyone involved in the event is aware of this. Is there a theme to this event? Is this a publicity awareness event? An event to celebrate a milestone? A launch? An important announcement affecting stakeholders or consumers? What do you hope to accomplish through this event?
2. Budget. This is crucial to any event as the budget will determine the scale and size of the event. You may have a great idea for an event, but you have to be able to finance it. Identify how much money and resources are available and allow for contingency for any last minute requirements.
3. Research your audience. Make a list of who you want to invite, why you want to invite them and what impression you want them to have when they leave. These may be your existing or potential clients.
4. Determine the date, time and location. If organizing a publicity event, it is important to ensure that there is no conflicting event taking place during the same time, as this affects media and guest attendance. Select a venue that is suitable to the theme of the event and one that is easily accessible by public transport, has adequate parking and can accommodate the guests. Be mindful of holidays, long weekends and other popular events taking place. If holding an outdoor event, check weather conditions and create a contingency plan, i.e. tents.
5. Prepare a check list and internal agenda. Planning any event requires close attention to details. A checklist is one of the most efficient planning tools that keep you organized and focused. This includes every detail beginning from invitations, guests lists, mood and tone of the event, backdrops, productions, light and sound, performances, venue, F&B, media, security, etc. Creating an internal agenda with time line ensures that all tasks are completed as scheduled by the delegated person in the team.
6. Back up plans. No matter how much preparation has been done, always be prepared for the unexpected and for challenges that may arise. Be flexible and have backup plans. Most importantly, review this with the team involved on the project, should the need arise to switch gears.
Even though lots of energy and efficient planning are required to make an event a real success, planning can be a lot of fun. When all preparations carefully planned and all the people involved have been thoroughly briefed, then the event should run smoothly.
Once the event has ended, conduct a follow up and evaluate the results. As in any kind of PR campaigns or projects, this will help you assess whether the objective was achieved and improve the planning process for future events.