At the time of writing, LFPR is in the middle of helping our clients with “event season”. Form galas to ribbon cuttings and grand openings, we partner with our clients to ensure their events are successful and reinforce brand messages and are synergistic with other marketing initiatives. Events need to deliver a Return on Investment (ROI) and exceed expectations. Although events are coming back strong after the pandemic, many people are more selective abut what they will attend, slower to RSVP and still value their downtime at home. So, what does this mean for event organization and promotion?
First, set objectives and a budget. Access if your organization really needs to have a big gala or is something casual and low key more appropriate? Will the event be held in person, virtually, or both? What are you looking to achieve? Community awareness? New clients or supporters? Fundraising? Sharing knowledge with attendees? Extensive media coverage? Often events are multifaceted with a range of goals so prioritize these and be vigilant about ensuring these are met; be prepared to discard confusing or superfluous details.
Next, do your research – make sure that you have costed for every aspect, check community calendars to maker sure you are not competing with similar events in the wider region, such as a fun run of a fundraising gala as people only have a limited amount of time and disposable income. Plan for and budget for the unexpected – such as severe weather causing plans to be moved inside, canceled, or postponed.
Have a clear and concise plan. Everyone who has a hand in the event needs to be on the same page and know exactly what is going to happen when. It is helpful to create shared documents that everyone on the team can update when event details are confirmed. Examples of different organizational documents could include an expense spreadsheet, an itinerary of the event, or a shared folder with all event designs in it for promotion. This will help your team understand what is accomplished, what still needs to be done, and what the plans are for the event. It is also important that each event team member has a clear and distinct role in the planning process. Different roles include planning vendors, fingering out logistics, a media promotion team, and someone who can develop design concepts to promote the event. Having members understand that they have a clear role int he process avoids one member of the team getting overwhelmed and covers all your bases. When starting to plan an event, it is good to have roles spelled out and assigned, creating documents to keep the team organized, and keeping open communication between all parties.
Media promotion is vital to having a successful event, and I’m not just saying that because I work in public relations. Media coverage helps make people become aware of the event and creates genuine interest. LFPR not only has the expertise to help with all this detailed planning and keep our clients on track, but we are very focused on how to make the news. What is the point of a ribbon cutting or launch if nobody hears about it before and after it has take place? You may choose to spend a lot of money on advertising the event, but it is perceived more positively when the media coverage is editorial – meaning that the editor, broadcaster or online influence is writing independently because they are convinced that it is of genuine interest to their audiences. It is important that your event gets genuine coverage that generates a positive buzz about the event.
Always have a Backup Plan! In this region, you never know what the weather will do until it happens. That’s why it is crucial to have a back up plan and a backup tot he backup place. If you know your event is outside, consider renting a tent or having a secondary location that is ready to go int he event of bad weather. If for any reason you need to postpone or cancel the event, make sure you communicate with all the attendees and the media that the event has been canceled so they know not to show up or know where they are supposed to go.
After the event is complete, the work is not over. Meet with your team to evaluate the event; discuss the strengths and weaknesses in your process and the event itself. Then, take what you discussed and remember those things when planning your next event.
Planning an event can be a great way to shed a positive light on your business or organization and meet marketing objectives at the same time. It is crucial to assemble a great team, establish clear roles, have a clear plan, keep open communication, and promote your event in the best ways possible.
Source: Richmond Hill Neighbors magazine | Issue November 2022 | Page 26