PR Event Planning 101: Setting the Stage
The start of a New Year brings challenging new goals and fresh perspectives for many. The start of a New Year also means it’s the beginning of the 2014 event season! As 2014 is bound to be a busy event year here at C&C, we want to share some of our pro-tips for laying the foundation of a stellar and successful PR event.
When you’re beginning to plan out and budget your fiscal year, or develop your quarterly marketing strategies, considerable time, research and strategic thought must go into creating the overall objective for the plan which you are creating. It’s no different when it comes to PR event planning – there must be a very clear strategy that is formulated before all of the teeny, tiny details (that greatly matter!) can be ironed out.
Fear not – C&C is here to provide some pro-tips to consider when you begin planning your next PR event!
It’s time to ask yourself the big question: what is the communications objective for this event? Depending on what exactly the event is focused around, the objectives will differ slightly. Setting clear objectives will ensure those fine-tuning details that come into play later will aid in achieving your objective. Consider:
What is your measurement for success? (i.e., media / blogger attendance, number of editorial hits, etc.)
What budget are you working with for all event-related expenses?
Who’s your audience: traditional media, bloggers or digital influencers or all?
How important is social media buzz throughout your event?
After dissecting the event’s overarching goal, along with those metric-driven objectives, the next logical step is to develop a theme and ambiance, which will highlight the objective for the event, along with showcasing your brand. For instance, if you’re launching a trendy new product to a group of digital influencers and the brand is positioned as sleek and sexy – naturally,you’ll want to create an ambiance which plays off of a seductive, underground-cool nature.
During TIFF, L’Oréal Paris launched a stunning new haircolour collection introducing the first re-usable haircolour with no mixing called Superior PreferenceMousse Absolue. The premium haircolour, known as ‘the crown jewel’ of L’Oréal Paris’ expanding haircolour line, needed a launch event with a sophisticated, chic and elegant ambiance to reflect the product’s nature. C&C played off of the “Red Carpet Glam” theme to tie in with TIFF and held the event at the Trump International Hotel & Tower – which is the epitome of luxury and glamour, not only with its stunning Parisian-inspired décor, but through its top-notch service as well.
Going hand-in-hand with theme and ambiance development is selecting an appropriate format to best suit your objective. It’s time for another round of questions:
Is there an educational component of your event that requires a sit-down presentation?
Is there a component of your event that requires guests to be interactive?
Would the purpose of your event be best achieved through a formal dinner, or would an informal cocktail reception be better received, for example?
For instance, at this year’s TIFF event for L’Oréal Paris, it was imperative that media in attendance be introduced to the science behind Superior Preference Mousse Absolue. In order to achieve this educational component, C&C ensured that a sit-down presentation was executed with a vibrant presentation, variety of prepared speakers (a-lister Freida Pinto!) and an enjoyable viewing experience for guests.
The foundation is getting close to being set – you’ve landed on an event theme, format and most importantly, the overarching objective. Before hitting the big “V” word – venue! – you’ll need to land on a date. When you have a sense of the timing for your event, it’s a great idea to do an event scan for potentially conflicting events in your city and soft sound media to ensure there are no conflicts. Sending out save-the-dates to media well in advance will help to get on their radar and ensure you’ll achieve maximum attendance.
As PR professionals, our nature is to quickly ‘make things happen!’ The start of a New Year emphasizes this further, even in our personal lives – we want our resolutions to be achieved with the snap of a finger, often forgetting that new goals take time to achieve. When it comes to event planning, C&C knows that we’ll, of course, make things happen – but before getting into the details, a well-thought out strategic plan and foundation will ensure the event’s objectives are successfully achieved, and in most cases, exceeded.
Watch out for our upcoming Event Planning blog posts throughout the New Year!