We are living in an age where digital and social media dominates the world of communications. So, do events and face-to-face introductions still hold the same power in PR today as in years gone by, or does a simple press release do the job? asks Kate Goodbrand-Dillon
PR and events go hand in hand, particularly in the food and drink industry, right? Hosting a successful event gives both brands and the agencies who represent them an opportunity to shine. Whether it’s to showcase a new product, host a brand relaunch or simply to give your editorial contacts access to key influencers, events can be a fantastic way to add colour and personality to communications.
The organisation and execution of a successful PR event, supported by follow up activity, comes with immense pressure for all involved. For example, in a presentation, delivery is everything and there is certainly no ‘starting again’. Should an event go badly, journalists can leave feeling as though their time has been wasted, or worse – struggle to identify a good story from the content on offer. This can result in a breakdown in trust in both with agency and the brand, and years of relationship building irreparably damaged. Some might question if the risk is worthwhile.
But events are a fantastic way to launch or showcase a campaign, whilst also providing invaluable face-to-face exposure to targeted journalists and media titles – a way to put ‘a face to a name’. This is something that is impossible to achieve simply by issuing a press release with a phone call to follow up. Of course, events must be meticulously planned, but at Fleet Street we believe that they can be worth their weight in gold.
We recently hosted an event for Carlsberg UK, to launch the first wave of its new campaign ‘The Danish Way’. We hosted key trade and marketing media titles to exclusively preview the new TVC, featuring Danish film star, Mads Mikkelsen. The event was carefully designed to showcase the revitalisation of Carlsberg Export with an emphasis on the brand’s Danish roots, and to see Mads in all his glory reveal the secret to ‘The Danish Way’ of life. We took this opportunity to also communicate a new trade marketing drive for the brand in order to add further depth to the story.
Hosting this event allowed drinks writers to connect with Carlsberg UK on a personal level, which I feel creates a richer and more worthwhile experience for attendees and drives engagement. This, in turn, is ultimately reflected in their coverage and also in the tone and sentiment they use when writing about the brand on an ongoing basis.
My feeling is that although social and digital media has in many ways enhanced and continues to drive the PR industry, you simply cannot beat good old face-to-face communication. The power of an event that has carefully been structured to land core messaging, build personal relationships and ultimately gain top-tier coverage should never be underestimated.