With Covid-19 putting a firm stop on face-to-face events for what felt like a lifetime, it’s safe to say that when we recently sent an invitation to a ‘real life event’, I had a burst of excitement and it felt like life was starting to return to some sort of normality, writes Phoebe Reid. Although we all adapted quickly and efficiently to running and hosting online events, they can’t replicate the same feeling or vibe as a good old-fashioned launch experience.
With restrictions coming to an end, events are slowly but surely returning, and calendars are filling up. As we prepare to re-enter the world of face-to-face events, here are our top tips to guide you to a successful launch.
What is ‘the why’?
It can be quite easy to get wrapped up in the glitz and glam of throwing a launch and often people lose sight of the most important part – the objectives. Before any planning gets underway, it is vital to identify why you’re having this launch event – what are you trying to achieve? Is it brand awareness, coverage, lead generation? Events can generate a strong ROI but without a goal, you may as well save your budget and time. Identifying your ‘why’ will underpin and influence all your decision making throughout the planning process.
Sorry, you’re not on the list
Ok, so we’ve identified the objectives and goals… what next? You can now start to pinpoint the right guests that will help you achieve this. Who are your key targets, do you want journalists, businesses, influencers, celebrities, buyers?
Make sure you’re choosing the right type of media or influencers for your brand and ask yourself; will their audience be interested in what you’re launching? Even if filling a room feels like you’re onto a winner, keep going back to your objectives and stress test whether simply ‘bums on seats’ is going to help you achieve that.
There is no ‘quick win’ when it comes to sourcing influencers. Regional media and influencers are becoming more valuable and the communities and people within them are important to consider. We have built good relationships with many over the years, but each event requires a bespoke search approach and there is no ‘one size fits all’. Essentially, the more time you put into your search, the stronger your guest list will become. We’ve held launch events for the likes of Tim Hortons, as well as Revere Pub Company and Signature Pub Company in several cities and use a variety of tactics to build each list. Searching tags of popular locations and Instagramable venues are just some, to name a few.
An offer you can’t refuse
Journalists and influencers have busy schedules, so the offering needs to appeal and be of value to your attendees – we call this the event ‘hook’. This will vary dependent on the type of guest, but journalists and influencers will always want to feel they’re getting ‘new news’, products, or an experience they otherwise can’t. We have kept several of our recent launches intimate and have tailored the offering to ensure there’s something that appeals to all invitees – whether that’s an influencer, local business, or journalist.
Plan, prep, organise
Planning, prepping and organisation – the three components that will determine the success of your event. Media and influencer diaries will be flooded with events over the next year so try to give as much notice as possible. Hold the event at a date and time you know will be convenient for most and check for any calendar clashes. We will always advise against certain days of the week and times in order to achieve maximum attendance.
Planning and prep is a must – we create detailed checklists with our clients right at the beginning of the process to ensure everything is organised and runs as smoothly as possible. This covers every element that needs some thought, from food and beverage to technology and the correct Wi-Fi requirements.
The key to success
There is always a chance your guests won’t be able to join you on your chosen event date. In this case, include a secondary offer so that anyone of importance can also experience the venue or product at a more suitable time. Just be careful not to offer this too soon as you might find lots of guests favouring this option over your launch.
Once your event has been hailed a success, the seed has been planted and can often be the start of a great relationship. Be sure to check your attendees have everything they need, if appropriate (e.g. press releases, imagery), continue regular communication, and ask for honest feedback. Make sure you evaluate against the objectives – take an open and critical view of the event to help inform the next piece of activity you implement. This will help ensure you maintain relevance, drive a strong ROI and create true event success.
Please get in touch with the Fleet Street Communications team if you’d like to discuss support for an upcoming launch.