Think of a PR event and it’s likely the words ‘glitz’ and ‘glam’ that spring to mind. In reality, better descriptors are ‘blitz’ (a concerted, intensive effort) and ‘gram’ (how can we get attendees to share there).
Whether it’s an intimate media lunch, influencer party, or public activation, events are a staple of any top PR agency’s wheelhouse. More so, they require a tonne of planning, preparation and long days (not long lunches) to successfully pull off.
From red carpet film premieres to product launches and store openings in Auckland, here are Undertow Media’s top tips to hosting a memorable media or influencer event:
1. Curate a mixed guest list
Before even considering time, date or location, your first priority should always be your guest list. Once you know who you’re talking to (and why), you can begin your event experience.
While many industry events necessitate certain attendees—media, influencers et cetera—that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative within those spheres.
As a host, you must strike a balance between ensuring your attendees share enough common ground upon which to mingle, while also being disparate enough to be intrigued by each other’s presence.
2. Make it easy
What’s the best way to ensure your dream invite list agrees to come? Epic catering? A renowned DJ or VIP? Knowing your audience; what works for them and—more importantly—what doesn’t.
If you’re holding an event for media, be mindful of their schedules and deadlines. Don’t host your event the day before their paper goes to print, or similarly, if another major event is slated for the same time. Instead, select a date and location that’s convenient for them, or if not, be sure your event’s worth the extra effort.
3. Find a unique venue
Where possible, strive for unique, novel and previously unused venues. No matter how impressive a space may be, if it’s a guest’s third time visiting that month, it’s unlikely to have any marked impact. Settling upon a location that doesn’t evoke a familiar “this place again…” from attendees, but one that sends them swiping for Google Maps instead, is a crucial third step.
4. Think like an attendee
Regardless of whether your event is as glamorous as the Royal Wedding or attracts an A-List line-up to rival Coachella, if your guests spend half their time queuing for bathrooms, you can bet that’s what they’ll most remember. No one ever notices good production, but they most certainly always notice bad.
Lay out your venue as to mitigate bottlenecks, ensure you have adequate amenities, and finally, don’t let your guests grow hungry; there’s no quicker way to somebody’s heart than a generous supply of food and bev.
5. Pacing is key
Where some events rush their guests through a whole alphabet of instructions and seminars, others bore them with long lulls of nothing to do. Instead, a balance must be struck and momentum maintained throughout.
Allow adequate time for guests to mingle but remember that’s not all they’re there to do. If showcasing the launch of a new product, centre your event around an activity that does so in an engaging and interactive way. For example, in a recent cosmetic launch for Bondi Sands, guests were treated to Friday evening bubbles and blow waves alongside learning about and trialling the product first-hand.
6. The little things matter
Greeting guests by name, though a relatively small gesture, goes a long way to make them feel comfortable and welcome. Similarly, a healthy staff to guest ratio ensures ample hosts to facilitate socialisation and ensure their every need is catered for.
7. Never forget your objective
While “having a good time” is a worthy excuse as any, business events typically have a more robust objective.
If social media share is key, be mindful of this when scouting and decorating your venue. This isn’t to say that the whole venue needs to be fit for the ‘gram. Rather, create certain spaces where guests can’t help but snap a pic – and ensure they’re well lit. No matter how beautiful your backdrop looks to the naked eye, if it doesn’t translate into a 1:1 Instagram grid your efforts have been wasted.