We've all seen it happen. The PR machine either blows the event out of the water or becomes a detriment to the experience.
After leveraging PR and events together for more years than should be counted, here is my CliffsNotes version of how to make or break your event.
How to make it:
- Build pre-buzz for your events. PR, done right, can make your RSVP event line sing. In addition to nailing the media list, leverage stakeholders and thought leaders to spread the word amongst targeted circles of influence. With our Lincoln Drive, Design & Discover events we targeted art, design and luxury bloggers to preview Lincoln's latest technology and smart design to connect the brand's innovative, design pillars with a target-right, luxury-minded group.
- Give the event a heartbeat in addition to a hook. However you build the creative experience, be sure to tie the purpose of the event to a charity or celebrity. While it's the oldest trick in the book, it still works. To drive awareness for Propel Zero's newly reformulated zero-calorie water brand and connect with dog lovers and others who live an active, healthy lifestyle, we hosted an event with Much Love Animal Rescue for influencers, their four-legged friends and the media. Tying in a celebrity dog walk led by Cindy Crawford, working hand-in-hand with the charity and donating to Much Love brought the active lifestyle positioning and ideals of the brand to life.
How to break it:
- A misleading pitch. If you promise dancing rainbows, the President and gourmet food, they'd all better be there. You need to pitch an accurate depiction of the event. If the press arrives and the event was sold as an exclusive special happening and it's really just a big promotional sales event they will slam you. The pitch and the experience must mirror each other.
- Unprepared and unavailable spokespeople. If you promise spokespeople at the event, make sure they are there and on-message. No matter how senior and experienced they are, give executives a media training brush-up to make sure they are driving all the right messages.
Cassie Hughes is co-founder and strategy director of Grow Marketing.