Published on March 4, 2019, at 3:05 p.m.
by Gabby DiCarlo.
Events have a breadth of purposes. They are birthdays and weddings but also brand activations, rallies, conferences, meetings and achievement celebrations. While serving a wide range of purposes, events usually do a few things: Bring people together, provide face-to-face interactions, serve a light meal and refreshments, and support an idea or purpose. In this age of digital media, face-to-face communication and in-person brand interaction are pertinent.
The basics of event planning are straightforward. Logistics such as transportation and food are some of the most important. According to Kimberly Foster, owner and operator of Cambridge Catering, “Serving properly cooked and presented food can be one of the largest success factors for an event. Everyone loves well-prepared, exciting food, and if your meal falls flat, there’s a chance that your event will too.”
Ensuring that each piece fits together effortlessly is essential, especially when there is a larger purpose at stake. To the masses, event planning is easy but “if it looks easy, then it has been well-done and well-planned,” said Gary McCormick, founder of GMc Communications and a Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations board member. McCormick stressed, from his experience, that having a budget is an essential part of starting the event planning process. Although McCormick is not an event planner, he takes on organizational and event logistics roles as a part of his public relations career.
Events and PR go hand in hand, based on their definitions alone. PR is emphasized through relationships between an organization and its target audience, or in this case, event planners and their targets. McCormick noted that events are the tool used to step forward toward the goal or objective and create a shared experience among those who attended. Obviously, the primary goal is a positive experience for attendees, followed closely by a positive experience relative to the brand or organization to help reinforce a relationship.
“You move from a good to a great event when you build a relationship that you can draw on later,” McCormick explained. “The shared experience offers a way to publicize and engage with your audience, which yields immediate evaluation.” This feedback allows for last-minute changes and/or to reinforce event activities.
When planning an event, think of it as a tactic in your campaign. Gary McCormick suggested you “plan with a purpose and understand the objective in relation to the end goal or expected outcome.” He also advised that events should be strategic and are usually expensive, so you must evaluate if an event will move you toward the intended outcome or not, prior to starting the planning process.
“Watching the planning come to life is always exciting,” says Kim Foster, “the best part is reaching the end of an event and knowing you achieved the goal that you set out to reach.” Foster caters events of all kinds, usually weddings and conferences that are focused on the gathering of people for a deeper shared experience. She suggests always having a budget in mind whether you are the planner or client and to remember that the devil is in the details.
In PR today, nothing is valued more than a genuine, personal interaction. As humans, in-person interactions are a core part of our everyday lives and even help us live longer. If you are a PR professional looking for that competitive edge to really reach your publics, consider holding an event. Let your target audience come face to face with your brand or organization and experience it their own way.