For 25 years, the Barfield Public Relations team has earned a reputation for coordinating great events. Indeed, our success in events planning and management is based on getting to know our clients and their objectives — and sharing their passion for excellence. My team and I understand that an event is a powerful strategy for communicating our client’s brand. Therefore, we focus on creating an environment that brings the client’s brand to life, showcasing its vision, cause, people, or product.
After more than two decades of coordinating events – large-scale as well as small-scale – my BPR team and I have developed a seamless approach that helps ensure the event offers a positive brand experience. Our approach brings our clients back year after year.
Here are 12 must-do steps for achieving events that will shine the spotlight on your client’s brand:
This is the most important step. Schedule ongoing meetings with your client to learn about the objectives for the event and how to prioritize those objectives with a timeline. Practice “active listening,” so as to determine how best to meet your client’s needs.
There is no better way to manage a successful event than to manage its budget. You must check-in regularly with your client, your team, and your vendors to help ensure that your event stays on-budget and delivers the most successful event for dollars spent.
Choosing the location for your event is key to success. Think of the event location as a setting for a jewel: What location offers the most advantageous setting for your client’s brand? Does location choice adversely affect your budget?
One of the most compelling ways to engage people in your event is to create a theme. Make it memorable and positive. The theme needs to offer people a real-time, entertaining opportunity to experience your client’s brand. How can they interact with your client’s brand? What will elicit a positive experience?
A memorable event must also include memorable people. While celebrities certainly help ensure an event that people will remember, your budget may preclude celebrity-guests. You might want to focus instead on inviting guests who will offer networking opportunities – for business or volunteer endeavors. Pay close attention, as well, to seating arrangements.
The entertainment for your event should move and excite your guests, so that they associate an exciting, enjoyable experience with your client’s brand. Choosing the perfect entertainment can be challenging. Factor in seasonal event trends (weddings, graduations, weather, etc.) – which can adversely affect availability of entertainers and your budget.
Without doubt, many guests will be familiar with the rubber chicken on their dinner plate at events! Select a menu that is a beautiful presentation of your event theme and a pleasurable dining experience for your client and guests.
- Signage & Directional Signs
For larger-scale events, you must provide signage. Keep in mind that signage is not only a “place marker,” but also projects your client’s brand. If your event is held in a conference hall with multiple entrances or building levels/ floors, you will also need to strategically place directional signs.
- Greeters On-Site
The adage that “you only get one chance to make a first impression” is a reality that every event planner needs to keep in mind. On-site Greeters are your client’s brand ambassadors.
- Gift Bags
Be selective with your gifts. Too often times, sponsors may encourage gifts for solely commercial reasons. You must focus instead on creating the best experience for your guests. Seek sponsorship of gifts that guests will want to treasure and that they can associate positively with your client’s brand.
Raising awareness of your event is often a strategic approach to promoting your client’s vision, cause, people, or product. If appropriate, you may also want to invite media or other key influencers to the event.
- Evaluate & Share Findings
Don’t forget to survey your guests, clients, vendors, and team, post-event. A post-event survey is an inexpensive yet powerful tool to inform you and your team, moving forward. You also should share the survey findings with your client. What better way for you to showcase ROI?
With so many moving parts, events can seem overwhelming and daunting. But, armed with these easy-to-follow steps, you can successfully plan and manage events that entertain and engage guests – and your clients. The bottom line: Create memorable experiences within-budget that showcase your client’s brand.