Henry Nii Dottey is the Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, UBA Ghana Limited.
One of the functions of Public Relations is event planning and execution. Many people who attend events like parties or weddings, only see the nice part of the event which is neatly set up for their enjoyment but may not fully understand or appreciate what may have gone on to get the event ready.
Staging a successful Public Relations event can be challenging, but with proper planning and execution, you can overcome these challenges. Here are some tips for Public Relations practitioners:
1. Define your objectives: Before planning your event, determine what you hope to achieve. Identify your target audience and what you want them to take away from the event. You need to answer the question, ‘What will success look like?’ As you work on your objectives, always ask yourself, and so what? For every objective you choose, it must speak to something specific and help you to achieve the goal that you set.
2. Develop a budget: Determine the resources you have at your disposal and allocate them accordingly. Be mindful of cost and be strategic with your spending. Budgeting is one area that many people find difficult. That is because they do not define the input for the event to come out with the right cost. Having a good budget is very important for the success of the event. It gives the sponsors or the stakeholders their expectations of resources to commit to a successful event.
3. Choose the right venue: Select a venue that is convenient for your target audience and fits with the overall theme of your event. This is critical for event success. Getting the right location for your event is as important as its success. Determine things like the place of convenience, parking, and security as you determine the location for your event. Do not compromise on these.
4. Create a compelling message: Develop a message that resonates with your target audience and highlights the benefits of attending your event. Branding is a great way of connecting your audience to the event. For instance, weddings often have official wedding colours while some office parties have themes etc. These help to plan the flow of the event and the props needed to put the participants in the groove to enjoy the event.
5. Build anticipation: Use social media and other marketing channels to generate excitement about your event. You may consider inviting influencers and media outlets to create additional buzz.
6. Plan the logistics: Make sure you have everything in place, including catering, seating, lighting, branding, photography, sound, and any other necessary equipment. Have a checklist and prepare a contact list for all vendors. Get a backup for coordination and assign each vendor to a member of the team. Give a call time for vendors and ensure you follow up on them. Vendors can mess up your events if they don’t show up early, so you must be clear with your call time and insist vendors respect that.
7. Be prepared for the unexpected: Have a contingency plan in place in case something goes wrong. Make sure you have the resources and staff to handle any issues that may arise. Things happen and we can never be prepared enough for unforeseen events. It is therefore important to always have a plan B.
8. Follow up: After the event, follow up with attendees and gauge their feedback. Use this information to improve future events and build lasting relationships with your audience. So carry out a feedback session through a survey or other forms that work for you. Send the participants an appreciation note.
Overall, staging a successful PR event requires careful planning and execution. With the right strategy, you can overcome any challenges and create an event that leaves a lasting impression on your target audience.
The pointers shared here are not exhaustive but provide the general framework for events. Specific events may have different plans or approaches and your situation will also impact your strategy and expected outcome.