Business to customer (B2C) events such as interactive, hands-on sessions – think cooking and beauty workshops – restaurant or product review sessions and larger-than-life’ events such as fashion shows and glamourous ‘red carpet’ cocktails are the norm rather than the exception for most of our clients from the lifestyle sector: hospitality, food & beverage, fashion and beauty to name but a few.
In Malaysia, most media invitations for PR events are issued about three weeks to a fortnight prior to the scheduled date. Really large scale or more prominent events that warrant ample pre-publicity ahead of the actual event would naturally be flagged earlier to the media. We advise clients that ideally there should be at least three months lead time to prepare for an event. However, the required time frame also depends on the scale and complexity of the event the client has in mind. Based on our early experiences, events that lack adequate preparation time will invariably encounter logistical problems and obstacles, causing operational costs to balloon unnecessarily.
Clear, concise messages
These days journalists have become extremely discerning regarding the types of events they want to attend or cover due to several factors: there is an overwhelming number of events organised by more and more companies daily while most editors have to make do with a smaller staff force, leaving them and their teams with little or no time to attend events.
At the end of the day, the determining factor – what newsworthy stories can the media get out of attending an event – still applies. We advise clients that in the planning and organizing of their events, they need to deliver that one-of-a-kind experience along with a clear, concise message. It is important to ensure that the event has something of substance, unique or newsy that will give the media something to write, talk, blog or tweet about. Doing some market research to put meat on the bones of a presentation is highly encouraged.
Clients should accept that events are not the ‘be all and end all’ of their brand or PR campaign. They have to be mindfully aware of the event’s objectives.
While the resultant publicity may not measure up to expectations, they should remember there are intangible benefits from having special events. Impressions, hopefully favourable and positive ones, are formed, touch points established and should be sustained with follow-up actions to strengthen that initial rapport. Events also open up further opportunities to build and inculcate trust and keep the door open for two-way communications and possible future collaborations with media partners.