PR events are a popular tools of the PR repertoire. How to stage a successful PR event or PR program for a trade or consumer even can not only differ dramatically from country to country but is also subject to changes in the media behaviour and preferences. We therefore asked our PR teams around the world to provide us with some insights from their respective region.
PR Events through the eyes of the GCPR team Global Arabia
We understand PR event management as the conception, creation, development, scheduling, arrangement, production, promotion and execution of events such as product launches, press conferences, corporate meetings, educational conferences, road shows, grand opening events, concerts, award ceremonies, launch parties, fashion shows, festivals, games and a variety of meetings.
Bridging cultural gaps
In Saudi Arabia we are faced with the challenge of a communication and cultural gap between the expatriates and the Saudi community. B2C events play an active role in a place like Saudi Arabia when compared to B2B events. The Saudi market is consumer centred and the media is keen on covering news that is concerned with consumer satisfaction. On the other hand, B2C does not require a lot of effort when compared to B2B. Therefore, achieving B2C news is much easier than B2B coverage.
Prior to any event, our clients are briefed about the event, the media culture, expectations and all the other vital information required in order to running the event smoothly. We try to eliminate the gap between the client and the media attendees by providing the clients with guidelines e.g. to answer all questions in a diplomatic manner, keep enough time for one-on-one interviews, socializing with the media, exchanging business ideas, etc.
Timing is essential
To be able to carry out this event in a timely manner, preparations should start ca. 45 days prior to the event as a government approval is required as per the Saudi regulations. The media should be invited at least one week prior to the event and we follow-up with them again 24-hours prior to the event. Timing is also an important element both for the client and the media. The media usually prefers events to begin from 11AM – 1PM or 7PM – 9PM. In general, they prefer short events, a brief presentation, enough time for the Q & A session and a good press kit.
Another important aspect to be dealt with during these events is the attitude of the media. The media is more inclined towards events that are fun and entertaining e.g. product related events focused on topics such as accessories, IT and gadgets, automobiles, etc. but show lesser interest in FMCG or pharmaceutical events.
Providing the right material and local advice
The PR agency should provide the media with all the necessary information required to publish news about an event. Journalists often expect precise figures and well-structured headlines covered by press releases and high quality image material ready for publication. A competent event management and good media kits also play a very important role in making an event a success.
Another success factor is to hold an event in the presence of renowned celebrities, government officials or royalty.
There is always a cultural gap between the international clients and Saudi/Arab journalists which poses certain challenges for the PR Company. Our main concern is to find ways to eliminate this gap by providing guidelines to the clients.
Every year the business trends and strategies vary. It is the PR consultant’s job to observe and experiment with the growing demands of the clients and the media in order to create an effective communication between the two of them.
Author: Wael Sabri, Managing Director of GlobalCom PR Network (GCPR) member Global Arabia