Special Events 101
Among the most powerful of all marketing communications strategies,
special events offer the opportunity to bring together large audiences
and the presentation of substantial volumes of information. Whether
your message is best communicated through a campaign, a celebratory
occasion (a concert, party or awards presentation), a product
kickoff, trade show or sales meeting, a special event can yield
numerous benefits. These include, but are not limited to: increased
visibility and strengthened identity for your organization, product
or causeor what our French friends call "éclat,
élan and espirit de corps" for your workforce or membership.
Whether you decide to host a reception, symposium or commemoration,
or "roll out" a long-term publicity or development program, a
well conceived, produced and documented event can make all the
difference for your organization.
Depending on your objectives, a special event can range from
an intimate reception for 20 accompanied by food and a brief visual
presentation to a multi-day conference for thousands featuring
panels, awards, banquets and vendor presentations. We first learned
our craft in the special events area through eight years in legitimate
theater, including two seasons backstage with a large producer
of touring musical comedies, and three years in trade show marketing
and presentation with the largest producer of computer industry
conferences in the world.
No matter what the intention or scope of a special event, almost
all are characterized by their complexity, cost and effort.
Invariably, time is the most precious commodity in creating
any special event, varying in value proportionate to the amount
of time available prior to the event. The closer to the day
of production or launch, the more precious time becomes. If
your marketing or development plans include a special event,
we suggest a minimum of six months or more be allocated for
planning prior to the actual date of production.
Since 1968 we have conceived and produced numerous special events
for industrial clients, including:
- Product launches
- Sales Meetings
- Trade shows
and for not-for-profit clients, including:
- Arts festivals
- Commemorative celebrations
- Campaigns and rallies
Special EventsThe nuts and bolts
While your organizational culture, products and services may
be directed to the highest purpose, the best analogy we can make
in providing an overview of the special events process is "show
business." The reason for this is simple: In creating a special
event, one always seeks to exert maximum impact on the target
audience, using multiple initiatives and media resources to leverage
investment (which can be substantial) and gain maximum "return."
For this reason, it is useful to think of the event in terms of
its three primary components: pre-event, event and post event.
The pre-event "build" includes but is not limited to the planning
which ensures the event will provide the maximum "carry," as a
means to fulfilling your goals and intentions. While logistics
are an important part of this process, they in no way should subordinate
the critical relationship between organizational charter, policy
and current marketing strategy. In determining the themes, event
components and outcomes of a special event, the critical relationship
between who you are, the nature of your intentions and the value
you seek to create must always be observed.
Such ideas will inform the process through which we undertake
pre-event publicity and attendee/audience development on your
behalf, right down to the content of the brochures, posters, press
releases and invitations that promote the proceedings.
The event itself should be couched to convey a clear style and
ambiance. Thus settings, surroundings and accoutrements must all
combine to convey specific messaging. You might host a reception
in a four star hotel or on a factory floor. A university hall
might be the perfect place to stage a symposium or a hotel sufficient
to gather your audience. Art, flowers, food, occasional music
or a special after-event tour might add a jot of color to your
event. Fireworks are always memorable.
Given the amount of thought, time, effort and money required
to stage any special event, the quality and compactness of information,
the main conveyor of your ideas and intentions, must always be
well conceived and presented. Seminars, panel discussions, printed
materials, and mixed mediaall are important. Even more so
are the authority and presence of your keynote speakers and presenters.
Inspiration always commands a premium and is well worth the cost.
Useful knowledge, especially for professional and cause-related
audiences, runs a close second.
By documenting a special event you benefit twice, first to whatever
extent the media will recognize the significance of your efforts
and propagate your messages to a wider audience. Identifying,
engaging and developing proper media is important, but so is literal
documenting, including tape and video recording. Depending on
the nature of your event and attending audience, a video (especially
one that benefits from post-event editing) can help enormously
in leveraging the themes and messages that led you to stage your
event in the first place.
See examples in our portfolio
of special events.
Copyright 2002, 2014 The Golden Group.
The Golden Group is a marketing, creative and Web services firm
located in the Metrowest area of Greater Boston, Massachusetts.