Though event planning sounds like a fun job, event management is not for everyone as it is more often “multilevel multitasking multiplied multiple times”.
Most people perceive event management to be liaison work with multiple parties but it is way beyond that. This is the reason why most agencies charge quite a high fee for their professional service. Yet, when it comes to a launch event for a small group, brands may not find it worthwhile to allocate a chunk of the budget to engage an event agency. While it may take years of training and actual hands-on experience to become a decent event planner, if you are fortunately (or unfortunately) assigned the task of planning, here’s my basic cheat sheet to plan a successful Product Launch:
Take the event brief (and take it well)
One thing that I really hate is an event brief done over email. It is difficult to probe into details and you can only succeed at an event if you truly understand the brief. From product launch objective, to the profile of guests, to budget restrictions, to agenda of the launch, we need to get a clear understanding of the requirements before putting together a plan. Use a funnel approach to ask questions and start by asking open questions such as “what differentiate your new product from its predecessor and competitors?”.
Develop an event concept
To me, the most exciting part of being an event professional is developing an event concept. Event attendees crave experiences that are engaging, unique (we Asians always love to be the first to experience) and hopefully very instagrammable. One very interesting event concept that I heard of is silent conferences where all guests are given a pair of headphones to listen to the conference. Although I have not test this out myself, I can only imagine how much better guests can focus and absorb content. Depending on the event objective, agenda and profile of guest, come up with a concept that is aligned with your message and can help you achieve your objectives. For one, if you are organizing a conference for a group of Ministers, I don’t think you will want to attempt for a silent conference (:
Forget UX and UI, let’s talk about GX (Guest Experience)
Events are about human-to-human interactions. Put yourself in the shoes of your guests and think about the entire experience from the minute they receive your invitation. What emotions do you want to evoke? What is the call-to-action for them – is it to register for the event, blog about it, etc? From something as simple as sending the directional guide to guide them to your venue, to making sure that you provide chairs even for a short 30-minute presentation, to serving local food at your event for international guest; these little details will go a long way to making a difference to their event experience. The trick is to treat each guest like a family member visiting your home.
Timeline and Execution
Planning out the project timeline and sticking to it will count towards your success in your event. Even if you are the most organized person, event organizing involves details – tonnes of them. This is not just a tool to know when to chase your customers but also a tool for you to keep track of your own progress. Be sure to create an administrative plan for the actual day hour-by-hour rundown to ensure that every single detail has been taken care of.
Last, always remember to gather feedback for your event. You not just want to know the basic feedback of whether the food is tasty or if they could locate the venue. More importantly, you want to know if the right message was brought across. Remember to be humble enough to know that there is no perfect event in this world and there is always room for improvement.
I wish you great success in your next launch event and if you would like to speak more about this topic, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: partner HighSpark