A memorable moment. That’s the goal when planning an event, right? One of Sherlock Communication areas of PR expertise is delivering remarkable moments to our clients throughout an event. However, planning an event is no easy task, even for us. Therefore, here’s 5 tips to help you plan the greatest event for your client:
1. Understanding your client’s need
Understanding who your client is, what their preferences are and what they want to achieve must be the starting point. To do so, listen to your client as they probably already have some ideas that can be enhanced and adapted. Also, it is important to give the client some feedback about the things they are planning. What’s the event theme? Who is going to be invited? What do they want to accomplish with it? All these questions need to be answered properly before moving forward. Mark out the main objectives of the event and go from there, always put the client’s best interest first but be honest to them, because you, of course, is the expert in the subject. Once you have understood all the client’s expectations and goals, it’s time to talk money.
2. Be sure to set a budget and to stick to it
Before anything else, define with the client how much should be invested in the event.
Setting the budget available for organising the event is a key step and will guide you in all decisions. Research some of the cost you are likely to incur by running the event: venue, catering, decoration for each specific venue, music and lighting, and so on. Each of these items are related to the type of event your client wishes and remember: presenting something marginally over budget is ok, but going over it is always a risk of losing credibility.
3. Make a plan
With the budget ready and all the client’s needs properly understood, take the next step: start building up your project’s plan. This is the decision-making phase, every single decision you make will have differing impacts on your event.
Choosing the best date is your number one task. Pay attention to holidays, special occasions and other events of the sector you are working with. It’s important to be sure that your event is not competing to important/special occasions. The second task will be choosing the best venue according to the type of event your client plans to have. Is it a dinner party, a cocktail, a brunch, a workshop or just a presentation? Sometimes the best venue is the simplest one: the client’s office. On the other hand, it could be a fancy hotel’s conference hall – just keep in mind it all depends on your clients’ budget and goals. Hence plan a few options for them to choose.
With a settled date, venue and theme, you’ll need to start looking for catering, decoration, photography/video and music/lighting to find the ones fitting your budget. The best approach here is to work with someone you are familiar with, as it is always a good strategy for assuring quality and good prices.
After that, don’t forget to set the guest list and present press opportunities (estimate invites and RSVP follow-up costs). Remember to organise two timetables, one for the whole production status and another one for “on the day of the event”.
4. Go big or go home
No, it doesn’t mean spending more money than the approved plan/budget. It means offering the best quality services you can find within your client’s possibilities. Keep in mind that staying in the original budget is one of your best performance indicators, and from this, you will earn trust from your client. Any type of event can be elegant, enjoyable and flawless, from a small brunch with appetizers and drinks to a fancy dinner party. The budget should never be a constraint for performing the greatest event.
Negotiate the best conditions with your reliable suppliers and look for discounts, use the money in the best way possible, be creative, innovative and resourceful. These are key-strategies for having a successful event and pleasing the client.
5. Don’t leave things to the last minute
There is a reason why every event planner has a plan: being organised is fundamental to deliver a successful event. Of course, new ideas will come along the way, but you need to take the spur of the moment ideas with a pinch of salt when they appear or dismiss them on the spot because last-minute ideas can have the occasional habit of throwing up further problems at the event. Leaving things to the final stretch doesn’t always give you enough time to solve them if they go wrong. Events often don’t go as smoothly as expected, so advance preparation really shows as it gives you the time to work out any hiccups properly.
Recently, our PR agency has teamed up with Indeed, the number one website for jobs and one of our clients, to promote their event to award the 10 Best Companies to Work in Retail. The ‘Great Places to Work in Retail’ was Indeed’s first event to recognise HR representants of the sector and it was a resounding success.
The awarded companies, ranked by their current and ex-employees on the company’s reputation, salaries, benefits and career plan opportunities, were very pleased to be acknowledged for their hard work and investments during an outstanding (and very entertaining) cocktail evening.
So, these are a few tips to help you through the event planning path and to deliver your client the great experience they are looking for.