The Rules of Engagement31st May, 2017 by Fran Langdon
Running events for PR and media
Running events sounds simple on paper, but finding a concept that works for the media as well as the guests you have attending is a bit of a dark art.
We were recently briefed to develop a concept for The Glenlivet at The Spirit of Speyside; a world-famous whisky festival up in the Scottish Highlands.
The challenge was that our event would be held during an open day that people could walk in and out of. So we needed to find a concept that would work in isolation as well as on a loop.
Having designed and run a lot of events over the years, I know that one false move can result in a disengaged audience and an event that is perceived as a bit vanilla. So – once you’ve got people there, how do you keep them there and ensure they have a good time?
Here are the Rules of Engagement
- Don’t make people do too much. As a rule, people prefer to passively enjoy an event with the odd bit of audience ‘participation’ (which for a classically awkward British person can be as little as having a break to get a drink, or being picked on by a comedian). So rely on your talent to do all the work. The split is approximately 80/20 – ensure it never goes the other way.
- Make sure your space is optimised for the crowd you have attending. If it’s a small group, create an intimate space by arranging tables and chairs as a focal point for people to position themselves around. This ensures there won’t be any awkward empty spaces that make the event seem empty. A crowd normally behaves like a moth around a flame, so unless your venue is absolutely packed, everyone will otherwise cling to the walls around the edge.
- Source the best, most relevant you can. If you’re using talent, make sure you have the coolest or best in the business. Your workload in the run up or on the day will be vastly reduced, and it will give your event the edge.