Last week, the Stanton Communications team had the privilege of supporting a large scale media event for our client Sprint. On April 29, the CEOs from Sprint, Spotify, Harman Kardon and HTC gathered in New York City, along with top tier media, industry partners, analysts and a number of high-level guests, to kick off Sprint’s new music initiative. This included the announcement of a partnership with Spotify and the launch of a Sprint-exclusive smartphone, the HTC One (M8) Harman Kardon Edition. In addition to formal remarks from the executives, guests were treated to a performance by Grammy-Award winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who also spoke about the importance of sound quality in a mobile world. Following the performance, a demo area was unveiled to the guests, which included the new HTC One smartphone, Wi-Fi Calling and HD Voice experience.
Any public relations or marketing professional who has supported a client event of this scale is familiar with the strategy, planning and detail that are required to make it a success. While Stanton Communications’ event experience runs deep in our 25 year history, my own experience supporting an event of this magnitude is limited at best. Going into it, I had heard stories of what to anticipate, but I don’t think I truly knew what to expect.
Although the event only lasted a few hours, planning for this massive collaboration effort kicked-off in March. The team hit the ground running and continued the momentum as weeks of preparation ensued, which included countless late nights, daily conference calls and pouring over contracts, invite lists and planning documents. And before I knew it, it was game day and I found myself onsite at 7 a.m. watching months of hard work come to fruition right before my eyes. I was overcome with feelings of excitement, anxiousness and anticipation but there was little time to spare – the event needed to go off without a hitch.
Here are four points that I learned to stick to in order to execute a successful event:
Develop a Process
Even though this was my first large scale event, Sprint and Stanton Communications have worked together on numerous successful events over the years. With a number of events previously under our collective belts, the team has learned many lessons to leverage each experience through a structure that has proven to be successful. From walk-ups at the registration desk to ensuring photographers capture the best visuals without stepping on the CEOs toes, to facilitating product demos and media interviews, we are able to successfully handle each situation by utilizing a process that has proven to be successful.
In fact, over communicate. Knowledge is power and an informed team ensures that your event will run smoothly. Don’t assume that people will know their roles and responsibilities come game time. Once you are on-site, do whatever it takes to keep everyone on the same page – text, email, call, send up smoke signals if there’s an issue. Without clearly defined roles and proper communication, your team may be running in different directions during the event and end up creating additional issues.
Expect the Unexpected
Although you plan for everything, something is guaranteed to go awry. You can deal with any unexpected hitch if you remain calm and focused. During the brief window for registration, you may encounter uninvited guests, misplaced credentials, countless questions, requests and issues. But if you are calm, you are in a better position to address these situations. Take a step back; focus on the issue at hand and what steps you need to take to come up with a solution as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you are unsure, keep smiling and be confident in your approach. If all else fails, call on your standby support to address the issue – you don’t want this to turn into some sort of reality TV fiasco.
Always be One Step Ahead
If you insert yourself into the process and go above and beyond the tasks to which you are assigned, you will add enormous value. While you are issuing credentials keep a running list of the media that are in attendance to give your colleagues back at the office a heads-up on media coverage to keep a look out for as they are compiling results. Be familiar with the run of show so you know exactly where and when you and your team need to be at any given time. Being proactive is an important factor while you are on-site at a large scale event and serves as a way to tie in all of the other tips mentioned earlier. Thinking and acting ahead is not only a great method for and averting any sort of disaster, but allows you to really prove yourself.
Aside from worrying about every detail and making sure things run as smoothly as possible, there is one specific phrase that I heard over and over again – take it all in. On the day of your event, take the time to step back and enjoy yourself. After months of long hours, hard work and preparations, you should feel proud of a well-executed event. There is no greater satisfaction than enjoying the fruits of your labor.