Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The advantages of Events in Public Relations

Recently, a lot of my work with the Canadian Paralympic Committee has called upon me to use my event and tour planning skills. In fact, this May and June, I'll be traveling from coast to coast working with various disability groups and rehab professionals to draw awareness for Canada's Paralympic team. This combined media tour and outreach effort to encourage participation in disabled sport will, I am sure, prove to be a great advantage to the entire paralympic movement. In part, I believe this is because we will be relying on the prudent strategy required of a well-timed coordination of efforts.

Hopefully, by the end of our efforts, we will be able to notice a marked increase in the interest the media has for paralympic sport.

That being said, events can be used and taken advantage of in many different circumstances. They also:

Can be used to thank your existing customers for their support. Looking to shore up your clientele base can often be best accomplished by making them aware of your appreciation. Holding a customer appreciation day or special sale brings to light for them their importance to you and in a sense, a form of membership in your organization. Once this happens, they will be more likely to provide you with more referrals. At the event, consider handing out a special membership to your preferred clients.

Events can also provide an excuse to celebrate the holidays. Invite your prospects and customers out for a Christmas party. Trust me, they'll think of you as a friend and more than just a sales rep. I'll bet you'll agree that it's harder to say no to a friend than a stranger! Interesting enough, these parties are often viewed as opportunities for networking for your prospects as well. The saying that all business is personal is very pertinent in this application of promotional event marketing. Remind attendees to bring business cards and make them available to all. If your attendees realize your event could be beneficial for their business, they'll have just one more reason to positively remember your brand.

Promote a new product line. Think of Sony, Coca Cola, Ford, on any other big brand name. When any of them have a new product, one of the first actions taken includes an announcement to the media with an official launch. In the case of Apple Computer, the most recent launch of the iPod Nano was shrouded in secrecy. The rumour mill nonetheless built up enough interest that the product's launch event became news in itself. Personally, I can attest to the model of a local MINI dealership launch of the MINI Convertible. Invitations for a private party were sent to preferred customers and as a result, customers were given a sense of privileged status.

As I alluded to before, organize a networking event. After time and if you organize enough of them, you'll build up enough PR capital as THE go between in the community. Don't think this won't have an impact on your bottom line and your business image!

As you can see, PR is more than just connecting with the media. It's also about reaching out to the public and creating a lasting image. Try connecting now with your prospects, clients, and the general public...you might even make a friend!

Mark Buzan is Principal and Chief Magnifier in Action Strategies, a full service Strategic Communications, Public Relations and Public Affairs Consultancy. Make sure to contact him for advice on reaching audiences you may or may not have yet considered in your marketing communications and PR campaigns. Drop him a line if you are looking for help in developing a public relations campaign. You can view his website at www.actionstrategies.ca.

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