Press events aren’t what they used to be. Gone are the days of companies sharing a few key details about their product or service and calling it a day. Modern press events are experiences in and of themselves, and serve as opportunities not only to immerse the media in the brand’s character and vision, but to make a lasting impression on journalists by engaging them as if they were consumers. Today’s savviest event marketers are elevating their press events by asking what the media wants—and delivering. Here’s a look at how to make it happen.
TIMING: If you know anything about journalists, you know that they live and breathe by their deadlines. That means the timing of press events should give attendees ample time to both attend the full event and put the story together before deadline hits. This is especially important to keep in mind when planning after-hours events. And remember—just like everyone else, journalists have busy lives both professionally and personally, so keep the event short and sweet when possible.
THE SENSES: Engaging the senses is a great strategy for just about any event, especially when it comes to creating memorable experiences. Just as brands build multisensory engagements for consumers, the same can be done for the press. That was the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ approach for its press conference announcing the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. Media at the event got to experience three culinary-based installations that aimed to convey the festival’s artistry though food. One of the installations, which represented an underwater concert to be performed at the festival, included replicas of musical instruments frozen into blocks of ice, creating one-of-a-kind sculptures. To boot, the station’s sushi and ceviche offerings provided attendees with a taste of the ocean. And a well-fed journalist, of course, is a happy journalist.
PRESENTATION: In a world of shrinking attention spans and endless distractions, how you present your product or service to the media directly affects the success (or lack thereof) of the message. Talking at the media for an hour isn’t going to cut it. Instead, focus on making a truly visual display. Use striking photos, video and social media feeds to create a dynamic and compelling presentation that visually captures what you’re trying to convey. Not only will the media be more likely to stay engaged, they’ll be more likely to retain the message.
VENUE: If you really want to make an impression, consider holding your press event in a location that reinforces its messaging. That’s exactly what LG did for the launch of its LG SIGNATURE series of high-end appliances. “The goal of the event was to introduce the LG SIGNATURE brand through an innovative experience rather than simply introduce the products in the line,” says David VanderWaal, vp-marketing for home appliances and home entertainment products at LG Electronics USA. The brand held the media launch event in New York City’s iconic Rockefeller Center, an ideal location to unveil products aimed at the “sensible rich,” city-dwelling consumer who seeks an extraordinary lifestyle.
SPONSOR PARTICIPATION: Maybe the product or service you’re introducing at your media event isn’t the sexiest. And that’s OK. There are ways to amp up engagement at lower key press events with the help of outside partners. Consider teaming up with sponsors who can add a little flair to the event. Mini massages, manicures and even astrology readings will create a more dynamic and interactive event for attendees. Just be sure to incorporate sponsors who align with your brand and overall messaging.
Finally, press events are one of the most effective ways to boost brand campaigns, but only if they’re crafted strategically. So be aware of which journalists you’re targeting, what their goals are and how your event can help achieve them. Contrary to popular belief, “any press” is not, in fact, “good press.”