A few weeks ago, right before the start of New York Fashion Week, I joined three of my Matter colleagues in the Big Apple to host a PR launch party for our client felix + iris, a new e-commerce eyewear brand dedicated to helping consumers find the right fit online.
As the clock struck 6 p.m. that night, dozens of media members strolled through the entrance doors – from mommy bloggers, to trade publications like 20/20, and even top-tier glossies including InStyle and Family Circle.
Guests had the chance to meet the brand’s founders; try on some of the most popular frame styles; and order a complimentary pair of glasses. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience – when else will I ever be able to tell a Forbes fashion contributor which pair of frames suit her best?!
Based on my recent experience, here are three tips to host a successful client launch party:
1. Work as a Team: In a recent Matter Chatter post, Delia said it best, “teamwork makes the dream work.”From décor to party favors and guest lists, there are so many granular details that go into event planning, which is why you must work as a team to get through the lengthy to-do list. Divide and conquer tasks and have check-in meetings to ensure you’re all on the same page and all tasks are covered.
2. Plan Ahead: Public relations professionals know that planning ahead is the best way to approach any type of client news. The same can be said for a launch party. For example, months in advance, start thinking of the look and feel of your event venue – does it represent your brand? Is it convenient for invited media?
Speaking of invitees, plan a tiered guest list and set dates for various rounds of outreach, including save the dates, invitations, and follow-ups. Stay organized through shared documents and spreadsheets, and hold regular planning meetings with your team to determine what the next steps are, well in advance of the big day.
3. Be Social: When the party is in full swing, don’t be afraid to walk up to the reporter who’s alone, tucked away in the corner of the room. Make conversation – ask them if they are enjoying the party; what they like to do in their free time; or relate it back to current events (“what are your plans for Fashion Week?”). You’re more inclined to connect with them on a personal level, and your follow up is bound to resonate well in their inboxes post-event.
Along with in-person communication, don’t forget the role social media can play in your event. Create an event hashtag and encourage guests to share photos or comments using the hashtag. At the felix + iris party, we accomplished this through our invitations, event signage, and simply weaving the topic into conversations. An online buzz quickly followed, as guests continued to #TakeALook at the new brand.
By following these guidelines, you’re well on your way to hosting a successful launch party. Most importantly, the stress will mount as you approach launch day, but don’t forget to just have fun throughout the planning process.