fbpx

8 Tips to Holding an Effective Media Event

Experiential Marketing

Are you planning a press conference to launch a new product you think will change the world? Do you want to celebrate a company milestone or merger? How about partnering with large sponsors for a feel-good campaign? Whatever the reason, media events are an easy way to receive earned media (i.e., free media exposure). 

But before you send out invitations, it’s your job to follow critical steps that’ll intrigue those you want to cover your announcement. So follow along, and let’s look at media event tips that’ll deliver the results you want.

Press Event

What Is a Media Event?

A media event— or press event— is dedicated to generating publicity around a new product or service. 

In the same breath as a media event, you may also have heard the phrase “media launch,” a form of media events. Media launches are when a new product or exhibition is introduced to the public. Generally, journalists will also receive invitations to cover these events.

When Did Media Events Begin?

The history of media events began when media began. With the rise of nationally circulated newspapers in the mid-19th century— thanks to the Transcontinental Railroad— same-day news cycles became standardized. Over 150 years later, digital media has allowed media events to receive even more attention in real-time. 

But creating a media event is more than writing press releases and hoping someone picks it up. Your event needs to be media-savvy, be natural, and have an angle that’ll make you stand out.

Tip #1: Managing Media Events With a Hook

You may think you have an excellent reason for hosting a media event. It might be a new product launch or disclosing important company news. But believe it or not, this might not be enough to woo busy reporters and producers. 

It takes an engaging, relevant, and timely hook to reel them in. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Will the reason for your event shake up your industry?
  • Does your event bring outside value beyond what can be read in a press release?
  • Can your message resonate beyond your event?

Tip #2: Create a PR Plan for an Event

As the saying goes, “you can’t pull the cart before the horse.” In the case of your media event, before you reach out to the press, you need a detailed execution strategy. Let’s look at some core elements that need to be nailed down before you reach out:

  • The date and time: Your guests may prefer a weekend or evening event, but that’s when newsrooms are less-staffed. Similarly, choose a date and time that doesn’t conflict with other major events of interest to your target audience. 
  • The location: This is like “function over fashion.” You might want a scenic locale for your event, but is it easily accessible? Is there adequate parking to accommodate guests and the media? 
  • The set-up: If you want the most detailed coverage for your event, provide a dedicated space for media where they can hear and see speakers and have room for video equipment. Also, if you’ve arranged one-on-one interviews, offer a separate area that’s quiet, professional, and comfortable. 
  • The speakers: Who are they? What information do they need? The last thing you want happening at your media event is to have those publicly representing your company be unprepared.
  • Food and drinks: If your event is longer than an hour, provide food and beverages. Food truck catering is an easy— and delicious— way to keep guests hydrated and well-fed. And that means it’ll keep them from leaving early.

Tip #3: Write a Press Release

Announcing your event with a press release will help the media decide if your “story” is worth covering. Therefore, make sure it’s good and keep it short. Also, if there’s one thing reporters and editors hate above all else, it’s hype. So whatever you do, don’t make your press release a sales pitch.

There’s also a sweet spot for when you should send out your press release. Not too early, so it’s forgotten, but not too late, after stories have already been assigned. A good rule of thumb is to send your press release between three days and a week before your event.

Tip #4: Master Your Timeline

Now that you have a PR plan and know what your press release needs to say— and when you should send it— master your timeline. From the date of your media event, work backward. This includes booking the venue, creating a guest and media list, writing your press release, sending invitations, and more. 

Circling back to press releases, a working draft should be finalized two weeks before releasing it. That’ll give you enough time to edit quotes and content and receive final approval. The more items you have crossed off your to-do list, the more time you have to follow up with interested parties who want to attend your event.

Tip #5: Follow Up With Media Pitches

Let’s say you’re timeline is on the right track, and your press release has been sent. What’s next? Well, determination is one of the keys to success. Now it’s time to follow up with media pitches. And this is where that news hook you came up with earlier comes in handy. 

When reaching out to specific reporters and producers, here are a few tips that’ll help you pique their interest:

  • Tailor your story to a reporter’s specific area of coverage (or “beat”).
  • Provide reporters ahead of time with resources like research and statistics that will help shape their coverage. 
  • Make company spokespeople available to speak with the media and make their schedules flexible. 
  • Some reporters may want to attend your event but can’t. Keep them posted on what’s happening and offer a one-on-one interview, so they can still cover your story. 

Tip #6: Be a Great Host

Think of your role inside a media event as an ambassador. And there are plenty of ways you can ingratiate yourself with them. Giving them your cell phone number offers convenience (like, if they need to reach you because they’re running late or got lost). Also, greet them when they arrive so they can put a face to their point of contact. 

Just like you, people who are in the media work long hours and on tight deadlines. Imagine how they feel attending an event, meeting with multiple representatives, conducting interviews, taking copious notes, etc. After a while, they might be exhausted, but they’ll definitely be hungry. 

Take care of them and do something special. Renting a branded food truck serves a dual purpose: you can serve gourmet meals, snacks, or treats and your food truck showcases your brand. It’s a win/win that will go a long way with those who are there to size your company up. 

Treating them like they’re VIPs will make its way back to their newsrooms and help your chances for favorable coverage and more opportunities in the future.

Tip #7: Consider Your Media Event’s Visuals 

Your event isn’t just about what your speakers say, but what the environment says too. Because at the end of the day, everything represents the overall message of your company. So think about what message you want to send with your setting.

Additionally, giving guests a hands-on experience will go a long way to communicating the point of your event. Consider giving out brochures and/or a press kit. Allow members of the media to try your new product. 

Make sure this is an element you have complete control over because, remember, this is the image the press will be sharing with their audiences, which could be your new customers— or not.

Tip #8: Lean on Your Best Employees

The press favors events that are natural and organic. Prearranged speakers and representatives will lend authority to your announcement, but maybe you have a well-liked, personable, and engaging employee who knows (and loves) your company inside-out? Thinking outside the box could deliver a great soundbite that will drive media attention.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
MORE POSTS
FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM

7 Ambush Marketing Campaigns for Brand Growth

Experiential Marketing

Want to know what ambush marketing is but were afraid to ask? Remember when Nike sponsored the 1996 Olympics? Oh, you don’t? Well, that’s okay because they didn’t. But you probably remember seeing the gold sneakers donned by Olympian Michael Johnson— a star athlete of that year’s games. 

That’s ambush marketing in a nutshell. It’s when a brand co-opts the PR of a major event without the millions spent being an official sponsor. While Reebok was the official sneaker sponsor of the Atlanta Olympics, Nike stole the show. They aligned themselves with a celebrity of one of the games’ most popular events and made bank in the process.

Ambush marketing is a maverick approach to advertising. And you don’t need to be a global brand like Nike to crash the party. So let’s dive deeper into what it is. And we’ll also give you seven ideas you can use to get an edge over your competition.

A Quick Primer on Ambush Marketing

Ambush marketing rides the coat-tails of another brand’s campaign to raise awareness— generally in the context of event sponsorships.

With the Tokyo Olympics a little more than two months away, let’s look at another example from the games. In 1992, during the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, France, a bitter feud erupted between American Express and Visa. Visa shelled out $20 million to be the games’ official credit card sponsor and reminded viewers that “The Olympics don’t take American Express.”

Not to be outdone, American Express looked ahead to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona with ads running against Visa featuring the slogan, “When you go to Spain, you’ll need a passport— but you don’t need a Visa.” 

When you think about it, ambush marketing is like sports. Sports, in the sense where two main rivals duke it out for ultimate supremacy.

Seven Types of Ambush Marketing (and How To Use Them)

Ambush marketing flies in the face of traditional marketing sensibilities, just as guerrilla marketing does. Likewise, it involves a lot of risk-taking, ethically and legally. So it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before diving in. For your brand or business, we suggest investing in indirect ambushing. 

While still intentional, indirect marketing is association through suggestion. Its aim isn’t to infringe directly on a competitor’s stake. Simply put, it’s a less aggressive approach to a risky marketing strategy. 

1. Associative Ambushing

Associative ambushing is a subtle way for a brand to attach itself to a big event, creating the illusion it’s a part of the big show. 

Let’s say your brand makes custom hats, and you want to time your campaign around the Kentucky Derby— known for showcasing elegant and stylish hats as much as the race itself. Throw your own pre-race party and book a mobile showroom showcasing your products. And remember to get the word out and invite people to attend using the social media hashtag #KentuckyDerby.

2. Distractive Ambushing

Your brand may not be directly involved in an event, but you can still revolve around its orbit with ambush marketing. Distractive ambushing creates a presence at or near an event, siphoning off publicity and/or consumer awareness.  

If you own a start-up skincare company and want to jump ahead of those big-name brands, set up a kiosk centrally located to one of their stores and entice customers to check you out. If they’re offering a 10% off sale on their products, one-up them with a 20% discount and attract value-conscious consumers.

3. Values Ambushing  

With values marketing, a brand will co-opt the message of an event, implying an association related to its central value. 

In 2008, Puma revolved its spring and summer soccer-themed campaigns around the values of that year’s 2008 UEFA European Championships. The brand’s “June 2008: Together Everywhere” campaign was, while not a direct advertisement for the tournament, closely aligned with its theme emphasizing unity and social justice. 

4. Insurgent Ambushing 

In the world of ambush marketing, insurgent ambushing surprises with creative promotions— like street team marketing. 

July is National Ice Cream Month. And it’s even federally recognized— starting in 1984 after President Reagan’s proclamation. It’s a powerhouse marketing month from the biggest ice cream brands in the world, but that doesn’t mean your ice cream truck can’t get a scoop of the free press. Hire brand ambassadors— or even use your staff— and hit the streets giving away cones and cups. 

Even if your business doesn’t sell ice cream, you can use this cool treat as a form of ambush marketing. Check out Calvin Klein’s 2019 campaign combining free ice cream cones with their signature briefs using a branded food truck.

5. Parallel Property Ambushing

Say your sneaker company isn’t an Olympics sponsor. Try hosting a one-day fun run during the games, prompting your customers with a call-to-action on social media to participate. 

That’s parallel property ambushing. The goal is to schedule and launch a campaign side-by-side with a more significant event. This is an excellent way for small businesses to receive coverage on the heels of a popular event.

6. Unintentional Ambushing

 

Unintentional ambushing is free publicity when you weren’t even looking for it. Maybe an event headliner gives your brand a shoutout. Well, away you go! Some consumers will automatically think your company is aligned with the event. 

This is a good time to outreach with influencers. Aside from having a devoted base of followers, they’re inspirations for businesses to harness the power of social media. Approval from an established beauty influencer can take your mom-and-pop makeup company to new heights.

7. Saturation Ambushing

 

Your brand may make no mention of the event it wants to connect with. But you capitalize anyway by timing an increase in marketing throughout. 

Saturation ambushing wiggles its way into the conversation without any associative suggestion. This will help you gain mileage with consumers without having to spend money paying someone else for the privilege.

Take a Smart Risk and Boost Your Brand With Ambush Marketing 

Even though it’s controversial, ambush marketing continues to be the rebel in the marketing world that’s paying dividends. Ambush marketing raises awareness, enhances consumer perception, and may help you gain a share of the market. If you decide it’s right for you, be creative, launch an effective and well-timed campaign, and make sure you understand all legalities.  

Once you check those boxes, your ambush marketing campaign will make you a trendsetting brand that goes against the grain.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
MORE POSTS
FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM

How To Create and Optimize a Great Guerrilla Marketing Strategy

Experiential Marketing

If you’re a brand or marketer with lofty goals but a small budget, guerrilla marketing is enticing. Why? Because it’s a low investment, high impact strategy. The best guerrilla marketing strategy is big on ideas and low on expenses. But that requires sticking the landing, and that’s no easy feat. You want consumers to notice you but for the right reasons. Thankfully, that’s easy. All it takes is thinking like your audience— something you spend a lot of time doing already— and captivating them in a way aligning with what excites them.  

Still interested? Let’s look at tips that’ll help you create and optimize a guerrilla marketing strategy that’ll launch an epic campaign.

The Art of Guerrilla Marketing

In 1984, advertising executive Jay Conrad Levinson penned the first edition of his pioneering book, “Guerrilla Marketing.”

The essence of Levinson’s book is simple: “guerrilla marketing is the art of getting consumers to pay attention through brute force of a vivid imagination.”

It’s crucial to remember that consumers are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of media messages on a given day. The best kind of guerrilla marketing strategy is rooted firmly in resourcefulness and ingenuity that goes further than just throwing money at an idea.

Tip #1: Go Against The Grain

When developing a guerrilla marketing strategy, the simplest way to separate your business from its competitors is sometimes going in the opposite direction of what they’re doing. So, when they “go left,” you “go right.” 

What does that mean? Here’s an example: In the feel-good era of body positivity, Dutch fitness company Fitness First launched a direct— albeit risky— guerrilla marketing campaign that flew in its face. The campaign saw commuters sitting on a bus stop bench showing their weight. 

Was it confrontational? Perhaps. Would it cause a backlash if executed elsewhere, say in the U.S.? Most likely. But did it make an impact that made headlines worldwide? Yes. 

When your brand takes a strong, contrarian stance, people are going to take notice. But before you commit, make sure you understand there’s a high probability some will be turned off. Alternatively, others will be drawn into your campaign’s boldness. If nothing else, it’s a surefire way to turn heads.

Tip #2: Hit the Streets

In the guerrilla marketing playbook, street team marketing is as old as marketing itself. With the outside world at your disposal, you have an outlet for— near— unlimited creativity. Plus, compared to other guerrilla marketing strategies, this one tends to generate immediate impact and a high chance of going viral on social media. Here’s one strategy that paid dividends:

Bounty Cleans Up Life-Sized Messes

Bounty paper towels wanted to show consumers that its products can “make small work of big messes.” Really big messes. In New York City, Bounty erected life-sized “messes,” like a giant coffee cup knocked over and a melting popsicle. Not only did these visuals grab attention, but they were also photo-ops that had Bounty’s logo and slogan front-and-center. And that guerrilla marketing strategy helped the brand be the background for social media selfies shared by millions.

Bounty Life Sized Messes

Tip #3: Disrupt the Space You’re In

Guerrilla marketing gets a bad rap for being too aggressive and shocking people that can be jarring and— frankly— off-putting. But your brand can be the disruptor without disrupting people’s lives. This is commonly referred to as “ambient marketing” and is about using physical space, opposed to who’s in it. 

In other words, you are altering the atmosphere by inserting yourself in it. 

Take a look at this ad from Bic. A giant razor cutting through thick grass? Not something you’d expect to see. But this is a unique take for a well-known product that showcases its effectiveness in an unconventional space.

Bonus Tip: Leverage Your Loyal Fans

Marketing— any form of marketing really— requires polish and finesse. It takes a team of creative minds a lot of time and energy to execute successful campaigns. But did you know you aren’t the only one who can generate content for your brand? Take a look at your customers because they’re built-in marketers keenly aware of who you are, what you do, and why you’re so great at it! Oh, and they’re probably on social media, creating free PR for you with user-generated content. 

When you have fans active on social media and/or who can create visual content like images, videos, and designs, you have a marketing team that’s at your fingertips. It just takes engaging and encouraging them to post and share. It’s a guerrilla marketing strategy that’s low risk and high-reward.

Fashion and beauty brands have leveraged content created by their loyal fan bases for years. By getting customers to post pictures in their clothes or wearing their makeup, companies make an echo chamber that’s 1. Free and 2. Highly-effective.

The Best Guerrilla Marketing Strategy Is an Extension of Your Brand

Guerrilla marketing is both scrappy and strategic. But before you get started, you need to know what makes you stand out. The campaign is one component of your overall guerrilla marketing strategy that ultimately captures your core message. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What makes my brand different?
  • What do I do that my competition doesn’t?
  • Are there misconceptions about my business?
  • How is my brand “breaking the rules”?
  • What does my target audience want, and how can I give it to them?

Guerrilla marketing surprises and delights. But make sure you give your audience something they crave that’s beyond your brand, whether it’s an experience using a food truck serving delicious eats or an experiential vehicle that’s an eye-catching billboard to get your message seen and heard.   

Understanding yourself, knowing your audience, and the kind of impact you want to make (and why) are at the heart of achieving the results you want. With these handy tips, guerrilla marketing will help you experience marketing in the most fun and creative way possible and drive your brand’s success.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
MORE POSTS
FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM