This post was written by Kristina Manasieva, littleBIG’s Studio and Account Manager with a special skill and penchant for the adrenalin-filled world of events.
It’s no secret that event planning is one of the most time consuming and high-pressure parts of our jobs. When we’re in that last week pre-event, pulling our hair out, running all over town, questioning “why on earth did we agree to this again?!”, we always say it’s the last time. Never again!
Then we get to the event and we realise how much fun it is, how happy everyone is, the brand results are epic..! And we remember – ah yes, this is why we do it; this is why it’s worth it. At least that’s how it is for me, some of my colleagues may disagree.
Having had a few years in the game now, I’ve learned that the pressure of every event can be eased with strategic planning from the outset. I like to keep it simple, so the five W’s work for me.
Keeping these in mind throughout the (sometimes long) planning process will bring it back to basics whenever you start to get a little lost…
Why are we here? This is where we determine the purpose of the event – the objectives, what we are trying to achieve.
With the ‘why’ of any event as top of mind, decision-making on almost every other part of it becomes easier – concept, theming, timing, guest list, catering, entertainment, budget spend, etc. Every part of your event should always serve the ‘why’.
This question can be split in two parts:
- Who is the target for your event? Who do you want to attend?
Is it media, influencers, certain industry professionals, artists, musicians, models, pet owners, kids, teenagers, adults, women, men, etc? Define exactly who you want to be at your event before you conceptualise it.
- Who do you want to work with?
Are there any suppliers, stylists, sponsors, etc that you want to get on board? Work out who they are and how far in advance you need to get in touch with them.
Closely related and usually stemming from the above two questions… What will your event look like?
This is the fun part. Put on your creative cap, round up the team and get out the whiteboard. This is where you get to brainstorm the blue-sky, most ideal version of what the event will be. Be imaginative, think BIG.
Things to consider:
- How will you best meet the objective/s of your event?
- How will you best reach the target audience in an appropriate, on-brand and also fun way?
- Event format – Will it be a workshop, seminar, cocktail party, breakfast, etc?
- If it is a public event, will it be ticketed or free?
- Does it need a social media component?
- Invitation style
- Budget (if you already have one)
This is a pretty obvious one – when will your event be held? Think about both the time and the date specifics.
Things to consider:
- Where you can, make estimated guesses about guest availability for your event. For example, if the event is aimed at corporate workers who generally work standard business hours, consider post/pre-work timing. Many bloggers still have day jobs, media events are best during the working week, etc.
- Public holidays – If it will be considered a ‘work thing’ by your guests, they may not want to attend on a public hol. Similarly, if it’s a short working week due to a public hol, they might be too busy to be able to commit to the time.
- If media coverage is a key objective, best to avoid other major events that will dominate news, i.e. AFL Finals, MFWF, Spring Racing Carnival, Christmas, etc.
- Search through Facebook, Social Diary, online event listings and relevant industry platforms to check for any other competing events that may be held on the same day.
- Once your ‘when’ is set, produce a detailed timeline to ensure everything is completed to schedule.
Simply, where will you host your event?
Often your client will already have a venue in mind or their digs will be the venue, i.e. the launch of a new restaurant or retail store. If that’s the case, great. One less thing for you to do.
If not, consider the below:
- A location that is relevant to your target audience – How will they get there and what is most convenient for them?
- Is nearby public transport essential?
- Is the venue suitable for the number of people you’re expecting?
- Does the venue have all the facilities you need? For example, seating/no seating, bar, TV, DJ space, dancefloor, projector, AV capabilities, stage or space for a stage, disabled access etc.
- Is the venue licensed for catering or will you need to organise this?
- Space – Depending on your event, do you need people to be able to move freely or does the vibe require a packed dancefloor?
- Be sure to do a site visit before booking any venue and then on an as-per-needs basis in the lead up to you event.
My final piece of advice? Please have fun! Yes event work is at times demanding, but is has also been some of the most rewarding for me. Be as prepared as you can be but remember too, you can only plan or predict so much. Sometimes s**t happens that is out of your control. That’s just life!