How to run a memorable launch event
Launching a new product? Throw a party. A launch event is a great chance to share your brand’s message, gauge your customers’ interest – and eat cake while you’re doing it. The key to being remembered is to be concise with your planning and get creative with your execution. Here’s the need-to-know:
Set your budget
Managing Director at Story Events, Sarah Kay, insists that a successful launch “is all about the ideas and the details, not just about spending money – people won’t really notice if it’s Prosecco and not Champagne,” says Sarah. Make a list of all costs in order to set yourself a budget for the event and then work backwards from there. “You need to know what your limitations are when it comes to budget,” says Jodie Shepherd of independent fashion magazine, Noctis. Whatever you’re launching, set yourself a realistic budget and consider all extra costs like venue, catering, entertainment and installation charges.
Delight your audience
“Considering what your audience expects is really important,” says McDermott. Amplify partnered with five young creatives to turn an abandoned warehouse into a creative hub and gallery for Converse: aligning brand and audience values. Think about who you want to engage with your brand and what will most impress them. Get creative, it’s a good opportunity to surprise them by offering something different. To celebrate the launch of The Wurst of Lucky Peach, the latest book by Lucky Peach editor Chris Ying, guests were offered souvenir Postcards and Flyers that worked as bookmarks, a super simple way to add some delight.
“One of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they compose their guest lists far too late in the process,” says Sarah. “Plan in advance and have your guest list at the very beginning – that way, you can hone your concept from invite right the way through to the event execution.” This allows you to plan ahead and send printed invites to those special guests too.
It’s not only about who you invite, but also how many says Sarah, “Always invite 50% more people than you expect to arrive, there will always be people who can’t make it and that way you don’t spend too much on food and drink.”If you’re inviting press, remember that they receive a high number of invites so sending them something that stands out like a printed Postcard that is more likely to lure them to your launch.
Craft your concept
A launch event can be anything from an exhibition, a panel conversation, a Q&A with interesting people connected to the brand, screenings, book readings or even an interactive webinar that is available globally on the Internet. “Your concept should always be true to your brand,” says Mark at Amplify. “Don’t try to be something you’re not. If you’re a really high-end luxury alcohol brand, a hip East-London style club night for your launch may not be the right fit. Stunts don’t always equal long-term consumers or advocates.”
Promote your products
Once the event is in full swing, make sure that guests have plenty of chances to find out all about your new product or service. Brief all staff working at the event to be ready (and able) to answer questions about what you do and print some materials for people to take with them. These days, one of the most common questions you’ll get at any event is ‘What’s the wifi code?’ so rather than trying to remember it every time, why not get it printed on some MiniCards and make these available to guests? It’s a great opportunity to promote any event-related hashtags too meaning guests can snap and share shots from the event using the official tags – #Winner.
Choose the venue
Your venue is one of the key aspects of the event and one you should consider early on, alongside your event concept. Remember, you must have a clear idea on your audience and size to begin choosing a venue. Ace Hotel’s Downtown LA rooftop bar was the perfect venue for the Lucky Peach book launch as it attracted some of the city’s coolest foodies. Look for a venue that will best suit your needs – from its size, travel connections and concept. If your business is based in a physical space, consider whether it’s appropriate to host the event, this would save you lots in venue hire fees.
The launch festivities don’t just end once you’re all wrapped up and tidied, in fact this is where great things start to happen. Think about how you might want to follow up with your attendees after the launch as it gives you an opportunity to thank them for coming and perhaps send them an exclusive discount for your product. “An easy way is to ensure you have everyone’s email addresses when they confirm their attendance, that way you can reach them with a post-event email send-out,’ says Mark.
So there you have it – running a memorable launch event isn’t just about bagging the most impressive venue or a guest list full of VIPs – it’s about knowing your audience and paying attention to the finer details. Hopefully, you’ll see those details after the event through the nostalgia-tinted hue of your guests’ Instagram filter…
Written by Anastasia Miari
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