Objective decided. Brief complete. Strategy formalised. Concept finalised. Now it’s time for the exciting part, putting all the creative energy into practice and seeing your event take shape. To do that, event planners should focus on the five Ps: Plan, Partner, Place, Practice, Permission.
A watertight plan provides direction, but only if someone ensures it’s followed. At this stage, brands should nominate 1-2 key employees to form the core events team to work alongside the events management company, providing sign-off for ideas and making executive budgetary decisions.
The first role of the core events team (brand and event professionals) is to then collaborate to annotate the event plan with realistic timelines and approved deadlines. Think event materials: location chosen, licenses secured, budgets updated and run-through complete. Think event staff: caterers hired, entertainment confirmed, Covid staff training complete, pre event testing teams arranged, security briefed, sanitising cleaners at the ready and designers approved. Think event attendees: guestlist decided, print production confirmed, invitations delivered, follow-ups sent.
In addition, the team should visualise walking a virtual consumer journey to work out every detail that needs to be planned. Imagine what guests would see and say. What would they think of that venue? How would they react to this style of invite? Every touchpoint should be super simple to understand and navigate. Without the simplicity it’s easy to overwhelm or confuse and that’s the easiest way to disengage your audience.
No event is an island and brands should reach out to a wide variety of partners and suppliers to get the wheels turning. From front of house – catering, lighting, entertainment and security – to the supporting cast – invite printers, insurance brokers and car parking attendants – there are more partners than you might imagine to get an event working.
But, fear not. This is where event professionals really come into their own. Not only do event management companies know all the right people, but they also manage the relationships, taking the headache of dealing with florists and health inspectors off your hands. What’s more, it’s a cost and quality issue. The best event professionals have a little black book of contacts to make sure you’re getting the best deal from the best supplier.
Venue selection is easy right? Just look at a couple of well-taken photos, have a quick flick at the floor plan and check Google Maps, right? Well, can you smell the well-taken photos? Does the floor plan give an idea of the acoustics? Does Google Maps tell you about traffic at the time of the event?
Visiting the site is crucial. Before signing on the dotted line, brands should explore the venue at the proposed time of the event (it may look great in the day, but have a loud music venue next door) and also check the facilities and surrounding area: are there enough toilets if all invitees come? Is there wheelchair access? Is there space for on site Covid testing and / or isolating? Is there a fish factory around the corner that adds a little too much of a particular aroma into the event mix?
It’ll be alright on the night…if you rehearse it. Now, we’re not suggesting you test out the fifteen-minute fireworks show in advance, but do you think bands just walk on stage and hope the set-up works? To ensure an event runs smoothly (not to mention to reduce stress), it’s important to go to the venue and test it out. Are the toilets functioning (they may have been three months before, but how about now)? Will sound carry in the main room when there’s lots of people in it? Will the caterers have space to exit the kitchen?
What’s more, event organisers need to plan out scenarios to iron out any errors. This involves scheduling rehearsals and pre-production meetings with the requisite partners – be sure to check the entertainment works – as well as testing out the location the week of the event with a skeleton crew and a dry run-through. In the rare case of a fire, have you practised a socially distanced evacuation plan?
As a final stage before curtains up, there are some last minute crucial checks. Firstly, while the concept and strategy sets a direction, the likelihood is things will have been altered. New bands booked, different caterers hired, an extra 100 invited. All of these have implications for the budget, so before going live event planners must get final sign off to ensure no thorny conversations post-event.
Et voilà – the five Ps. Of course, we’ve simplified it all, but to get a fuller picture of all the Ps and plan your own neuroexperience campaign, get in touch with the memory-makers at Rebel & Soul.
For more information on event planning and management success, read our whitepaper: The ultimate guide to event planning & management.
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