A killer venue. An A-list celebrity spokesperson. A product that consumers and media are willing to line up around the block for. At midnight.
There was a time in my PR career that having these elements in place at a launch event would virtually guarantee attendance from a slew of camera crews and photogs.
Oh how times have changed.
Fast forward 10 years, and using the exact same formula as above no longer guarantees media coverage or attendance at a launch event. Far from it. The dominance of the Internet, a 24/7 news cycle, influencers of every stripe and the outsized role of social media has changed all of this, and with it, how and why launch events are executed. In fact, many brands have had equal if not greater success launching their products by eschewing expensive and often time-consuming launch events in favor of social media-driven campaigns. Just ask the folks at Dr Pepper.
So does that mean it’s time to scrap big, glitzy consumer product launches once and for all? Maybe not. Instead, it may be wiser to recalibrate the way you look at a launch event and what you hope to achieve from it. By taking a more holistic approach to launch events and viewing them more as content creating machines, you can in fact exponentially increase an event’s value and ROI so that it not only generates traditional media coverage, but also yields plenty of engaging content that can help boost click-throughs, improve social media engagement and bolster SEO.
For example: why not repurpose the CEO’s introductory remarks into an industry thought-leadership piece for LinkedIn? Or, how about slicing up all of that wonderful event b-roll into shareable vignettes for Facebook and Twitter? Better yet, why not take that great piece of event-related media coverage and boost its reach through paid syndication?
As PR practitioners, it’s our job to help evolve ours and our client’s thinking when it comes to the value of hosting a launch event and to show them the greater marketing impact that can be achieved. So the next time you’re thinking about coordinating an event, consider spending more time thinking about maximizing its ROI and a little less time worrying about whether or not to have your press credentials laminated.
You can follow Alan on Twitter at @almarc44