The Life & Times of a Launch Party...
So, to avoid ending up as just a few blokes in a bar, we took the time to ask ourselves what an event that people actually want to go to looks like, what the crucial elements of a must-attend corporate event are and how the hell we go about it.
Whatever ‘ta da’ we ended up with, it had to communicate our core values: keep it human, have a personality, give a damn, do things a little differently and exude quality. These values run through everything we do so our launch party was to be no exception.
But, this was no time to be ‘all about us’. Yes, it was our launch party but the focus, as always, had to be the customer. Not wanting to jump on my soapbox here (cue rant alert) but, why do many companies seem surprised when clients fail to turn up to a ‘how great are we’ evening, one that’s clearly going to be full of self congratulatory claims, back patting banter and not so subliminal sales messages? Haig&Co events want to win hearts and build relationships, not brag and bore.
So, what was it that our clients and contacts would enjoy? What would win their hearts? Why should they bother taking precious time out of their lives to attend?
In a word…WINE
Pretty much all the people we work with enjoy a glass or two of the red, white or pink stuff, only in a very refined and cultured way of course. So, with the customer wants box ticked, with our wine tasting idea, we set about organising a night of general merriment. When I say we, I actually mean a seriously good events organiser, who we knew would make every last detail ooze Haig core values and deliver a night that our customers would remember, for all the right reasons (wine dependent of course). Thank you Lotty Harper...:)
The Big Day
However, even with a professional behind us, rather like your wedding day (for those of us lucky/unlucky enough to have been involved in such organisational drama), as the date approached the nerves started to creep in. ‘Will they turn up?’ ‘What will go wrong?’ ‘What have we forgotten?’ repeating, over and over and over in your head.
But of course they did turn up and the place was packed. So, it was then about trying to make sure every guest was having a good time, that you didn’t forget to talk to the equivalent of Aunty Doris and remaining the host with the most for the rest of the evening.
Luckily the night was brilliant, the energy was great, the wine fuelled networking provided real value to our clients, everything was of a lovely quality and it definitely had ‘ta da’.
So, after a nice celebratory lie in until 7am and a post party de-brief it was then time for the all-important thank you. Frequently ignored, event follow-up (by email, phone call, letter, visit or thank you card) is crucial to the success of your event. Hearts are not won by a quick wave goodbye and a handshake. People need to know that you value their time, you need to stay at the top of their minds and start to build on what the event simply started.
Just when you though it was all over, the hard work really begins.
Good for business
Done well, an event like this can deepen existing relationships, ignite new ones and empower your staff. So, it’s well worth taking the time to give it some thought, making it a bit different (your own personal ‘ta da’) being the best host you can and then keeping in touch to build on all that effort.
5 Top Tips
So to sum up, here are my top tips to an event that’s good for business
1. Be yourself
If you have core values and a clearly defined personality carry this through
2. Make it about your customers
What do they enjoy? What’s in it for them? Remember their time is precious!
3. Keep plans realistic
Don’t risk a flop by aiming too big, go for quality not quantity
4. Network like a natural
You’re talking with human beings, just be yourself, ask questions and be happy
Thank people for giving up their time and continue to develop each relationship
See, it wasn’t all about the wine!
Any tips to share? Feedback on our party? We’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading and maybe we’ll see you at the next Haig&Co event?