Planning an event can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. As an apprentice at Ceres, I get lots of on-the-job experience and I recently had the opportunity to help organise California Walnuts’ ‘Taste of Summer’ influencer event. Throughout the process, I learned valuable knowledge, skills and behaviours (these are known as KSBs in apprenticeship terms!) which are essential for working in PR and comms.
Here are my top takeaways from the event:
1. It's Never Too Early to Start Planning:
Right from the beginning, we knew the importance of early planning which would allow us to secure the perfect venue, prepare branded goodies and marketing collateral and to give our guests enough notice to attend. We established our main prerequisites and preferences for the venue, such as capacity, catering options, and location and as a result, had a clear picture of what we needed including a summery vibe! After much researching, we eventually chose Jimmy's Pop Up, next to The National Theatre on London’s South Bank, it ticked all the boxes.
2. Create an Attractive Proposition (and ensure it is aligned with campaign objectives):
To make our event enticing for influencers to attend, we needed to create an attractive proposition which would not only encourage attendance, but one that would also align with the campaign objectives.
Being invited to an event is always nice, but in order to convert invitations into attendance, it had to be the full package – something that they wouldn’t want to miss! We already had a cool venue in Jimmy's Pop Up; we just had to give the event a theme and a call-to-action, ‘Discover the Taste of Summer’ – set around a 7-course menu that put California Walnuts at the heart of every dish and where guests got to even cook some of it themselves!
‘Discover the Taste of Summer’ was then turned into a creative lockup that was carried through onto all collateral including the invitations, recipe cards, banners and menu on the night.
3. Even the Best Laid Plans Change:
As the heading suggests, plans can change at any moment, so being able to improvise and overcome challenges can be the difference between an average event and a successful one!
For example… we had to adjust our own transport arrangements, due to train strikes (which didn’t affect attendance by the way! 😊).
Another example was when we hadn’t received any updates from one of our collateral suppliers; being proactive (and a little suspicious), I called to check on the status of the item. After some back and forth, I found out it was delayed and wouldn’t arrive until the day of the event (despite the expected delivery date showing a week prior to the event at the time of booking). No thank you – we couldn’t have that! We expedited the shipping and the items arrived in good time, with 3 days to go. Thank goodness for early planning and good communication (and trusting your gut when something doesn’t feel right)!
4. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work:
Like many things in PR, sometimes it’s all hands-on deck to get ready for events.
Throughout the entire process, effective teamwork played an important role - regular catch ups, to do lists, clear deadlines and ongoing communication allowed us to collaboratively work on tasks (such as research, social media actions and invites) and ensured that all areas of the event had been covered off. Without regular communication, certain areas may have fallen behind, causing unnecessary stress.
5. Enjoy the Event:
On the day of the event, the whole team was in attendance, but I took the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the experience; welcoming guests at the entrance, talking to the influencers and explaining the evening's plan. Thanks to our preparation (along with the excellent and accommodating team at Jimmy’s) it was smooth sailing throughout the evening. As I sat down for my meal, I took a moment to reflect - seeing the attendees' enjoyment and hearing the happy chatter, knowing the part I’d played in making the event a success.
In conclusion, planning and successfully executing the California Walnuts Taste of Summer influencer event was one of my favourite things that I’ve done since starting my apprenticeship.
It was such an amazing opportunity to not only get involved with the planning, and implementation, but to go out into London and spread the message of just how good California Walnuts are for you!
Overall, it was an experience to remember, and I can’t wait to continue applying those KSBs to my career and future projects.