Every four years it’s the event at which everyone who’s anyone in the world of the elite wants to be seen.
Men in black ties and women in elegant flowing gowns drift gracefully across the dance floor to the music of a full symphony orchestra while holding the finest fluted crystal ware brimming with only the best champagne. Suddenly the music stops and everyone knows it’s time. They stand in anticipation as the orchestra begins playing “Hail to the Chief.” As hearts are pounding and a mass inhaling can be heard, out comes the newly inaugurated President of the United States followed by the new First Lady in her designer gown every woman in the country has been dying to see. This is the public relations special event of all time.
Have you ever considered that the Inaugural Ball is nothing more than a public relations extravaganza? One of the more fun, albeit stressful, aspects of public relations is planning a special event. The events come in all forms, from gala fundraiser balls to family picnics and everything in between. Event planning is one of the many specialties that fall under the umbrella of Public Relations. It can be one of the most exciting practice areas if you can handle the pressure. There are numerous occasions for which a special event might be used. Following are some examples.
An entire practice in public relations has been built around fundraising for non-profits. Organizations like the Red Cross hire full-time teams devoted entirely to raising money. This could include everything from phone-calling campaigns to direct mailings to elaborate $1000 per plate dinners.
An organization has many publics, including potential customers, investors, and employees. An effective management team knows the value of happy employees. When an employer has a reputation for treating employees well, it can attract a higher quality workforce. While an employee family picnic cannot replace good benefits and competitive pay, it can certainly add to the camaraderie of an employee group, thereby generating loyalty – a valuable commodity in today’s employer marketplace.
When you see a search light moving across the sky, one of two thoughts come to mind: UFO’s or some store somewhere is having a huge sale or a grand opening. When a large chain retailer is opening a new store, it is the public relations department that plans the grand opening celebration. Often the celebration will be region- or area-wide, requiring a great deal of professional planning.
Most non-profit organizations, whether large or small, hold annual appreciation dinners for all of their regular donors and volunteers. It is a fun, effective way to keep them connected and up-to-date on how their money is being used to benefit the community.
These are only a very small sampling of the various types of public relations special events that a PR professional might use. If you have a knack for event planning, this could be just the type of specialty to propel your career.