Guest blogger Anna Long currently serves as the PR & Marketing Specialist for Preferred Events in Las Vegas. She graduated from the Manship School of Mass Communication in May 2014 with a concentration in public relations and a minor in business administration. To connect with her, please click here (linked to firstname.lastname@example.org).
A little shy of two years out of school, I have already seen the value behind my PR degree outside of a public relations role. The event industry in Las Vegas is one-of-a-kind, and I would say it prepares you to work in any city. Working at a small company, I saw my position as the PR & Marketing Specialist soon encompass event planning, sales, operations, design and marketing. I quickly learned that anyone can throw a party, but the client’s challenge is finding the right company to create an unforgettable experience while making a return on their investment. This is where we have to set ourselves apart as an event planning company, and everything I learned in public relations helps me accomplish my every day tasks at work.
Pre Event: The pitch.
How can we stand out from the ten other destination management companies looking to win the same client? We tell our story. Prospective clients expect unique options, but this is our opportunity to build our credibility, portray our company culture, define our standards and tell our story in a simple document.
My experience and understanding of PR has helped me in many facets of my job.
I have used my background in PR by creating and editing copy used to pitch our event services, re-designing and adding a testimonial page to our website to showcase our previous work, and making sure our branding that appears on the proposal software is up-to-date and eye-catching. By implementing these techniques, the client can paint a clear picture in his or her head of who we are as a company, and this gives us an extra edge as to why they should book us.
Event Time: Branding is key.
As a PR professional, you have to understand the power of brand recognition and building brand loyalty. My favorite phase of planning is the detail of how to connect a client’s brand throughout an entire event and capitalize on their options. From big scale branding on an entire event space down to branded cocktail napkins, incorporating these key details ensures that no one leaves the event without knowing the brand. When companies are competing to have guests attend their event, the biggest success is not only having them attend, but also building a loyal customer or brand ambassador for your client.
Post Event: Follow up.
Above all, this is the most crucial step that I’ve learned from my professors and mentors. It is not simply an emailed thank you post event, it is a hand written letter in the mail to your client or a follow up gift personalized to what they love. This is in turn how a company can remain in front of the client. Simple reminders of the services your company can provide via e-blasts and social media updates can continue the working relationship and make them a repeat client.
The value of my PR degree helps tremendously in the event planning field. I was taught to have a fresh look on every project, constantly research, follow blogs, and remain in the know and ahead of industry trends. The skills I learned at the Manship School transfer into every aspect of my job, and I am grateful for the outlook it gives me while working in the event industry.