Two weeks ago on Monday, we were briefed by a client on an event we had to organise and launch that same week (eek!) and deliver the following Friday , something to do with MTV EMAs, but we couldn’t know the details….. Yes, you’re probably thinking what we were thinking then!!

As the hours went on, the story unravelled and we finally got some detail. The detail included a special speaker from MTV and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau was coordinating the speaker on our behalf.

The objective… we had to organise an event for 100 people, the event had to be free, and we somehow needed to fit in ‘the impact of design’. It was a late afternoon event which would lead on to a big surprise event in George Square later that evening – which turned out to be a 3D video projection of Labrinth’s new single!

Putting our creative hats on we quickly mapped out what looked like a winner – a free event, held at The Lighthouse, after work, with two slightly different design/brand/digital agency speakers, but with big case studies – Tangent on bringing the Commonwealth Games brand to life and Equator on Malmaison and The Macallan. It helped that we knew them both and we could confirm a speaker from each, instantly.

We then fed back to the client with the event idea/rationale, who then fed back to Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB) about the event and we go the go ahead to start planning. All we were waiting for was confirmation of our VIP speaker from MTV via GCMB.

The room was booked, tea/coffee for arrivals and then networking drinks for after, PA/AV requests were confirmed, then we set up the event on Eventbrite for quick and easy management. We set up an email invitation to go to The Lighthouse’s email database and crafted social media posts for Facebook and Twitter. We also linked in with our friends at CIPR Scotland, early on, so when the green light was given, we’d blanket cover our entire network, including Aura’s own network.

We couldn’t waste any time and so we decided with only one week to go, we had to launch the event without the name of our VIP speaker, but promising to announce the person early-on, the following week. We named the invitation ‘VIP creative industries event’ so that we could pitch this as an exclusive event and so interest would be high. If it had just been ‘Creative industries event’ then there wouldn’t have been such a buzz about it.

The tickets were launched at 2.45pm on Friday, 31 October and by Saturday, 1 November 1pm, the following day, we had 100% capacity booked plus we had a waiting list of 12 people. Result!

Across the Monday and Tuesday we worked with the speakers to get presentations ready and we worked closely with GCMB to ensure we were sticking to the corporate line, but also gently pushing for the name of the VIP speaker and also approval of our proposed hashtag – #MTVcreativeimpact.

We chose #MTVcreativeimpact so we would have the traction of a big brand to support our small(ish) pre-event, event, but we required sign off from MTV’s brand people.

On the Wednesday afternoon, two days before the event, we got confirmation of our speaker, Philip O’Ferrall, MTV’s Senior VP of Digital Media International and sign off, on the hashtag. It was all systems go. The point now being, to raise the profile of the event and, just in case of any last minute cancellations, which you can always expect from a free event, we could build up the waitlist so there was a back up. Just as well, because we had 10 booking cancellations the day before, but our waiting list kicked in and we went back to 100% capacity.

Event day came and we arrived ahead of the guests to set up the presentations, test PA/AV and set up the live Twitter feed we were running for the event. We had asked in advance for questions and encouraged people to get involved on Twitter on the night, using the hashtag, so we had a giant plasma screen in use for a Twitter wall. (This required a paid-for account so we could brand it accordingly).

We were live tweeting the event, posting pictures and we were also making a video of the event for later use. You could say we were everywhere!

Events are a lot of fun to organise and although this was a tight turnaround, everyone was delighted. Here’s our 5 top tips from this event:

  • Always get to the source and ensure you’re in touch with the decision makers, early on
  • Get an event theme and speaker plan in place that answers objectives
  • Work quickly to make sure this is the must-attend event – collaborating with brands on events get you far (it helps profile)
  • Always ensure permissions and approvals at every opportunity, particularly when working with brands
  • So what, you’re flying by the seat of your pants, have fun!!

As a creative PR and communications consultancy, it really helped that we could use our other skills to ensure the event was strategic and when it came to the marketing of it, our skills in digital really paid off and effectively ensured the event was visible to a wide ranging audience.

We’ll be following up with a case study once we’ve carried out the evaluation. We’ll post the video to The Lighthouse’s YouTube channel shortly.