How to hold successful media events

December 12, 2018 / Helen Hyde  / 

Written by Jo Lowe, Spring PR 

Events are a huge part of what we do at Spring PR and the whole team gets involved in the planning, preparation and execution.  The success of an event is often judged on the basis of media attendance. 

In the past we’ve secured 100 per cent turn out.  Here we happily share some of our top tips:

Manage expectations
If the powers that be are wanting to launch something that you feel doesn’t warrant an event and won’t grab the interest of media, then speak up.  This will save the client time and money and they will respect your honesty and professional advice.  It also saves you the embarrassment of inviting journalists to something that you believe isn’t necessary and they will respect you more for it.

What do you want to achieve?
Make sure, from the outset, that all parties involved are clear on what it is that they want to achieve from the event.  Is it a networking event to introduce a new brand so that journalists keep the brand in mind for future opportunities, or is it a product launch event that you are wanting coverage from?

Hit list
Once you have a clear objective on what you want to achieve from the event you can start to draw up your hit list of journalists to invite.  Ultimately keep your list targeted, focusing on quality over quantity.  Less is often more and we’ve found that inviting a select few journalists, mostly working in a freelance capacity, we have obtained the most amount of coverage. To highlight this, we worked with Montane early on this year with the launch of the VIA Trail collection treated with Polygiene (a Spring client).  It was a sector-specific event focusing on running and fitness.  We had 100 per cent media attendance and bumper coverage to boot.

Polygiene Montane Via Series launch run

Media launch event for the Montane Via Trail Series with Polygiene

It’s a date
Do your research and check that there’s no other event happening that might clash.  In the past we’ve changed the date of an event because it clashed with something else. After all, you want to give yourself every potential opportunity to secure 100% attendance.

Location, location, location
Select a location that is easy for journalists to get to.  So, if you’re holding it in London make sure it is close to a publishing house where your key journalists work, or walking distance to a tube station.  Space is important as it needs to be big enough to hold the number of people attending but not too big that you’re rattling around. Once selected it is worth striking up a good working relationship with the venue manager as you will be working closely together.

Give notice
Journalists are incredibly busy so make sure you give them plenty of notice to pop the date of your event in the diary.  Once the initial invitation has been issued, keep a detailed log of who has accepted and who can’t make it, then send out a reminder email nearer the event to those free to attend.   Share with your client who is attending on the day prior to the event, along with thumbnail images so that they are fully briefed beforehand.

Time of day
Over the years we’ve organised a range of events in the UK and abroad from breakfast events, so that journalists can pop in prior to getting into work; after work launch parties; all day events, plus those that involve an overnight stay.  Find a formula that works for you and the specific event you are holding but bear in mind that journalists need to justify being out of the office for any length of time.

It’s vital to provide those attending an event with clear instructions on where the event is and how to get there.  We often handle the bookings of trains/flights or offer information on the nearest tube station in order to save the journalist this task.  In addition, by providing an itinerary and a kit list, when needed, the journalist will feel prepared for the event and more likely to attend as feels important and looked after.

Following on from the Montane/Polygiene event we held we received the following testimonials for some of the journalists who attended. From both the client’s perspective and ours the event was a success.

“The trip was very well organised and I was impressed at how much we were able to do in a short space of time, which meant that even coming from London for one day was worthwhile”, Nick Harris-Fry, Coach website 

“I was invited along to the Montane/ Polygiene event on behalf of Run247 and Outdoor Fitness magazine. Spring were excellent at communicating about travel, accommodation and the itinerary for the day and I felt really well looked after before and during the event. The event itself was a great mix of learning about Polygiene, and their collaboration with Montane, and the actual activity to try out the products. We had a fantastic run for a couple of hours in the Lakes. It was what you always hope these events are going to be, but they rarely are! It was one of the best events like this that I have been to – I went away feeling like I knew a lot about the brands and that I had a few different angles to write articles on, but also that I had a really fun day”, Kirsty Reade, Outdoor Fitness and Run 247, The Guardian. 

“The Montane/ Polygiene event was very informative and more importantly fun. The planning and communication in the lead up meant that I had everything I needed for the day and I was able to concentrate on gathering the information I needed from the presentations. I can’t thank Montane, Polygiene and mainly Spring PR enough for such a great day”, Davy Wright, My Outdoors. 

Stand out on your stand

November 29, 2018 / Helen Hyde  /  Uncategorized

This year’s Kendal Mountain Festival was one of the most successful ever, with 16,000 enthusiasts, athletes and industry folk descending from all over the world. 

Since 2000 Spring has packed its bags and headed north to join the fun. And this year, for the third in a row, we’ve represented Hydro Flask.  

Hydro Flask at Kendal Mountain Festival

Jas, Nora and Abbie at Kendal Mountain Festival

So how do you make sure that such a prime audience, full of influential people see, touch and buy your product?

Nora Muller, Marketing and Events for Hydro Flask in Europe added, “The great visibility and Hydro Flask’s success at Kendal is only possible thanks to our great Spring team with their sparkling ideas, a very open-minded festival crew and, most importantly, festival visitors who enjoy our product and are ready for an alternative to plastic.”

So how did we do it? Using our experience from previous years, we brainstormed the issues and came up with creative solutions:

Competition: At Kendal you’re up against dozens of other premium product stands. All vying for attention. So how do you ensure people stop and talk to you?

Colour: We started with the very basics of a bright, visually appealing and enticing stand. Hydro Flask as a brand is colourful and attractive. As Matt Jordan from Wildside Trading Ltd. told us, “It worked because it was fun and interactive. Vibrant colours make people stop and look; and draw you in with the fun element.”

Interaction: The fun element Matt mentions was a ‘Post-it Note Pixel Art’ game. We created a large mural by asking everyone who visited the stand to write on a Post-it note which one piece of plastic could they do without. This ensured our stand was interactive but also aligned the brand to an important issue that Hydro Flask and many of its users are concerned about. People wanted to spend more time on our stand and take the game seriously.  

The Pixel Art Board full of post-it notes

The Pixel Art Board full of Post-it Notes

Staff: Both Abbie and Jas from Spring spent the weekend at the Festival, alongside Nora from Hydro Flask. “You need staff who are approachable, interact and engage. Without that it won’t work well”, says Matt. “Thankfully all three aren’t afraid of a friendly chat, and live the brand – the perfect representatives.”

Freebies: Everyone loves a freebie. But with so many being given away, it’s easy for yours to get lost in the mirth. Instead of handing out the usual keyrings and pens, we offered a free Flex Boot for anyone who brought along their Hydro Flask or bought one from the stand. This ensured more investment in the brand.  

As Matt says, “It’s very cost effective for Hydro Flask to give product away rather than signing cheques. That’s because it’s something that everyone needs, and can use, and the more we give away the more we sell – people always love Hydro Flask and want to buy more”.

Getting the attention of the experts: Ambassadors are a real coup for any brand. If they love your product, they’ll live it and constantly place it in front of your prime, target audience.

Seeding: It’s an easy win to seed each of the 150 speakers at Kendal, in the hope they’ll use your product in front of a big audience that weekend. But how can you get more out of this opportunity? We contacted those speakers we knew were going to be at the Festival beforehand to introduce ourselves and tell them they would be getting a Hydro Flask at the Festival. And told them we’d love to meet them, and if they had time to pop by the stand we could offer a free upgrade. This gave us a chance to take a social media-worthy pic with them and, more importantly, have a proper chat one-on-one at the Festival.

Adventurer Anna McNuff with her Hydro Flask

Adventurer Anna McNuff with her Hydro Flask

Volunteer discount: Abbie says, “This year, we were excited to offer volunteers and Kendal staff 50 per cent off certain Hydro Flask products in recognition of them offering their free time for this event. This was a unique opportunity because Hydro Flask don’t discount their product in the UK, however they recognise that an event of this nature wouldn’t be so successful without them. This offer went down a treat.” This aligns the Hydro Flask brand more closely with the Festival – giving it kudos. Kendal also bought and engraved a number of Hydro Flask bottles with the KMF logo to be sold on the merchandise stand.

Not just a stand. You don’t want to confine your presence to the stand alone. There are loads of opportunities around a Festival to spread your message and deliver more impact. 

Hydration stations: We wanted to practise what we preach. What’s the point of encouraging everyone to use a Hydro Flask if they then have to buy a plastic bottle of water to fill it up. We placed three water coolers in the Basecamp Village, the Leisure Centre and the Town Hall to encourage people to refill rather than buy bottled water. This also reaffirmed our association with a plastic free future. 

Coffee shop discount: By arranging a discount with the Brewery Arts Centre café for anyone who brought their Hydro Flask in when buying a drink, we extended our brand awareness to hot drinks and Hydro Flask’s mission to rid the world of single use coffee cups. Keeping us on message. 

Happy Hour: And on the Friday night we gave the ‘Columbia Bar’ 250 Hydro Flask True Pint tumblers to give away to anyone buying a beer. It introduced a new audience to a new Hydro Flask product – we’re not just a bottles and coffee flasks. It can be used after hours as well! 

Losing money: Consumer festivals are a great way to spend a lot of money. Discounts, freebies, and giveaways quickly add up. So how can you attempt to be profitable at the same time? 

How about actually selling your product as well? This year, for the first time we had the opportunity to sell Hydro Flasks from the stand. Abbie says, “Because this was our third year at the show, people were well-acquainted with the brand and its products and we were incredibly successful, selling huge numbers.” And for any Hydro Flask sold, we offered a Flex Boot as a free gift.

Spring’s apprentice, Jas, joined Abbie at the Festival for the first time. She says, “Kendal Mountain Festival was a success for Hydro Flask. The event was packed with outdoorsy people and it was great to be able to talk directly to those who were really interested in the products.”

But we’ll leave the final comment to Nora, “Kendal is like cooking a great dish for us. When people like it you want to cook it again! Making the same recipe for the third time you start to evolve, refine, keep what has been a success. Every time you have more fun and challenge yourself to make it even better.”

The ‘Tin Can’ Life

November 15, 2018 / Helen Hyde  /  Uncategorized

Ghost Train (E6), in Pembroke, credit Ray Wood

At this year’s Kendal Mountain Festival, Mammut athlete, Madeleine Cope will be speaking about her climbing life since leave full time employment in content development a year ago.

The ‘Tin Can’ refers to the van she is currently living in and travelling around Europe in!

She’ll be exploring how her climbing is developing, her inspirations, and how she applies herself to each challenge.

Reflecting honestly about her motivations, relationships and goals and the importance of learning from your mistakes, the role of mental health and dealing with expectations.

We caught up with her to find out more:

You’re an inspirational speaker. Why do you believe climbing marries so well with this?

“Passion, expectation, disappointment, challenge, self-belief, success, and failure – these are all concepts everyone understands. I believe that climbing provides a useful platform to discuss these concepts in a way that anyone can relate to. The climbing narrative makes topics that can often be pushed aside in life, such as ego and motivation, more accessible and sharing through talks makes it feel more personal.”

How do you use the subject of climbing to inspire others, even if they don’t climb?

“I hope to show through my enthusiasm the underlying joy of pursuing any passion as a way of life. When you peel all the layers away essentially you are talking about the pursuit of happiness – this is something everyone can relate to.”

“Maddy provided a superb talk that inspired on all levels. It didn’t matter whether you were a trad climber or sport climber, novice or elite – she relayed experiences that virtually everyone in the room could relate to. Not only that, but she did so with both humour and humility, which was incredible considering the gravity of her achievements. This fun, down to earth talk went on to tackle some bigger questions about motivation, drive, and pre-conceived ideas of what is and isn’t possible.”

“Huge thanks to Maddy for delivering an excellent talk on International Women’s Day. Keeping good humour throughout Maddy touched upon some more serious points about her climbing journey.  A very genuine and relatable experience, we would highly recommend it.”

Do you practise what you preach?!

“I guess I consider my talks to be more about preaching what I practise. I tend to look at the variety of feelings and experiences climbing has brought me – both positive and negative. The aim is to learn from the negative in order to have more of the positive, but one of the main points about being honest for me is to share those times where I didn’t “practise” in the most positive way.

“We are only human. And being human, with all the defects that brings, is what makes our experiences interesting. For me part of the definition of “challenge” is that not every part of the process is positive.”

Madeleine Cope

Bat Route (8c) in Malham, credit Nadir Khan

How does Mammut help you to achieve your climbing goals?

“Mammut is a brand that covers many disciplines, with many inspiring athletes across them. Besides the quality clothing and equipment, I am inspired by a brand that looks towards supporting adventure. When you are pushing yourself it always helps to have good equipment and I am grateful to Mammut for this.”

What’s your favourite piece of Mammut equipment and why?

“The Alnasca Pants– these are protective but also stretchy. I enjoy using flexibility in my climbing and these are great for that, as well as hard waring – which is perfect for trad and multipitches. The Wall Rider Helmet is great. It is light and doesn’t interfere with balance on technical pitches.”

What are your climbing hopes for 2019?

“I hope to be travelling in Europe in my van with my partner until March. Exploring new areas and styles and pushing myself on whatever inspires me. I aim to be open to whatever goals present themselves rather than trying to pre-empt them. One of my major motivations is for big wall climbing, so whether it is El Cap or somewhere closer to home I am sure I will bring drawn to a multi-day adventure in the autumn.”



When events go well…

November 7, 2018 / Helen Hyde  / 
Ian Elliot from Elliot Brown Watches

Ian Elliot from Elliot Brown Watches

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. It often has quite negative connotations. But in the public relations industry, relationships are everything. At Spring PR we know our brands, their products, their issues…and their people.

It’s an ethos that our client, Elliot Brown Watches adheres to: “Our business is its people,” says founding partner, Ian Elliot. “How we actually behave, how we speak to people, the way they are treated is all second nature. Over time word spreads, the friendship group grows, it naturally gains momentum and remains strong.”

It’s why Spring PR, and Elliot Brown, still prioritise events as part of their marketing strategy. Now often thought of as simply ‘time consuming’, the style and nature of the events we choose is becoming more and more fundamental. If you’re asking people to spend a whole day out of the office, they want to get something out of it. An opportunity. A chance to learn. And a chance to form long term relationships.

Ian continues: “When we hold an event it’s not about blinding friends and customers with product info and stats, it’s about shared enjoyment and spending time together – generous, friendly, welcoming time that builds understanding and genuine relationships.”

Elliot Brown was the official timekeeper for the 2017/ 2018 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and recently invited a group of journalists, ambassadors, and retailers to join them for a day on a Clipper yacht in celebration.   

“When someone has enjoyed themselves, spent time with inspiring individuals, heard about extraordinary feats of survival – and all in the context of using watches that are honestly built and tested to perform in extremes – they return home enlightened with new friendships and a knowledge base that’s deeper and remembered.” Says Ian.

The Elliot Brown ambassadors

Ultra-swimmer Beth French is an ambassador for Elliot Brown watches and was one of the invitees. What does she get out of such an experience? She says, “Bonding is such an over-used cliché but being taken out of our own environments like this is beyond refreshing. Coming away with such a sense of validation where I could have been left in awe, not having time or space to worry about all the trivia that could stop us from getting on with people is a real treat.”

Retailer, Rivoli Jewellers of Jersey were also one of the invitees. They sell Elliot Brown watches but, owner Gary Wroe, hadn’t yet met the founding partners. This was his chance to put faces to names: “Having never had the chance to sail any big boat, it really was a nice challenge to do something I have wanted to try but never had the opportunity to do. The event was really well organised and lots of fun.

“Meeting the Elliot Brown Ambassadors and speaking about their achievements and future ventures really was inspiring. Ian Elliot and Alex Brown are both great characters, what a great partnership. It was lovely to finally meet them both.”

At Spring we believe in building relationships in the now perhaps considered ‘old fashioned’ face to face fashion. As long as they’re memorable. Beth French best summed up the day, “Deeply satisfying, a taste of adventure with like-minded people from all walks of life. A rare opportunity indeed!”

Apprentice tips from our very own

October 25, 2018 / Helen Hyde  / 

Spring’s apprentice, Jasmine Pottinger, has been with us for more than six months now. She’s a great addition to our team. We wanted to know what her tips are for making the most of your apprenticeship. 

Spring's new apprentice, Jas

Organise your time
Make sure you get yourself a diary for you to keep track of important dates and deadlines. You may not have much to write down to begin with, but it won’t be long before you have lots of things to remember! It can be really easy to forget things when you’re busy, so a diary is a great investment to make.

Starting a job in a field that you have no experience in can be very scary. Something that really helped me out was researching more into the company and getting my head around the world of marketing before my starting date. This eased me into my new surroundings and helped me feel prepared for my role. My first week at Spring, I had an induction training schedule involving various team members helping me learn certain tasks.

Prove yourself
There’s no point in doing an apprenticeship if you’re going to be lazy. Putting 100% into the tasks that you’re given will lead to you being given more exciting jobs with more responsibility. The company will be more inclined to keep you on after your apprenticeship if you’ve become a valuable member of the team.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions
As a new apprentice with no previous experience, you’re bound to come across barriers that you can’t break yourself. Asking questions is a key part of learning and the people you work with will always be happy to help you out. In fact, they’ll probably prefer that you’re making the effort to learn rather than sitting there confused. The team here are really helpful should I need any advice.

Learn from colleagues
You can learn a lot from the people that you’re working with. If someone is really good at copywriting, take a look at things that they have recently written and talk to them about how you can improve your pieces of work.

Take care of yourself
This is important for everyone, but especially so when you’re learning. Make sure you get into a proper sleeping pattern, eat breakfast, and keep active. It’s tricky to pay attention and remember all the new things you’re learning if your mind’s not in it.

Don’t beat yourself up
Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they’re new to something. Learn from every mistake and use them to improve your skills. Everyone needs time to get things right, and in a few months, you’ll have forgotten all about those small mistakes you made the first month.

Have fun!
You’re starting your career and that is very exciting. First of all, make sure that you enjoy yourself and look forward to the opportunities that are ahead of you.

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