The perfect PR event: Beauty Editors tell

11:17 am

Get the launch right, and you can make a new product a huge success, with coverage in everything from blogs to weekly magazines to monthlies and digital publications. But it takes more than a great venue to stand out from the crowd; here some of Australia’s most prominent beauty journalists share some tips on holding the perfect event.

Work hours versus out-of-hours
When it comes to holding events, it seems beauty editors are unanimous that during work hours is the best way to go. “Between 9am and 5pm. Early breakfasts and late events are intrusive to family and personal time. Unless it is a huge launch, there is no reason to have early morning or evening events,” says Rescu editor Bahar Etminan. beautyheaven editor Debbie Selikman agrees: “First thing in the morning at 9am or last thing in the afternoon for a 4pm start. I prefer not to have events that are held after hours.”

While they all agreed work hour events are better, media are aware that there sometimes needs to be an exception to the rule. “It's often better if after work hour events are saved for very important launches (or when a work hour event just doesn't work for whatever reason). Although I love seeing you and attending amazing events, I still have to wear my work face,” says Famous beauty editor Justine Dunton-Rose.InStyle beauty editor Eleanor Pendleton adds: “I'm not a night owl and hosting an evening event usually means our personal time spent at home with loved ones is compromised. A special fragrance launch is acceptable and enjoyable for an evening event.”

Cosmopolitan beauty editor Leigh Campbell finds morning events work best with her timetable. “Breakfast is always handy as it means minimal disruption once I’m in the office. My working day starts at 9am, not earlier, because our days often finish very late. For that reason, my mornings are sacred.”

Short versus long launches
The general consensus for the perfect length was for launches to be kept brief. Etminan suggests two hours at maximum and one hour or less for a briefing or one-on-one appointments as a guide. “I find that 90 minutes is usually a reasonable length of time,” agrees freelance journalist Michelle Bateman.

Pendleton believes one to two hours is the perfect length because “any more than two hours means we're away from our office for too long, unable to write and file copy and attend internal editorial meetings.”

Efficient events that get straight to the point appear to be the preference for beauty eds. “Short and to the point is always the most efficient for events. Keeping to the newsy tid-bits is what I like best,” says Dunton-Rose. Campbell and Kimberly Nissen of the The Plastic Diaries both agree that cutting down mingling time is important. “We don’t need mingle time – we see each other several times a day!” says Campbell, with Nissen adding: “Most of us see each other regularly and we don't need an hour to catch up at every event. Ten minutes while everyone arrives and grabs a drink is more then enough.”

Meals versus canapés
When it comes to feeding beauty editors, food is always well received when the event is held at a mealtime. “We eat! Whatever style you do plan on serving, make a note of it on the invitation. Give us a heads up and we will ensure our tummies are empty/full prior to the event,” says Campbell. 

“There is nothing worse than being at a lovely event and all you can think about is how hungry you are or wonder ‘where is that waiter with the canapés?’” adds Nissen.

When events aren’t held at mealtime, canapés are more than appropriate. “If your event falls over a mealtime - meals are greatly appreciated. Light canapés at in-between times are also nice for those of us who have missed breakfast or lunch - which happens quite often!” laughs Dunton-Rose. 

Another tip is to make sure alcoholic beverages aren’t the only drink on offer, as most media need to go back to work after the launch.

Expert versus brand representative
Most beauty launches include a presentation from either an expert or a representative from either the PR company or the brand. “Both are great if there is relevant product and specialist innovation. If the launch is mostly about product news, a brand rep is sufficient , but if there is a need for more information surrounding the products' needs, ingredients, technology or customer, then an expert can be the best way to communicate this,” reveals Dunton-Rose. 

Some beauty media prefer the speeches to just come straight from an expert. “Personally I prefer an expert who can give additional insights into products and/or trends,” says Bateman. Etminan agrees, and always likes to know ahead of time who will do the presentation. “It would be great to receive bio info on experts ahead of the event so we can prepare questions and or book in for one on one time with some pre-knowledge.”

At bd we are occasionally asked why journalist rarely ask questions at the end of a speech. While beauty media are friends with each other, they are working for competitive titles and wish to get exclusive quotes for their publications. To get the most leverage from having an expert at the event, it’s a good idea to have your guest available for comments or one-on-one interviews afterwards.

Full product presentation versus snapshot
Unfortunately there is no “perfect launch” rule when it comes to the content of a presentation as each case is different. “If it is a new brand launch then it should be rather detailed, but if it is a new product, a snapshot is all we need,” says Nissen. Dunton-Rose agrees that smaller brands will benefit from giving media a brief brand history, but not to allow it to overshadow the actual products, “Often the full details are in the press materials and so they only need to be touched on at the event itself,” she says.

If you are launching a multitude of products, it’s best not to go into too much detail with each one. “I think that six or fewer key products is ideal for a more comprehensive presentation. Any more than this and a snapshot is better as it can be difficult to digest all the information at once. This is better left to hard/soft copy press releases,” explains Bateman. 

While it may seem like there is a lot to take in when it comes to planning the perfect event, a launch can be quite simple to be effective and well received. With beauty editors attending up to 11 events in the one week, not every event needs to be a fancy affair. Ingenuity can make just as much an impression as being swept off their feet. Whatever your budget, the above tips will help see both you and the media walk away with a smile on your face.  “I LOVE events, they make my day go quicker and my week interesting,” concludes Dunton-Rose.

by yelena 

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