When it comes to socialising, whether it’s organising a big industry shindig or simply knocking off for a few semi-professional pints, PR has always lagged behind its media industry cousins advertising and marketing. While the other two fields may no longer match the scotch-filled extravagance on display in the likes of Mad Men, from what I’ve seen of my friends in those industries the tradition is still going strong – and so are the hangovers.
But just because PR might be the less glamourous cousin of the media family doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally get let out to have some fun. With the right combination of venue, attendees, and yes, alcohol, social events can be hugely beneficial to an agency and its clients.
One of the most reliable examples are roundtable events, something we’re putting increasing stock in here at éclat. A good roundtable can provide a prime opportunity for clients to meet multiple journalists in the flesh, helping to build a more personal relationship and sense of familiarity. The journalists meanwhile also get access to multiple high profile experts in the field, building up long-term contacts as well as gathering material for any immediate editorial.
Though a nice venue and good food and drink are essential, the real focus is on the people. We’ve had some fantastic results by assembling panels with a mixture of our clients and high profile, independent experts from academia, law enforcement, the legal and public sectors, and more. On the other side of the table, a mixture of leading journalists from key national and trade publications also keeps things interesting. While fairly high effort, these events usually guarantee a great result for all concerned.
Alongside planned events, we also try and make the best of events organised by others whenever possible. We recently had the opportunity to attend the Payment Awards after we put together a successful nomination for our client Arxan Technologies.
Hosted at the Marriot Hotel at Grosvenor Square, the event was suitably glitzy and had an opening speech by Michelle Stevens of Retail Systems and FSTech, with comedian Richard Herring on hosting duty. It provided a great opportunity to catch up with our client on a more personal basis, and we even managed to avoid shop-talk for the evening. As an added bonus, Arxan came away with a highly commended award for Anti-Fraud/Security Solution of the Year.
I also recently had the opportunity to attend Computer Weekly’s 50th anniversary bash, suitably hosted at London’s CodeNode venue. With journalists usually being the ones to get invited out to events, it was an interesting change of pace to be invited to one by them instead. As well as celebrating half a century of the leading technology publication, it was a great chance to catch up with familiar faces on both the CW team and other publications.
Matt is an Account Manager at éclat, working closely with clients in cyber security. After completing an NCTJ-accredited PGdip in journalism at De Montfort University and working as a B2B trade journalist, he has worked in tech PR since 2012. A lifelong caffeine enthusiast, Matt went from amateur to professional tea drinker in January 2015, following the birth of his son. If he ever has free time again, he’d like to use it reading, writing, and playing games. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.