The Guide Live kicked off at London’s One Mayfair today with a session exploring the importance of events for PR and media agencies, with speakers from Carat, Liquid Thread and Ketchum Pleon.
Paul Hicks, head of brand experience and events at Carat, told the audience that working with media agencies could bring huge benefits to events. "Media agencies are rich in client relationships, and clients look to media agencies for advice on how to spend their money," he said. "They have large social media reach and information databases which can really help when you are putting an event together. They also offer support for events through out-of-home media which can prolong an event’s impact."
Events have become an essential part of media strategy, Hicks added. "Events used to be bolt-ons but that’s no longer the case. Around 70% of clients who come to us with ideas are asking for some sort of event. It gives communications teams the opportunity to be creative when they are usually strategic. Any media agency that isn’t looking to use experiential or events is going to miss a trick."
Victoria Morrison, event manager at PR agency Ketchum Pleon, said that media agencies could reap tangible benefits from events: "Clients primarily want to generate content, and events are a time and cost saver for that. It would often take our clients months to generate as much coverage through PR as they can get from a single event."
She added that working with existing events could be a reliable and cost-saving move for media agencies. "If you go to an event like Grand Designs Live where you have guaranteed stakeholders present, it’s easy to jump off that and hold a parallel event like a dinner."
Amice Lock, managing director of Liquid Thread, which is a division of Starcom Mediavest, told the audience: "The cost of creating something from scratch is often disproportionate, but most of our clients understand the value of getting involved with an existing property."
The panel agreed that the results of events and advertising should not be assessed by the same criteria. Lock revealed Liquid Thread is developing a net experience score for events. "Events should be unique, so you shouldn’t have a commodified approach," she said. "We are developing proxies with the data we do have, but it is a big challenge."
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