What makes a great pr event?

By Simon Moss, Associate Director & Head of Business Development

What makes a great event from a PR perspective? Is it challenging stereotypes, getting people engaged in the subject and offering them something completely new? Or is it free booze?

Well, I had the pleasure of attending a client event last month that offered all of these things – and the feedback suggests it was a roaring success.

Top-class musicians that played Glastonbury and have performed alongside hit artists, such as Plan B, played an amazing, intimate gig in the heart of Smithfield Market, while the trendy guests quaffed mini burgers, chicken satay and free alcohol.

What may surprise you is that this eclectic group was brought together by the magic of online accounting software.

The event was put on by Nick Lawrence, CEO at the accounting practice NWN Blue Squared, and Peter Brill at Net.Mentor, all in conjunction with our client Xero, a UK leading provider of cloud accounting software.

The link between the performers is that they all use Xero to manage their finances. Lawrence’s accounting firm specialises in providing services to people working in the creative industries and the event was moulded in his own fantastic style.

“Accounting is always going to have a certain stigma,” he said. “But if we can change the temperature just a little bit, then we will have done a good job.”

The theme of the event was: Who said accountancy has to be boring?, and it certainly challenged this stereotype. After the event, Xero’s UK MD, Gary Turner, told me: “I was there watching these amazing performers thinking ‘wow, they’re all Xero users’.”

Journalists that attended the event said they were impressed that an accountancy firm had put on such an event. So while it is down to free booze in some small way, the purpose of the event certainly came across to those who attended.

Corporate events can have the unfortunate reputation of being back-slapping, self-congratulatory exercises that fail to engage with those outside the company that may want to understand the message.

However, my experience here was that giving a bit of creative thought can make a huge difference.