Three Tips to Plan a Successful Grand Opening

Dittoe PR is no stranger to planning grand opening events. Between Broken Beaker Distillery, two CycleBar locations, six GetGo locations, Carmel’s Market District, Hickory House, and Broken English Taco Pub – among many others – we’ve got the process down pat.

 

When Chicago-famous taqueria Broken English Taco Pub decided to expand to Indianapolis, they had to not only find the perfect location but an Indianapolis public relations team to assist with grand opening planning and secure media coverage around the expansion to the Circle City. Assisting with everything from creating the guest list and sending invitations to coordinating a Facebook Live interview during the grand opening event, Dittoe PR did it all.

When planning for a grand opening event, keep the following tips in mind:

 

Set a goal. Is the goal to pack the house? Secure TV coverage? Work with key influencers? Once you know where the finish line is located, it’s much easier to start the marathon. Setting an overall goal will help keep the team’s eye on the prize during the planning process.

 

Outline the run-of-show. Keep everyone on track by creating a run-of-show document that will include all the key details, including contacts, timeline, media interviews, menus, entertainment, and more. The level of detail depends on the depth of the event, but collaborating with the team to ensure everything you need is in one place is integral to pulling off a successful event. Modifications can always be made, but having this prepared ahead of time relieves stress that will inevitably arise the day-of.

 

Give yourself plenty of time. There is a long list of steps that need to be accomplished to ensure the big day goes off without a hitch. Typically, grand openings can take weeks (or even months) to plan. By creating a time table for weekly tasks and checkpoints, it’s much easier to stay on track. Are there potential issues that might arise? Have your vendors signed contracts? Do you know who will field media interviews or check the guest list? Include these questions and details into your ever-evolving run-of-show to keep your team on track.

 

Have a grand opening coming up? Contact us for a consultation to find out how Dittoe PR can help!

Don’t Panic! Here Are The Top Crisis Communications Strategies

From large corporations to schools, government entities and even your friendly, neighborhood ice cream shop, every organization – large and small – will undoubtedly experience a crisis at one time or another.

 

And while every situation is different, one thing remains the same – the decisions you make regarding crisis communications will either help your company ride out the chaotic roller coaster or, if you’re not careful, cause lasting damage to your brand.

 

Following the crisis communications strategies listed below could help you protect your organization during a difficult time.

 

Preparation is Key

While it’s impossible to know exactly when a crisis will strike, it’s important to anticipate and plan for potential crises.

 

The best way to prepare is to create a detailed plan outlining every possible crisis – everything from running out of ice cream on a hot, summer day to the building burning down – and the best possible response for each situation.

 

One of the biggest challenges companies face during a crisis is having too many cooks in the kitchen. The crisis communications plan should specify who will make final decisions on messaging, who will be the media spokesperson and who needs to be looped into all crisis communications discussions.

 

Accuracy and Speed

At Dittoe PR, we consider accuracy and speed to be two of the main ingredients in crisis preparedness – and while both are important, the two can sometimes create a confusing balancing act.

 

In the case of a major crisis, it is incredibly important to act quickly to stay ahead of the media and response from target audiences. However, that does not mean you should hastily share information or whip up a media statement too quickly.

 

Our recommendation? Face the crisis head on, only sharing accurate and factual information. If you are unsure of how the fire started, avoid speculation at all costs. Instead, share what you DO know. Avoiding the media during a crisis is often the biggest mistake a company can make, as it creates unnecessary rumors and spreads confusing messages.

 

Company transparency

During a crisis, it’s sometimes easy to forget about your employees while trying to communicate with the media, law enforcement, investors and everyone else on your list. However, neglecting employees could be harmful to your company’s internal well-being.

 

Oftentimes, employees catch on to crisis situations even if the company has not shared information and updates. Company morale can quickly diminish if employees think something is wrong, but are not receiving informational updates. Instead, the organization should always make sure to share the most up-to-date information with all employees to keep everyone in the know.

 

In the event of a crisis, the CEO and the executive team must consider the company’s employees as another constituency to respect and inform. This is particularly helpful should an employee want to discuss the company’s situation with others, on social media or even with the media. You should prep employees on what’s appropriate to share with their own networks (and also what’s not).

 

In short, managing crisis communications is no easy task. However, it doesn’t have to be detrimental to your brand if you prepare, act quickly, share accurate information with the media and your employees, and most importantly, avoid panic!

 

Additionally, working with an experienced PR firm can ensure success before, during, and after a crisis occurs, as well as strongly increase the chances of making it through unscathed.

 

Think your company or brand could benefit from expert crisis communications? We’re happy to help!

How To Pitch a Unique Client to the Media

A blood-soaked box. Severed fingers. Barrels of slime. Surgical masks. Creepy, crawly critters.

Who knew that would be part of our media efforts for one of our most interesting clients.

This is our sixth year working with Indy Scream Park, Indiana’s premier Halloween event filled with haunted attractions, and the frights keep coming! The challenge of gaining media attention for a client this unique is the local competition. How does Indy Scream park stand out from its competitors, despite being the only interactive one with five attractions? We decided to create “media boxes”—in addition to our individual, personalized pitches—and it worked!

The box included the following:

  • Box splattered with red paint (or “blood”) and wrapped in zombie caution tape;
  • “Bloody” surgical mask to represent the Brickmore Asylum attraction;
  • Barrel of slime to represent the Pandemic: Mutation attraction;
  • Faux spiders, cockroaches, and centipedes to represent the Backwoods attraction;
  • Severed fingers to represent the Monster Midway attraction; and
  • Glow sticks to represent the RAGE 3D

Each item put a little taste of horror straight in the hands of the media and represented one of the haunted attractions within Indy Scream Park.

Dittoe PR created a list of key local media, as well as select national media, that we thought would be intrigued by this new-age approach to garnering media coverage. In addition to the scare-inducing items in each box, there was an invitation to a VIP media event at Indy Scream Park. The event included sneak peek access to all haunted attractions, as well as interview opportunities with haunt directors, the makeup manager, and even the actors in their natural element.

The box was received with mixed emotions but mostly intrigue, which resulted in a good buzz around Indy Scream Park and even landed them a Business Insider mention. Throughout the season Dittoe PR secured 54 pieces of media coverage totaling 60,069,640 media impressions and $685,124 in publicity value.

So sometimes it does pay to “think outside the box!” If you appreciate creative and unique PR strategies, request a consultation with us today!

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