Launch parties, if pulled off effectively, can generate huge buzz for any brand. They can garner goodwill, and can be a lot of fun for prospective customers or clients. But, that's only if they are planned and executed well. Here is a quick primer on how to build the perfect launch party along with some great resources to check out to further your knowledge on the throwing the very best launch party possible.
What is a launch party?
In its simplest form, a launch party is an event used to help launch something. Whether that be a new brand, product, location or service. A launch party should be an extension of the core values of your brand; it should reflect your beliefs and desires as a company while showcasing something completely new. It typically includes inviting stakeholders in your business, and key industry influencers or prospects to an event hinged on introducing them to your new brand, product, or location while also entertaining them and making the experience a memorable one.
So, How do you plan a launch party?
Benjamin Franklin is purported to have said, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." This statement is especially true when it comes to throwing a launch party. So let's look at some steps to planning the perfect launch party.
Launch Party Checklist
The first thing you need to do is come up with a launch party checklist. This should be a list of all of the important steps that need to be completed before the event. We've included a checklist here to get you started, but it is by no means all-inclusive. Remember to include key stakeholders to the launch in your planning meetings to better get a sense of other action items that may be needed.
Here is the short list:
- Establish a budget. The budget should be one of the first (if not the first) step to planning your launch party. You need to know exactly how much you have to spend so you can plan what your launch party can and can't include.
- Implement an event app. An event app is a great way to help plan and implement your launch party even in early stages as you plan amongst your staff and teams.
- Create a guest list. Make sure your guest list includes key people in your industry, including members of the press that cover your specific niche. Don't just invite anyone, you want your event to have a feeling of exclusivity and to carefully curate who walks through the door.
- Choose a Venue. A venue can make or break your event. Make sure you find a location that knows how to host a launch party (to start). Also, make sure that that the location speaks to your brand's identity. If you're in an extremely innovative industry, a more corporate banquet hall or conference center may not be the place; but for a more traditional or conservative industry that might work great! It all depends on who will be attending.
- Plan the Menu - Think outside the catering box, maybe food trucks or food cooked on site, or a build-your-own option. Think beyond the plated and served dinner and about what may be enjoyed by all.
- Plan Bar Service - If you'll be having bar service, come up with a signature cocktail that's fun and imaginative. Also be sure that if you have an open bar you are offering free rides, ride discounts or free shuttle services to guests.
- Coordinate All Staff - Make sure you hire a knowledgeable staff with launch party experience to help make the event go smoothly.
- Book Entertainment - Find a good DJ, musical act, comedian or performer. Entertainment throughout the night will keep guests around longer, and on their toes as to what might be next.
- Choose a Theme - Come up with a theme for your launch party beyond your brand. Then use that theme to tie the whole event together.
- Feature Giveaways - If you want a surefire way to keep people at your event plan some giveaways. Swag bags, thank you gifts, raffles, or contests will help engage attendees.
- Create an In-Depth Schedule - Make a plan for the event, and document it. A schedule of activities will keep the event moving and all staff in the know of what to expect.
- Have a Contingency Plan - Something will go wrong with your launch party. It could be the food, the venue, or anything else. It is imperative to have contingency plans in place to deal with these issues.
Now that you have a sense of some key action items you should include when planning your launch party, let's talk about launch party types. They aren't all created equally, and the idea you chose to run with might change the planning process and depth entirely.
Launch party ideas
Take a look at some out of the box ideas that can set you on the path of how to throw a successful launch party.
- Publicity stunt - Create a public event that you invite your VIPs to attend
- Live Demo - Give a demo of your product to allow attendees to experience it for themselves
- Charity - Sponsor a charity with your event and do some good while launching your new product or service
- Keep it local - Use a local business as a location or provider (drinks or food)
- Costumes - A costume party doesn't just have to be for Halloween. If you're feeling adventurous it can happen any time of year.
This list barely scratches the surface of what you could do for your brand launch party. The sky really is the limit, just make sure that you keep whatever you choose on theme so that everything fits together.
The event itself
Now that you've set up your checklist and figured out what you're going to do there's still that little detail of how to throw a launch party. Now if you've done all the homework and planned everything then you should be ready to go, but that doesn't mean things will go off without a hitch. In fact, its almost guaranteed that something will go wrong. But here a few tips to help things go as smoothly as possible.
- Schedule, schedule, schedule - The MC, the DJ, the staff, everyone should know what the schedule for the event is. This means everyone will be working in concert to make sure that the event goes as smoothly as possible.
- Backup - Try to have a backup for anything that could go wrong. This isn't always feasible (ie. having a backup venue may be difficult) but try to be prepared for as many eventualities as possible.
- Be Honest, and Communicate - If something big does go wrong and there's no way to fix it, let people know. You're almost always better off just letting people know that there was an issue and that you're working to fix it. This is where an event app can be very helpful. It allows you to get out information to everyone at your launch party which can help alleviate the inconveniences of the situation at hand.
Looking for additional resources?
Here are some great resources you might check out in regard to throwing a launch party that resonates with your target market, and creates a lasting brand impression.
- How to Throw an Epic Launch Party in 10 Steps - Inc.
- How to Throw the Perfect Startup Party - Event Manager Blog
- Tips for organising a spectacular business launch party - printsome
- 18 Tips for Planning a Flawless New Product Launch - HubSpot
There you have it! Now you're armed with the tools and resources to get started planning your next, or maybe even your first, brand launch party.