One of my favorite parts of my job is to help plan and publicize events for our clients! From retailer openings to restaurant launches, races and galas, there’s a ton that goes into planning these events. Especially when it comes to openings and launches, there’s a lot to consider in order to make the biggest impact.

When launching a new business, it is important to make a splash in the local media and the local community. Hosting a grand opening event is a great way to drive traffic and attention to a new business in town – it’s newsworthy, and it’s a way to interact with future customers. Recently, Mekky Media Relations helped plan and drive media coverage for Belle Tire, a leading tire and vehicle service retailer in the Midwest, when they opened their Naperville, IL location – their first in the state.

Community Engagement

Think about opening a business like moving to a new neighborhood. You’re becoming part of a new community, and first impressions are incredibly important. We make sure that our clients engage with the chamber of commerce, local government representatives and other various community groups in the area to start building positive relationships from day one. For Belle Tire, we invited out several Naperville council members to take part in a ribbon cutting ceremony and speak about the positive impact new businesses have in the community. We also worked with the local VFW chapter to conduct a flag raising ceremony as a way to kickoff the event and involve more community members with Belle Tire programming.

Customer Engagement

If you are hoping to drive the public to the event, it is important to create an engaging atmosphere. What is appealing for a community member to make the trip out to the new business on that day? Maybe it’s a promotion, a giveaway or even live music and games. We led Belle Tire through a partnership with a local radio station and set up a tent during the grand opening event for one of the station’s on-air talents to come and broadcast live from Belle Tire, playing music, hosting competitions and driving traffic to the shop. There was also a tent set up with bagels and coffee for customers to enjoy.

Alert the Media

Let the local TV, radio and newspapers know what is happening at the event! Share the event information on calendar listings and invite local media to attend and get to know your new business. This can be a great way to increase foot traffic the day of, make connections with local media members, and potentially secure press covering your new business. Investing in PR is the best way to make this happen – in the case of Belle Tire, we had an already-existing network of local media that we were able to reach out to and connect with.

Take Footage

Throughout the grand opening, make sure to take high-quality photos and videos to post on social media, alert your customer base and share with the media to spread the word and celebrate highlights of the event.

Overall, grand opening events are a great tool to drum up excitement and create customer loyalty when a brand enters a new market. You can always reach out to a local public relations firm or events company as well to help plan and facilitate.