Special events boost recognition

There are many ways to increase the awareness of your business.

Some nontraditional methods provide more interaction with the public than the usual advertising and press releases, making your products and services seem more real.

In Reno, a big option on the list is special event involvement.

Public relations building your company image can be viewed as a series of personal relationships built over time.

Special events give your company the opportunity to be physically in front of more people than you could ever crowd into your business at one time.

When customers won't come to you, you must go to them.

And, appearing at special events can help you do just that.

There are a lot of rewards in supporting and becoming involved in this area's great special events.

But keep in mind that events also take a lot of hard work and planning, and the sponsorship fee is just the beginning of your expenses.

If you are interested in events for your business, you have some options: produce an event for your business or support one that has had a good track record.

My advice is to talk to an events producer if you want to "own" an event.

If you are interested in supporting existing events, there are many types of events that welcome business support including fundraisers, charity, community- wide, sporting, etc.

Community-wide special events have always made Northern Nevada unique.

They make us feel good about the community in which we live and give out-of-towners another reason to visit our area.

For this column we're going to address why and how to get in involved our major community events.

This is a good place for any business to start.

Reno's major events offer sponsorships that range from a couple hundred dollars to over $100,000.

The amount of exposure and media coverage your business will receive from being involved escalates with the dollar amount, of course.

So, how do you jump in? First of all, you and your management team should decide on the overriding objective of your event involvement.

Here is a small list:


Motivate employees, i.e.

an employee incentive program.


Team building for your employees (do an activity together).


Entertain customers, clients and venders.


In-store promotion/contest a giveaway.


Show community caring.


Get in front of as many people as possible.


Introduce a new product/sampling.


Introduce a new service and pass out literature.


Interact with as many people as possible and put a face on your business with one-on-one interaction.


Business generation.

After you have set your objectives and before you go shopping for events the most important step in this process is evaluation.

Set criteria that makes sense for your business and rank the most important ones.

Here are some ideas to get you started: family or adult oriented, mostly visitors or locals, one day/multiple days; exhibit space; non-profit, for-profit or charity; locally produced; attendance figures; admission free or ticketed; will you have enough staff to execute; is the event message complimentary to your business' core values; etc.

You will have criteria of your own.

With your criteria set, you will be able to make good decisions and have the sound reasoning when your employees approach you to sponsor their favorite event.

Budget is another big consideration.

In addition to the sponsorship fee, you will have to dedicate staff hours as well as the costs of invitations for your guests, catering, transportation, promotional materials etc.

Be prepared to do things right or set your sights a little lower on a smaller sponsorship.

The next step is the fun part.

Exploring all the events that the Truckee Meadows has to offer.

A partial list and websites appear below.

When you have picked an event you think will work, the hard work begins.

Your business will just be throwing away money if you and staff are just going to show up at the event.

Go back to your objectives and start planning.

Let me offer some examples of how companies make the Great Reno Balloon Race work for them.

All of the companies mentioned tackle this event from different objectives, which may help create some ideas of your own.

The local ReMax office makes arrangements to bring to Reno two of its corporate balloons: a regular-shaped logo'd balloon and a special-shaped balloon called "Roaring Home." Most of the local office staff is involved with crewing for the balloon (team building).

They invite press to ride in the balloons (publicity).

They offer tethered balloon rides in their balloons on Saturday and Sunday with the proceeds going to the Children's Miracle Network, ReMax's national charity partner (fundraising).

Wells Fargo is the Balloon Races' biggest sponsor.

They also make arrangements to bring out the company's special shaped balloons.

They fly media in the balloon.

Invitations go out to hundreds of their customers to enjoy a morning in a specially catered hospitality tent where prizes are given away (customer entertainment).

The company raffles balloon rides on site, donates s few to charities in other markets and has in-branch ride giveaway contents.

The Reno Hilton invites meeting planners and convention sales people from across the nation to Reno during the Balloon Race.

They cater breakfast for the large group and in the afternoon, show them the sites of Reno.

The Hilton's sales team is involved in executing this sales event, which has been very successful, booking more than 20,000 room nights (business generation).

The University of Nevada, Reno uses to event to sell balloon pins.

The money generated is used for scholarships.

The Reno Gazette Journal sponsors a balloon and uses the rides and merchandise for an annual staff incentive/giveaway (employee incentives).

Many businesses donate the balloon rides they get in their sponsorship package to their favorite charity.

The rides are then used at local fundraisers and silent auctions.

Other businesses invite clients to the event for balloon rides and then take their guests out to breakfast.

The list could go on.

Most businesses go to all this work and support events because of the oneon- one time they get with employees, clients, customers, etc.

All of the events listed below offer great opportunities and in settings that will work the best for your company.

* Reno Rodeo: www.renorodeo.com

* Nevada State Fair: www.nevadastatefair.


* The Great Reno Balloon Race: www.renoballoon.com

* Hot August Nights: www.hotaugustnights.net

* Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off: www.janugget.com * Reno Tahoe Open: www.renotahoeopen.com

* Reno National Championship Air Races: www:airrace.org

* Artown: www.renoisartown.com These are a few of the biggest events in Reno-Sparks.

But don't forget, there are great cultural events like Hispanic Heritage Days and Cinco de Mayo, and environmental events like Earth Day.

Concerts offer great venues for special guest entertainment.

Call your local chamber of commerce for information on business events.

And, don't forget all of our local charities that produce fundraisers and need your support.

An extensive list of local events can be found at one of the following websites: www.renolaketahoe.com www.gonnahappen.com www.rgj.com Have fun and get involved!

Marlene Olsen is president of Olsen & Associates Public Relations, Inc.

of Reno.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment