“You should do a pre-launch”
I sat there, for a second, my mind spinning the moment that Bosco Anthony suggested the idea. Where would I hold it? What would I talk about? How would I organize, promote and execute a pre-lunch, for my upcoming Social Media Day in CR, in less than two weeks? “Brilliant idea, Bosco”, I said. “I’ll do it!” First, if you haven’t had a chance to connect with Bosco Anthony, or catching him speaking at an event, this is something that you need to add to your bucket list. One phone conversation with the man and I am off like the Mad Hatter, setting up a tea party! The ideas flowed from him. “Set up a Google Hangout and I will chat with the the people there” and “hey, we could bring in another speaker, like Cadi Jordon, to mix it up a bit, too”. Between his thoughts and my ADD mind, I was off like a shot, mere seconds from ending the phone call, scribbling thoughts on paper and making a to-do list. By the end of the evening, I was ready to roll.
With Bosco as one of the Virtual Guests, I knew that the conversation was going to be about “the story”. Bosco is one of the digital pied pipers of “the story is everything” in the digital space. So where to go? Where can I go where the venue IS the story? Actually, it wasn’t very hard to come up with the answer. Shelter Point Distillery, just south of my community, is not only a beautiful location, but it has it’s own amazing story. One of only TWO whiskey distilleries, in the country, making single malt in the Scotch tradition. Strong focus on doing everything on-site, from growing the barley to malting to aging and bottling. Even the building, that would host the event, featured wood milled right on the property. Even more, the story was only beginning, with their first single-malt vintage due at Christmas. Theirs was a story that still had 5 – 8 – 10 – 12 – 16 – 18, even 25 years to go.
The idea of having people come in, hear the story of the distillery, taste their current single malt vodka spirits and their early vintage whiskey, followed by sitting in BIG, comfy, brown leather chairs and chat with Bosco and Cadi on the 50″ LED TV, was, well, perfect! Fortunately, the ownership of the distillery are creative and forward thinking people, always willing to try something and learn something new. They were in for the show.
Backboning off the marketing that was already happening for the Social Media Day in Campbell River, I started the online conversation about the pre-launch. It was challenge, to be sure, as the pre-launch was not in my original budget plan for Social Media Day, so I had to do it at next-to-nothing in cost. Well, it is Social Media, after all, so many of my existing conversations would often move to “hey, what are you doing on the evening of June 11th”. Doing promotion that does not sound like you are selling something is never easy, but it was a little easier considering that the event was free. Still, with only about 6 days to really “promote”, after getting all the pieces in place, I was very much wondering if I was going to be sitting in front of a big screen, chatting with a couple of big names in the Social Media sphere, all by myself. Fortunately, I never quit until the party is over and the effort paid off.
I arrived to set up, with at least one guest already there. I took a risk and tested the iPad / HDMI / TV connection on the actually day of the event (not only did it work, but it looked AWESOME!). I had gambled on a sandwich tray that was supposed to serve 40 people. To be honest, I was gambling on a lot, but if you don’t roll the dice, your chances of winning are much less than if you do. As the official start time approached, there was still only one guest, the owners and myself, watching a YouTube video on the big screen. Was this thing going to happen? Then the tell-tale “bing-bong” of the door to the distillery store opening, began to chime.
A wide ranging group of people began to funnel into the building. A custom soap maker, a beer blogger, a tourism operator, a copywriter, a Life Coach, a U-Vint wine maker, a professional photographer, a homeless advocate, a soon-to-be college graduate. About as varied a group as you could ever imagine. Along with the owners of the distillery, about a dozen people surrounded the tasting table for the kick-off. Not a huge number, but, like having Facebook “Likes” better to have a dozen eager to learn faces than a hundred who are there for the booze.
One the great things about doing what I do is that I get meet and work with some amazing people, like Bosco Anthony and Cadi Jordan. These two are making waves in the Social Media and Digital Marketing world, so when they both agreed to take part in my little pre-launch, they were showing what Social Media is all about. The Social. They know that if more people understand how Social Media really works, the better the space becomes. Playing the MC, I led the Q&A, asking questions about the digital world of marketing and Social Media. I watched as the eyes of those assembled went wide with interest as Bosco said things like “Advertising is Dead” and “The Story is Everything”. They heard the story of Cadi and how she put it all on the table, took the plunge and followed what she loved to do….and made it as success.
Most of all, they got some insights as to where the digital space was going, from those that are driving that space. Finally, each of those people in the room got a chance to hear ideas about what they could do to further their businesses, as I introduced each person and described what their business or passion was. The insights that each received add so much value to the event that they could not help but leave and do what I had hoped they would do, in the end; talk about the upcoming Social Media Day in Campbell River.
“You should do a pre-launch”. So I did.