A groundbreaking ceremony is a great milestone for any developer. It is meant to create awareness of a project, encourage the sales team, and provide a celebration for buyers, among other objectives. However, without the proper PR strategy and planning, the event may not accomplish these goals. Because these events are typically short and sweet, it’s vitally important to make sure every detail is well thought out.
At Fort Lauderdale- and Aspen-based public relations and marketing agency Durée & Company, we have more than 20 years of experience planning successful groundbreaking events for high-end real estate developers and a variety of other clients. Our seasoned team of Dynamos present the following 11 steps to help you make your real estate groundbreaking event rise high above the rest.
Create a list of people you are inviting– and a list of those who RSVP.
After you have created your invite list and sent out invitations with a solid RSVP deadline, be sure to keep track of who plans to attend. Your guest count can affect your catering quote if you have fewer or more people than expected. Print out the RSVP list for the day of the event to check who showed up.
Design an invite.
As you put together a list of potential attendees, work with your public relations or advertising agency to design an effective and eye-catching invitation. Be sure that it has all necessary details. Be sure to include:
- the date, time and address
- instructions on how to RSVP
- when to RSVP by
- what to wear
- where to park, if necessary
Hire a photographer
Good photos are key to securing post-event media coverage, so hire a photographer you trust. About a week before the event, start compiling a shot list of VIPs and local dignitaries. To ensure the photographer captures the right images print out a document with headshots of each guest on the shot list. This way he/she will have an idea of who to look for. Also, designate someone to work with the photographer to get names of people in each photo (from left to right) for photo IDs. Most media outlets require caption identifications for post-event coverage. This is why it’s important that you are able to name each person in the photos.
Arrange for a caterer
It’s critical that the event location has everything the caterer needs. For example, if there is no electricity at the site, you may need to hire a food truck or a company that doesn’t require it. Many times, the caterer will provide a quote based on how many attendees you are expecting with a deadline for a final headcount. This is why keeping track of RSVPs (Tip No. 1!) is so important. You don’t want to pay for too much food, but you also don’t want to run out! Have enough staff to serve the guests and ensure that there are no long lines to wait for food. If you don’t have ample seating, we often suggest serving quick bites to allow guests to move around while eating.
Order customized shovels and hard hats.
Oftentimes, developers will order shovels and hats with the project’s logo on them. VIPs and local dignitaries can use and wear these in photos. Order enough for the people that will be flipping the dirt for you main photo-op. This picture will be used to pitch media. Make sure you order these far enough in advance and work with the vendor to ensure they will be delivered before the event.
Prepare for the weather, and for restroom breaks.
These are two important things to do. Have plenty of umbrellas ready and waiting in case it starts to rain. If there are no restrooms on-site, you may need to rent portable restrooms or make sure there is one nearby that guests can access.
With groundbreaking events, there often isn’t enough parking since the area is under construction. If you have enough parking for all guests at or near the site then you’re golden! For those who don’t, you may need to hire a valet for the occasion. If your parking is across the street from the event, consider hiring police to allow the guests to safely cross.
Draft and distribute a media alert.
Communicate with your public relations agency, if you have one, and have the team draft a media alert of your groundbreaking event. If not, seek out a PR agency with experience in real estate groundbreaking events. The media alert must include all event details such as who, what, when and where. Once you’ve approved the media alert, the PR agency will distribute it to its media contacts and invite them to the event. It’s important for the media alert to be drafted and approved far enough in advance so attendees have time to plan. A week before the event is not enough time! It’s crucial to circle back and remind media contacts of the event; just one email will not cut it.
Prepare the speakers.
If a member or members of the developer leadership team wish to speak, draft talking points for them. Ask elected officials if they would like to speak, and if so, schedule that into the event.
Create a run-of-show
The run-of-show helps keep everyone organized and on schedule. This helps coordinate arrival times and instructions for who needs to be where at what time. Print out copies to have them handy the day of the event.
Follow up with everyone!
From media outlets and local dignitaries to the caterer, photographer and valet, it’s imperative that you follow up a few days before – and even the day before – the event, so everyone is on the same page. Remind attendees to wear close-toed shoes that they don’t mind getting a little dirty.
Even though a real estate groundbreaking event may be short and sweet, there is a whole lot that goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen. These are some of our top steps, but we have many more tricks up our sleeves for creating the ultimate groundbreaking event! Contact us at Durée & Company to discuss how we can make your groundbreaking event shine even brighter than the hard hats – and get your project noticed!
About Durée & Company, Inc.
Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency and nonprofit arenas for local, national and international clients. Services include public relations, social media, marketing, digital marketing, content development, advertising, special events, branding, radio promotions, affiliate marketing and more. Durée & Company clients include well-known names in yachting, business, real estate, hospitality, travel, cannabis and hemp, wellness and CBD, art and culture, fashion, nonprofit organizations, legal and professional services. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms. To learn more, call 954-723-9350; g8o to dureeandcompany.com; or visit its new, specialized cannabis- and CBD-specific site at cannabismarketingpr.com. Join the social conversation and follow Durée & Company on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn at @DureeCoPR.