What makes a successful beauty event?

Events are an excellent way for brands and PRs to introduce and promote a product. But following the decision to go ahead with one, brings with it a whole host of new obstacles to tackle. Where and when should it be held? Should food be served? If so, what type of food should be served? To answer these questions and more, who better to ask than the guests themselves?

Here, BD talks to a five top beauty journalists – across both print and digital titles – to discover what they consider the perfect media event. At their request, answers and opinions have been kept anonymous. 

While events are often fun and enjoyable, they are still considered work – so most beauty journalists tend to shy away from events that are held outside of traditional work hours.

Everyone we spoke to agreed that breakfast events were preferable to other times of the day. Second in line came lunch events, as long as they were quick and efficient. Evening events proved unpopular, unless the occasion was extra special and a meal was provided. Here's what they had to say.

"A dream beauty event would be a sit down breakfast starting at 8:30 finishing before 10am (this means only an hour out of our working day) or a lunch that is under two hours."

"Breakfast, with an actual sit down meal provided. Night events are okay, but only if a sit down dinner is provided – canapés and champagne don’t count!"

"Midday events are great as it’s nice to get out of the office and I find that I can schedule the rest of my day around a lunch time outing quite easily."

"If I'm not busy, I love a good lunch - BUT it needs to be worthwhile...Breakfasts and 1:1s are always doable and probably your best bet."

"A 8:30-9am breakfast is brilliant, even better if it wraps up quickly. Lunchtime events simply don't work for me but that's only because of the nature of our site. Evening events can sometimes be a struggle after a long day at work but I'd happily attend one if it was a special occasion."

"Personally, I don't like night time events, particularly mid-week and those that start at 7pm and aren't sit down - it's just not worth my time."

There is no right answer when it comes what type of food to provide at an event, but all of our beauty journalists agreed one thing: they love a good meal. 

"It’s so important to provide an adequate meal as most of us are skipping that meal as it’s advertised as ‘breakfast’ or ‘lunch’ which should mean food right...? A stand up cocktail event with a tiny amount of food is undesirable and we’ll most likely not spend as much time there as, to be honest, we’re hungry and will leave to feed ourselves.

"It’s an ask to get media to attend an event on their personal time, especially as we all become busier and busier – it should be respected and appreciated with a proper meal."

"If a night time event has to occur, it’s so important to have adequate catering as guest are taking time out of their private lives to be there and these usually occur during dinner time so please feed us! If it’s just champagne and canapés then that’s where you’ll most likely have less RSVPs or only having media pop in for a short amount of time."

Duration and location
The growing number of digital businesses and blogs, not to mention the fact that many beauty journalist are working across multiple publications, means workloads have increased and everyone is on a tight schedule. All our respondents agreed that importance should be placed on time-saving practices when it comes to events. And that means convenient locations. 

"It’s ideal if the event wraps up after an hour/ hour and a half. Bonus points if the location is less than 20 minutes away."

"Not far from the CBD/ Surry Hills/ Eastern Suburbs areas – unfortunately no one likes Rosebery/Alexandria events (sorry!)."

"Somewhere central, in or not far from the CBD."

"Two hours at the absolute max, one hour or less if not providing a meal. The most important aspect is that the event begins promptly. Requesting we arrive on time before making us stand around for 45 minutes is detrimental to our work days, so events need to be as prompt as possible."

Presentations and information 
Keeping with the theme of making sure events are under an hour or just over, beauty journos were fans of a snapshot presentations over a full briefing. They also appreciate a goodie bag with accompanying press release.  

"I think a short presentation is necessary to make sure we’re across the new launch, as sometimes it’s hard to get time to chat to the brand or PR in these sorts of settings, especially if a sit down meal."

"Goodie bags with the new product, press releases including ALL info such as RRP, launch dates etc. are a must, so we have the newly launched product right then and there!"

"A relevant brand expert that can speak to the product’s formulation and background. All speeches should be kept to less than 15 minutes, or to be broken up with interactive activities in between."

"A beauty event should always include speakers, lots of information and the product."

Final tips
Last but not least, media have a few little extra tips to keep in mind when organising your next event.

  • "Invites should state clearly what the event will entail e.g. sit down meal or canapés. And if there will be other interactive elements."
  • "Events should be tailored to the attendees. If it’s media, treat us like media and give us the information we need to avoid wasting our precious time. Influencers might enjoy parties and Instagram opportunities, but our primary objective is to learn about the product(s). Other invitees, such as salon owners and staff, should also be catered to separately as they require different information."
  • "Transfers are always welcome especially for lunch time events and post breakfast events. A recent P&G event put on by Fuel Communications was a great example of a quick and easy breakfast launch which was informative and successful. Waiters roamed with breakfast options, but we could sit down and eat this. There was coffee which was quick too, a preso and they even fit in a science experiment and bouquet flower making class in 1 hour!! Great job."
  • "Transfers are always nice - particularly if it's far away."
  • "Interactive elements like photoshoots, makeovers etc. should be optional. Most beauty eds don't have time to partake in activities that don't serve a purpose to their understanding of the product."