A product launch is arguably one of the most exciting types of event one can organise; providing an opportunity for maximum creativity.

Matt Margetson, Director of well-established creative agency Smyle, explains how through smart ideas, bold creativity and telling a compelling story you can bring a product to life and leave a lasting impression on attendees.

Smyle has produced product launches for brands such as Rolls Royce, and BlackBerry, organised numerous car dealer launches and even christened a cruise ship.

Here are Matt’s top 10 tips for pulling off the perfect product launch event…

  1. Brief

“It sounds obvious, but be very clear on the client brief; read, read and read again. What are the client objectives, the KPI’s that the launch has to deliver against? If in doubt, then ask.

“Ultimately, if you have a clear idea of the brief and the activation delivers or surpasses this, then you should be on the right track.”

  1. Understand your customers

“In any product launch, you have to understand the audience and the consumer, and that involves a lot of work on gleaning insight. The time that takes is often underestimated.

“It comes down to understanding your client, their aspiration, their brand, their audience and what their wishes and requirements are. Who are they trying to talk to, what do they want the audience to think, feel and do, pre, during and post launch?”

  1. Collaboration

“It depends on the client and project, but there may well be an array of individuals and other agencies that you may be required to work with. These may range from PR agencies and marketing agencies, through to retail store designers and web teams.

“You need to make sure there’s cohesion between those different strands. What’s the single thought or idea that ties all those agencies together? You also have to be very clear about your roles and responsibilities to ensure everyone pulls in the same direction.

“Ultimately, through a good open and collaborative process you will ensure the best ideas develop and the process is an enjoyable one.”

  1. Build the event around an idea and a message

“For us, the idea is everything. Today’s audiences belong to the most distracted generation in history. Only through smart, innovative and bold activations can we make those moments deeper, richer and longer in our clients’ and their audiences’ lives.

“Therefore, the best activations are the ones built around a smart idea underpinning them with strategy and deep insight so that they resonate with the audience they’re trying to target. That’s how you create something powerful and bold.

“A smart idea that emotionally engages and resonates with an audience will always be far more powerful than an activation built just on an excessive budget. Although we do occasionally like excessive budgets as well…”

  1. Choose the right time

“You will always hear about politicians releasing bad news on a big news day, conversely the opposite is true. If you have the luxury of being able to pick the launch date, then it stands to reason you don’t want to compete with any other news to get the biggest amplification.

“However, if the date is set, then find out the other launches or news due for that day so you can plan this, and if necessary incorporate this into your strategy.”

Related: 6 Small brands delivering incredible live experiences

  1. Create multiple stories

“Often audiences are not built up of one type of individual, but many. Therefore, there may not be a single message targeted to the entire audience, but varying messages targeted to different groups within the same audience. Do you know who the various groups are, what things segment the different groups, and what are the behaviours displayed by them? Any message is going to have far more cut-through if it resonates with that individual.

“At the live activation, think about tech as it’s a great way to provide a personalised experience throughout the audience. If you can target individuals with personalised messages throughout the live activation then you can ensure that the various messages are heard clearly throughout the different groups.

“Start with how you understand each individual, their social signature, and behaviours. Some of this info is readily available through them registering for the event, however you can pick up other info at the event. Cameras can detect whether they’re male or female and their age range. A company called Sight Corp can even understand emotion and if someone is engaged, happy or sad.

“Layering this data over each other builds a fuller picture of not only who they are and who they work for, but how they feel. With this info in hand you can then target the right message and media to each and every person. However, you need to know who is in what place at what time – for this, think ibeacon, RFID, NFC to geo locate throughout different spaces and treat every screen, projector and mobile phone as an opportunity to engage.”

  1. Make it bold

“Don’t just do what’s been done before; be creatively courageous and make sure your work is impactful and inventive. If you’ve got great ideas then share, incubate and nurture them.

“Obviously, creative bold solutions require having a smart creative team around you built up of a broad range of skill sets. By combining high performing creative teams with the deep brand insights, creative thinking and technical innovation, you can really push the boundaries of what is possible.”

  1. Have a big message if you don’t have a big budget

“Big budgets are always helpful, but you don’t have to have one. Great ideas don’t necessarily cost huge amounts of money and some of the best ideas I’ve seen have resonated, not because of vast amounts of money spent on them, but more that there was a super smart idea and message at the heart of it.

“You only have to look at the UNICEF Assembly of youth campaign to see an amazing and powerful activation built on a smart and simple idea.”

  1. Take risks… but rehearse everything and always have a backup plan!

“Original ideas are essential in gaining cut through, with this needing to translate through to the live activation. Developing unique engagements often involves innovating and using pioneering techniques.

“With technology woven into the fabric of everything we do these days, often a large part of the activation will in some way involve innovative tech. Don’t let the fact that it has not been done before stop you, instead this should motivate and galvanise the team. You will be surprised how well everyone works when they are united in a common cause and trying to push boundaries.

“However, anything you implement, especially when it’s new and innovative needs to be tested thoroughly. Think of all the worst-case scenarios and plan for the worst. This way, whatever happens it will have looked planned and purposeful.”

  1. Engage with the audience

“Don’t just do ‘show and tell’, driving a speech for a large single stage – engage with your audience and give them opportunities for a more fulfilling experiential journey.

“Through having a personalised experience, they will remember more about the product and features, but more importantly the benefits they are able to derive from them.”

Related: 12 Examples of promotional events to build your brand


For a product launch event that lives longer in each individual’s memory, ensure you understand the audience and gain insight, build this understanding around a great idea and then deliver it all in a personalised manner.

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