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Behind the Scenes: The Journey of a Venue Launch

The Launch of The Lamb of Tartary

When you’re looking to launch a new venue, it is important to think about what you want to achieve from your PR efforts – is it brand awareness, bookings or social media following, for example? For our client The Lamb of Tartary, they needed to communicate their new venue and the reasoning behind the closure of Cottonopolis to drive awareness and bookings over the launch period.

When it comes to launching a new venue, there are a few steps which are required to ensure the launch is a success…

Planning

For a new venue launch, the minimum campaign will usually run for a 6 week period, with 4 weeks ahead of the launch to build hype and 2 weeks post-launch to keep momentum going. 

In the planning phase, we split out the campaign into sections as outlined below to allow us to stay organised and for the client to know what is happening and when. This is arguably the most important stage of the launch as it is the time where all deliverables are agreed and KPIs are set. 

During the planning phase, this is also when the initial announcement, invitations and media/influencer lists for the campaign are crafted ready for the campaign to kick off. 

The Announcement

The announcement phase allows us to get across the messaging of the new venue through strategic comms. During the initial announcement, we want to ensure all channels are aligned, for example, when we go out with the press release, the website, social media and CRM will align. 

For The Lamb, this consisted of releasing a statement to announce that Cottonopolis was closing and something new was coming – this was then followed with the first announcement of The Lamb. 

In the first announcement press release, we will tease the launch date (if we don’t know this yet we will lead with the month of launch), any imagery of the venue or food alongside a mention of the menu, background of the venue and links to the website/social pages.

When the initial announcement is launched, we will then begin crafting a second announcement to let the public know any final details about the launch and the official opening times and date. This will then be shared to the media up to a week ahead of the launch.

First Look

When it comes to finally welcoming media into the venue, to build excitement, it is worth offering your number one (or two) media title(s) to come into the venue before anyone else for an exclusive first look – for The Lamb, this was Manchester’s Finest and The Manc. This would ideally happen the day before the remaining media will be visiting the venue, however, we understand that operationally this is not always possible, so it can still work just a few hours before. 

The first look will be hosted by Scoop to allow us to steer the content in the right direction. If you are working with a paid media partner, we recommend hosting a first look with your paid partner and then one editorial partner too. 

Press Lunch

Once the first look is out of the way, it is time to welcome the remaining media into the venue. This might consist of regional, national or trade media. We recommend hosting a press lunch the day before you officially open or to close to the public for the afternoon (12pm-2:30pm works best) to allow the media to have a private dining experience. 

Once again, Scoop will be on-site to facilitate any questions and ensure the afternoon runs smoothly. For the press lunch, we suggest that all food/drinks are comped for the media attending, however, we can limit this to ensure you are not giving away too much for free. 

Once the press lunch has been completed, we will follow up with the press release once again and answer any final questions. Over the next few hours and days, coverage will start to come through both online, across social media and in print, reviewing the venue and talking about its offering. 

Journalists are aware that there might be some teething issues having just opened the venue, however, we want to ensure that everything is as perfect as it can be to generate positive media coverage ahead of the doors opening to the public. 

Local business/hospitality invites

For some venues, it isn’t just about the coverage generated through influencers and media titles posting. It is also important for them to build a network of local businesses or key hospitality contacts who will be visiting their venue regularly for lunch or after work drinks. This is why The Lamb wanted to target local people to come to their welcome drinks as they reopened in the neighbourhood.

To do this, on the evening prior to the official opening, locals were invited to enjoy free drinks and some canapes from the venue. 

Ad Hoc Influencer Bookings

One of the final stages of the launch campaign can be split into two sections depending on the level of activity you are looking to achieve – Ad hoc influencer bookings, which this section will talk about or a launch party. 

Ad hoc influencer bookings are a great way to keep the content flowing when you are launching a new venue. For The Lamb, we invited 25 influencers into the restaurant across the four venues, this was to ensure a mixture of content from ‘what’s on’, food & drink and lifestyle content. 

The content produced adds to the credibility of the venue, with many influencers offering review style content for their audience. We expect influencers to post content across Instagram and TikTok in exchange for a fully comped meal and drinks package, again, we can control this through letting influencers know what is and isn’t included in their booking. 

All content will then be captured and saved in a folder for you to access and look back on at the end of the campaign. 

Launch Party 

If you are planning to launch a big venue and really want to go in with a bang, then it is recommended that you host a launch party rather than a press lunch and influencer bookings. 

This way everyone you plan to invite, whether this is media, influencers or local businesses, can enjoy the venue in one evening. When hosting a launch party, we recommend you provide at least 2-3 complimentary drinks per person alongside an activity or food offering. 

The purpose of a party is to really open the new venue with a bang, this also makes it less logistically heavy on the team as everyone can come into the venue at the same time whilst getting a taste of what the new venue is all about. 

Official Announcement 

Now that you are ready to open, it is time to announce this to the public. One of the ways we recommend doing this to have the most impact is to give away something free on launch day. This is also a great way to generate a queue moment on launch day – for The Lamb, this included giving away 100 free beers to get people through the door on opening day. 

Now you know a few key tips to successfully launch your venue but if you want to know more, drop us a hello at hello@scoopagency.co.uk to find out more! 

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