The months leading up to new seasons are haven for blogger and press events and Fashion Weeks spreading over a month. Brands and businesses are constantly trying to come up with new and engaging ways to get us bloggers involved with them, from online webinars to full scale parties into the night. Sometimes an event is not all you expect it to be which can be disappointing. You may have taken time out of your professional job, or travelled a long distance to attend and feel it may not have been time well spent.
Pick your battles
Firstly, it’s important to get some perspective. Putting an event together is tough and PRs have a nightmare trying to coordinate every piece of the puzzle together. Think of the times a dinner with a group of friends has had last minute changes or cancellations – times that by a thousand levels of importance and you get some idea of the pressures on a PR on a daily basis.
Think about what you are complaining about. Would you complain if you were in a temporary job and no one offered you tea of coffee all morning, or if the journey was more complicated than you planned it to be? Probably not. If you are being paid (or gifted) or being taken somewhere you wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to go to then have a think about whether you really need to raise your hand and have a little moan.
When Things Aren’t Right
That’s not to say that PRs shouldn’t be held accountable when you give them your time and an event isn’t what you planned it to be. Usually they will detail what an event will encompass before you get there. If they promised a particular aspect to the day (photo shoot, particular high profile attendee, manicure/makeover), expenses to be covered or any payment/gifting and that doesn’t happen you are well within your rights to raise it with them.
If it is more that you just didn’t like the products/collection that they were showing you it can be more tricky – this is where it is important to know what your blog’s style/concept is so you can quickly explain/justify why you aren’t going to blog about their brand. Remember that as long as you go about it constructively, eg: ‘Thank you so much for the invitation, however the pieces weren’t quite to my blog’s style (which focuses on x,y and z) so I won’t be covering it this time around. I love X about it though, so bear me in mind for your winter collection.’ … a PR will probably appreciate the feedback and respect that you manage a tight ship in terms of content on your blog.
How To Go About It
Be nice, that’s very important. The chances are, if something hasn’t happened it was because there was a last minute cancellation out of the organiser’s control so at least give them the benefit of the doubt with your initial email. Drop them a line to say thank you for the invitation, but that you felt let down/disappointed because x/y/z didn’t happen – or explain what you felt was lacking from their product line. If you were attending purely to experience what didn’t happen, don’t be afraid to tell them – but don’t harp on too much as unfortunately the person you are emailing probably has control over the guest list for future event so be constructive rather than harp on…
Also do not (read: NEVER EVER) tweet or publicly complain – it’s extremely bad taste, at least until you have given the brand a chance to redeem themselves! Remember how powerful social media can be, negatively and positively. If you send a tweet slamming a company, and then later discover you were wrong or they send you a lovely apology – the chances of all the same people seeing your original tweet and a tweet you then send explaining they redeemed themselves is pretty slim. At least one person will be left with a bad view on a business that might not be accurate…
A good PR/event organizer will see you, the client/attendee, as being in the right and will do their best to make things right – but only if you remain polite and keep your moaning down to a couple of constructive feedback points. They should get back to you quickly and offer some kind of solution. If they are still pressuring you to blog about the event when it wasn’t what you expected (their products weren’t what you hoped for, or you didn’t like it as much as you thought you would) just politely explain that you don’t feel it is suitable for your blog and you’d like to hear about future things as you can see great potential with the company…