Hosting an event at a night club – Explained ( from Damascus Apparel’s Takeover tour )

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Our ‘takeover tour’ has finally come to an end, which was a rich learning experience to say the least. Using the brand to take over night clubs and fashion shows to build awareness and grow culture, from the outside, seems like it’s an easy task, but has proved to be quite challenging.

With that being said, I would like to use a few minutes of my time to explain to those who are interested, what exactly goes into a “take-over” or a “hosted” night at a cities top club.

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First that comes in line is choosing the right club – Ask yourself, how does the club align with your target demographic? Why would the club want to have you ‘takeover’ their venue to begin with? What are you adding to the event that they currently don’t have? It all comes down to added value, what are you bringing to the table to improve the overall experience of…..well, everyone.

One of the 6 stops on our tour was Bassmnt San Diego, with the headlining Artist being ETC!ETC!. We chose Bassmnt because their promotional agencies bring the talent we love, the venue is diverse, the staff is flexible & responsive and the girls that promo/cocktail/vip are 10 out of 10. It’s prestigious, but not too snuffy, it’s dark and has sex appeal. Some clubs make you feel like if your shit stinks, you can’t come in, these are the clubs we aim to stay away from. Bassmnt aligned perfectly with The Damascus brand and provided an all around smooth experience.

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Once the club is picked out, you typically go back and forth with the general managers and promotional team to discuss deliverables. Deliverables are items that you plan on bringing or setting up at the event. For the take-over tour our ‘deliverables’ were:

– Custom brut champagne bottles
– A variety of banners inside and outside the club
– Photo back drops
– Custom hand cut pieces for the vip hosts / cocktail girls
– Custom video made for the side rooms and ambiance screens
– Custom pieces made for bus boys and security
– VIP TABLE duffle bags for high end clients to be left on tables filled with new Damascus pieces
– In house film crew
– In house photographers
– Social media contest give-aways to promote the build up of the event. For us we gave away custom cut lucky cat tanks to girls on instagram that tagged and shared the image
– Live mural art
– Custom collaboration merchandise for the club produced by Damascus Apparel
– Our own lineup of talent for all rooms to open for the headliner at no cost to the club
– 100 people through the door

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After all is approved you must actually deliver what you say you are going to, be responsive, follow up, stay on top of it, do what’s expected, right? It’s not the job of the club or promotional companies to check in with you, they typically have something going on 4-5 nights of the week and stay up all night, the last thing they need to is to follow up with a brand for logos, merch, or digital materials. The easier you make it for everyone you are working with, the more people will want to work with you.

I can’t stress this enough, whether you are a brand, dj or cool business, have a “LOGO” pack ready to go at all times. A logo pack is a folder of your official logos in ALL formats. Vector, PSD ( 300dpi with transparent background ), PNG ( black / white / small medium large ) and flat jpegs on inverted backgrounds. This should be included in any approval email, intro email, deliverable email or creative. If you don’t have it, get it, yesterday, use http://microlancer.com or http://odesk.com – you will get what you need, quickly.

Schedule a time to do a walk through with the club, just because you have been there once or twice, doesn’t mean you know where everything is. Take 15-20 minutes to visualize where everything will be set up, how people will interact, what will the ‘flow’ be like, where will people be buying drinks, how loud is it?

We developed digital materials for Instagram and Facebook that promoted the upcoming event with a “build up” style text, “TAKING OVER IN 2 DAYS”, “TAKING OVER TONIGHT!”, etc with different images for each promo to keep people liking it and to take away the element of spam. Make sure that the elements you post on facebook and IG are square, otherwise they will get cut off. Also keep in mind that if you are boosting a post on facebook, the text cannot take up more than 20% of the ad, you can use http://20percentrule.info/ to run a test if your ad will get approved before spending the money with facebook and getting denied. Double check, this is your business, make sure it’s effective and not going to be taken down – especially if you time your ads during key high-viewer areas. The worst is boosting a post and then 2 hours go by and you wonder why no one is liking the image you posted, later to find out your text was too big and it wasn’t approved.

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Next is making sure your guest lists, tickets and comps are all IN PLACE far before the evening of the event and having it to whomever is running the door. You shouldn’t be hosting an event, then after 10:30 have long lost friends hitting you up because they can’t get in. The last thing the door people need is a barrage of kids screaming at them mentioning who they know or how important they are during peak entrance times of the club. Get your people there early, if they have a role in the hosting of the event, they should arrive before the club opens to help set up and make sure the AV guy is good, photographers are in place, video guys have an agenda, the bottle service girls are dialed, the door has the lists and everything is in place. Your crew doesn’t count, hot girls don’t count, your friends you met walking up to the club that promote for other industry people and want to come don’t count. Figure it the fuck out ahead of time.

If comp bottles are included in the hosting of the event, make sure you have enough money set aside for 2 extra bottles + gratuity. It doesn’t matter if it’s your event, you’re going to pay for what you consume. It’s respect. Nothing reflects worse on your brand, than bitching about money or not knowing who is responsible for a bill or tab. This should be pre-negotiated and solidified before hand with the promotional group or GM of the club. Keep things simple and smooth. It can get crazy inside the clubs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have everything under control.

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Close to final item on the list is making sure everything is broken down timely after patrons leave the club. Make sure your crew is aware of who is responsible for breakdown, where everything is going and how it’s getting there. Leave it better than you found it and you can never go wrong.

Finally is post event data, collect the photos from the event from the photographer. Depending on what was negotiated use drop box to retrieve medium-rez files with the watermark of your brand in the bottom left or right corner. ( opinion ). Post an album to facebook with a custom made cover photo to highlight the release of the event, but make sure you give thanks & credit to those who made the event a success and especially the club. Depending who runs your social, have them tag some of the key players, girls and headlining artists in the event, since they tend to get more shares and likes on their images.

Overall, a take-over takes a lot of work, but if you take the work off the hands of the club, you will always be welcomed back and more opportunities will open up. It’s great for marketing and creating awareness.

I hope this helps those out there that are looking to host events, throw parties or event grow as a DJ. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below and I am more than happy to personally answer them.

-Nate Khouli

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