A ribbon cutting event can be a great way to celebrate the opening of your business or organization, and it can also help increase your visibility – if it’s done right. As I’m coming off the heels of the third ribbon-cutting event I’ve helped organize in the past few months, I’d like to share a simple checklist to help you make sure your event is a success. While some of these points may seem obvious, it’s better to over-plan than to be unprepared! Follow these tips and your event will run smoothly.
- Conduct a site check in advance. Assess the space and determine the best spot for the ceremony. Depending on the scope and size of the event, you may need a tent, podium, staging and catering.
- Back-up plan. If your event is outside, have a back-up plan in case of inclement weather. Be prepared to hold the official ribbon cutting ceremony on the podium itself (under the tent), or take it inside.
- Audio visual. If you’re hosting a significant event, retain the services of a professional audio visual company to set up the microphone and sound system. If you’re expecting news media, rent a mult box. The media will thank you for the crisp, clear sound.
- Visuals. Besides the individuals cutting the ribbon, think about other visuals such as signage, a logo in the background, and a podium sign featuring your logo, too.
- Who’s cutting the ribbon? Plan, in advance, who will partake in the ribbon cutting and who will actually cut the ribbon. Typically, people who are on the speaking agenda will participate.
- Ribbon, etc. Purchase wide ribbon with the color that best suits the event. It’s also OK not to use a ribbon. We’ve seen everything from a ceremonial tiki-torch lighting for a Caribbean-themed night club, to cutting through dog leashes for a pet boarding facility opening to cutting through dollar bills for a bank opening and more.
- Scissors. Invest in a pair of big shiny scissors for the ceremonial “cut.” If your scissors don’t work, try this old “PR trick.” Cut the ribbon in advance and tape it together (on the back) with clear tape. When it’s time for the ribbon cutting, ask the two individuals holding the ribbon to pull it as it’s being “cut.”
- Guest list/invites. Determine your guests – from VIPs to local public officials to vendors involved with the business. Issue invites at least three weeks in advance.
- Media. Issue a media advisory to invite media to cover the event. Include the specifics – who, what, when, where and why. Also include a media contact with onsite contact information for the day of the event. Depending on the newsworthiness of the event, be prepared to provide the media with a ribbon-cutting photo and news release following the event.
- Photography. Budget permitting, hire a professional photographer to capture the ribbon cutting. Stage some quick shots before the ribbon is cut to make sure you get a good picture (no closed eyes, people looking the other way, etc.). If you don’t have the budget, use a digital camera and give it your best shot!
About the Author:
As co-founder and President of Thomas/Boyd Communications, Pam Boyd finessed her leadership skills early on in her career. Pam is an award-winning public relations professional who provides the strategy, groundwork and energy to help advance her clients and their causes. She’s achieved renowned success in media relations and placements, event planning and organization and strategic programs and initiatives. Her passion for public relations and her dedication to her clients and their missions is evident, and she’s always on the lookout to build new relationships and bridge connections for her extensive network of contacts. A proud and well-recognized businesswoman, Pam is often called-upon to share her expertise with organizations and associations across the region.