Tag Archives: events

NAIAS Survival Checklist: Must-Haves For Working The Event

There’s lots of great articles out there with tips on attending the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), but what if you’re not an attendee but working it for a client? Our Franco auto team is no stranger to the behemoth auto exhibit, so we asked them what they have on their must-bring lists for 2016.

Here you have it.

NAIAS Checklist

□ Comfortable shoes/Dr. Scholl’s – COBO Center spans 723,000 square feet, and you’ll probably cover all of it. Twice.

□ Extra pair of shoes – it can help alleviate the pain on your feet, or at least spread it out

Detroit People Mover tokens – it really is the most convenient way to get around the city, and who knows –  you might just get pampered by an exhibitor.

□ Selfie stick – to get that coveted reveal photo over the heads of the seven-foot man sitting in front of you.

□ Bible – filled with all your brand’s messaging, Q&A documents, transportation schedules, runs of show, etc.

Map of the NAIAS show floor – moving from exhibit to exhibit is key for getting a good spot at press conferences and special events.

□ Phone charging battery packs – so you can charge while you’re on the go.

□ Clothes with pockets – to house your fancy map and gadgets.

□ Contact info – for everyone. Co-workers, media, support staff, your hotel, cabs, etc.

Added by others:

□ GoPro – @k5shaw via Twitter


Missing something? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it!





9 Moments From TEDxDetroit That Will Make You Want To TEDx Everyday

Just one week ago Detroit entrepreneurs, musicians, comedians, nerds, artists and doers congregated at the Fox Theater for TEDxDetroit 2015 to share their new ideas, inventions and points-of-view. It was a day filled with explosions, standing ovations and tears.

I was lucky enough to get asked to help my fellow Franconians, Stephanie Casola and Marie Stawaz with the PR efforts the day-off the event. Picture backstage access, VIP seating and face time with speakers.

So to commemorate my first-ever TEDxDetroit, enjoy these moments from the show – crowd favorites, most-shocking and some inspiring. If you weren’t able to attend, or if you’d like to re-watch any talks, TEDxDetroit plans on posting links on their website sometime in November.

1. Charles Gibson aka “The Exploder” from the Michigan Science Center causally BLEW THINGS UP during his talk.

2. Detroit Director, Stephen McGee showed off some of his new toys.  

3.  Organization for Bat Conservation‘s, Rob Miles surprised us with a different kind of flying object. 

4. Music performances by Alicia Michilli, Tunde Olaniran and Ahya Simone and Shelby 5 kept the TEDxDetroit crowd pumped up.  



5. Detroit native, Aaron Foley made some great points about old Detroit vs. the new Detroit and how we need to come together as one.

6. Speed painting pair, Dave Santia and Sarah Kay created a Beatles portrait, in front of the TEDxDetroit live audience in just SEVEN MINUTES.

7. Sixteen-year-old high school senior and inventor of the “Wheelchair Stroller”, Alden Kane had the crowd on their feet during his on-stage interview with TEDxDetroit board member, Charlie Wollborg.

8. Comedian, writer and professor Amer Zahr did a bit about what it’s like to be an Arab American.

9. Franco Account Manager, Stephanie Casola was recognized on stage for her PR work surrounding TEDxDetroit, but was too busy coordinating media interviews to hear any of it!

Overall, you could say I was “over the moon” with the TEDxDetroit experience.

Alexandria Fulbright and Stephanie Casola at TEDxDetroit

Franco’s Alexandria Fulbright and Stephanie Casola explore the TEDxDetroit labs at Hockeytown Cafe.


Did I leave out your favorite TEDxDetroit moment? Call me out in the comments!

Alex Fulbright is a digital marketing specialist at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at 313-567-5085 or fulbright@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter: @AlexandriaFul and connect on LinkedIn.

Keep your sanity (and hair) while planning an event

I love event planning. It’s an art. An event planner needs to possess certain skills to host a successful event, such as attention to detail, organization and the ability to be flexible.

Out of all my job responsibilities at Franco, event planning is my favorite. I’ve planned smaller events, but never a large event for several hundred people. One of my clients is a Detroit-based organization that wanted to host a town hall meeting to provide information to its members.

Save the date! Event planning is easy once you get the hang of it.

This was my chance to put my events skills to the test on a much bigger scale.

In the initial planning stage, we set up a meeting with the client to ask the five w’s: who, what, where, when and why.  Answering these questions helped guide me in organizing a successful inaugural town hall meeting.

• Why are you having this event?

In the case of my client, the organization wanted to relay important information to its members in an informal way. It also would give the attendees an opportunity to have questions answered.

• What type of event is it?

We decided the best way to present information was through a town hall meeting with a panel of speakers to deliver the message. With any type of event, make sure event insurance is in place. This will reduce liability on behalf of your client and everyone will be protected.

• When will the event take place?

The best time for the town hall meeting, based on our understanding of the audience’s work schedules, was in the early evening on a weekday.  Also keep in mind the length of the meeting. You don’t want to lose the interest of the attendees. Keep it simple and to the point. No one wants to sit in a lengthy meeting after working all day.

• Where will you host your event?

Since our client is based in Detroit, we needed to find a conveniently located venue with the capacity to hold several hundred people. I worked with the venue staff to determine onsite catering and technology needs for the speakers. Once the venue was secured, we did several site visits to visualize the set-up and work out any potential problems.

• Who will be involved in the event?

The obvious answer was the client. But, we also had to select an additional three speakers to touch on specific topics. The speakers were experts in their areas, and would be helpful during the Q & A session. Other key players that were important in the planning process was the venue management, tech staff and of course, the attendees.

As with any project, organization is the key to success. If you’re not organized, the end result will be less than fabulous. I found that keeping a spreadsheet with action items and deadlines kept me on track.

One last word of advice: You can plan down to the last detail, but sometimes not everything will go as planned. In my case, the volunteers showed up late causing me to do a little extra work with the set-up. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I didn’t panic, took a deep breath and worked a little faster. It could have been a minor disaster had I not been able to roll with the punches. You need to be able to think quickly on your feet in case something goes wrong.

Hopefully these tips will help make your next event a success.

Have I left anything out? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

Andrea Kenski is an account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. She has successfully planned two town hall meetings with a third on the horizon. She has managed to keep her hair throughout the planning process. You can reach her at (313) 567-5092. You can also follow her on Twitter: @detroitcitygrrl.