Rain drenched the red carpet prior to the Great Gatsby screening at Cannes in 2013. Lucky Leo had a branded umbrella on hand.

 Rain drenched the red carpet prior to the Great Gatsby screening at Cannes in 2013. Lucky Leo had a branded umbrella on hand.

You've planned the perfect outdoor event. It might be a national brand launch, a PR reception, or an interactive music festival activation. Months of hard work, design, production, and negotiating have brought you to the event site, standing next to your clients, as the excited, smiling attendees start streaming in. And then the sky turns dark and ominous, the wind begins to blow, and the unthinkable occurs. It starts to rain. 

Did you prepare a rain plan? 

As experiential experts, we can plan down to the tiniest details to bring a brand experience to life, but we cannot control the weather. What can be controlled is our preparedness for the unexpected.  Part of the process of experience planning is mapping out worst case scenarios, and putting automatic responses in place, so that no one is left scrambling at the last minute. 

Here are 5 ways to save a rainy day event: 

  1. Get everyone on the same page. What does the venue or event already have planned in case of rain? Are there existing outdoor canopies that can be used? Is there indoor space available, and can it be reserved?  Who has a generator in case of power failure? Write up a detailed rain plan to be distributed to client, venue and staff. 
  2. Stock up on rain gear. At formal events, staff can usher guests from  one outdoor area to another under golf umbrellas. At more casual events, attendees appreciate ponchos, and staff can loan out umbrellas for running back + forth. Brightly colored rainboots bring some fun back to a damp staff uniform. 
  3. Provide a tent as a backup. Ideally that tent would be on-site, with staff ready to set it up at a moment's notice. Another option is to have a tent reserved with a local tent rental company, who could bring it to the site and set it up with minimal delays. 
  4. Share the rain plan.  Make sure the "in case of rain" info is on the event site, Facebook page, and any kind of invitations. Detail any possible venue changes and alternative routes, in case of road closures/flooding. Train the event staff to be prepared for alternative plans. 
  5. Incorporate the rain into the experience. Rain changes an event experience, but it doesn't have to ruin it. Find a way to make it fun, or at least make your guests more comfortable. A dry zone, with towels, branded flip flops, and a hair dryer, can help attendees feel a little less soggy.  

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