This week Chris Walls, Director at Events2 has contributed with an interesting blog.
The Events Industry is essentially about the successful combination of a series of activities, people, innovations, ideas and solutions. Aligning all those elements with the desired outcome is the definition of a successful event.
The industry requires the formation of a series of relationships, these can be dictatorial or on a partnership basis.
A partnership is a two-way street and needs open conversations and discussions to enable all parties to understand how success is defined for each party signing up to the partnership. Buying what appears to be the easiest and cheapest isn’t necessarily the best route to the end destination.
Quite often an event is described as a ‘journey’ but of course in order for it to be a true journey, we must have a start point, a route and a defined destination. The route is the element determined by the events team which ultimately has a bearing on whether or not that desired destination is reached.
A number of questions need to be answered to understand the brief fully and to determine the best ‘route’ to the successful solution
Let’s look at Salman Rushdie’s quote – ‘An event is about making the unexpected reality’, quickly you reach the realisation that the team of specialists required to make the event follow the best route will need to have certain skills in their portfolio – some of the major skills are -coping with the unexpected, a flexible approach, keeping an eye on the goal, time management and of course the Clients objectives.
Another major factor in the success of an event is that the team has trust in each other. This trust ‘test’ is often manifested in the cost area. Each member of the team has to be confident that success of the project is achieving each individual element’s goals. One of those goals of course will be centred around cost and return. A good statement for all to make after the project is that every participant achieved a fair return on their investment -a statement not necessarily about money!
Ultimately, the Project Manager managing the team (often comprising a mix of internal resources and sub-contracted specialist suppliers), is aiming to put together the most cost-effective solution to deliver the clients expectations and requirements ( if they are not then are they working for the client or themselves?). The Project Manager must have the ability to step back and take a sense check – a job that in itself requires experience and pragmatism. Too often, costly items and ‘new technologies’ are left unquestioned and unprobed because of a lack of understanding and experience. By definition, an exciting event will have many new relationships – be it new, innovative, specialist suppliers, (Clients will use the phrase ‘New & Exciting’ liberally within their brief) – or, traditional elements that use new technology – new types of lighting or special effects or new venues and destinations.
Specialist suppliers with ‘new’ technologies and techniques present costs that have little or no comparison available – the question is – is the cost for their service or supply right? This is the point where trust comes into play. That trust has to be supported by the “does that seem right?’ experience.
When selecting suppliers, we try to, wherever possible, work with organisations and individuals that have proven themselves previously to be similar in outlook and philosophy. Ultimately, the important question is ‘Does this represent Value for money?’. A point that is often overlooked by others because of a lack of understanding or experience. A/V and event technology is often a case in point
We work with people that put the common, end-goal, firmly in their target sights and are happy for us to understand how and where they achieve their goals. It is establishing sensible levels for those goals that is key!
Referring back, we set out to deliver projects for our clients that meet their requirements and achieve ‘Customer ‘Delight’. It is important that the partners we work with have the same objectives. Whilst we might manage the Project, we recognise the value and points of view of each of our partners and also try to understand what they are looking to derive from the project in terms of time and energy commitments as well as renumeration on a monetary and experience level. We always try to ensure that the partners can achieve their goals so that our Clients can achieve their goals which means that we, in turn, achieve our goals.
Essentially, we try to ensure that everyone will achieve their aims and objectives prior to commencement of a Project. When we are satisfied that everyone is on the same page and that all needs are identified and agreed, only then can we all work together, moving towards delivering the solution with the desired outcome for all parties.
The key to successful partnerships is ensuring that each party is getting the right outcome – this may not always be purely monetary – sometimes it’s about exposure or even utilisation and of course, in the case of the Client, it is about achieving their goals and desires or even better – exceeding them!