Event staffing and event management are complex and often arduous projects involving a wide range of staff members, external suppliers and freelancers. Hiring brand ambassadors, and perhaps even entertainers, caterers and suppliers for industries that you are not familiar with could be a daunting and sometimes incredibly frustrating task.
That’s something we discovered early on at PUSH Agency. When we started talking to businesses about brand ambassadors and event staffing, we quickly learnt that event management and the creation of a process that makes life easier offered just as much value as having the largest talent database in North America. We began getting more involved with the event management side of things, and through that started talking more about the project itself, what was trying to be accomplished and our senior team members began offering advice on how to best improve and enhance the event. Of course, this wasn’t always necessary, as many organisations have internal events teams that simply need brand ambassadors to complement their existing processes. Examples of this include Heineken, MGM and our involvement in the recent Guns n’Roses tour… which we have been talking about ever since.
It is through these diverse experiences that we have learned the importance of open and honest communication, not only between PUSH Agency and our talent, but also with clients and key staff members. It’s important that every event management assignment has communication structures in place that ensure brand ambassadors live up to the expectations set by the client, and agreed to by us, and those brand ambassadors have a good experience of the client, and enjoy themselves so that they perform at their best during the event.
We have found that there are several critical areas that must be communicated in a crystal-clear fashion so that everyone knows exactly what is going on, the expectations of them and lives up to their agreement, from the agency, to brand ambassadors and clients.
1.Who Says What to Who
Event staff management is a complex project, and where events often fall down is through someone, with the best intentions failing to understand who they are supposed to be communicating with, and as a result failing to get the right instructions, or explain themselves to the right person. Examples of this include a brand ambassador not introducing themselves to the appropriate event staffing person, or event manager when arriving at an assignment, and product training being provided on an ad hoc basis due to nobody being assigned responsibility for up-skilling, and brand ambassador effectiveness. the result can be less than ideal, with often unforeseen circumstances arising – a VIP isn’t greeted adequately due to a brand ambassador not being aware of who they are, or what they were supposed to do with them, or the agency sending someone who doesn’t have the required product knowledge because training was, “supposed to be provided.” This is why PUSH Agency takes a – sometimes annoyingly – detailed brief from clients, and avoids any communication issues.
2.Tone, Style and Language
Effective brand messaging through event staffing is an important part of any event. If your brand ambassadors represent your organisation in a way that is authentic and compelling to your audience, you will likely see better results. We created our talent database as a relatively simple tool, but as we learnt more about what constitutes a successful engagement, and why some events fail, things became more detailed.
It’s important the brand ambassadors have adequate product knowledge and a detailed understanding of the assignment. But some brand ambassadors are equally perfect, and disastrous.
For example, an extreme sports legend who is covered in tattoos, known to a core audience and has an enormous following on social media, is ideal for an organisation that promotes energy drinks, a skateboard company or other similar organisations. Equally, if an appliance company was releasing a new brand of stereos that had, “the extreme sound,” as the catchphrase, this brand ambassador would fit nicely into the overarching brand promise and expectations from the audience. However, you wouldn’t send a tattooed covered extreme sports legend to a formal dinner party for a conservative political party.
Our database is now designed so that we can screen on so many different event staffing factors it’s almost ridiculous. From skillset to style, there are factors that eliminate and identify the right, and wrong person for an event. We don’t just assume either – if an ultraconservative brand is hosting an event for a product that is anything but conservative, we find out about that through asking heaps of questions, and then finding the right people for that event – not just anyone.
3. Know the Outcomes
Every event is happening for a reason. Event management doesn’t exist because some people consider events a nice thing to do for their clients and customers; it’s because businesses want to achieve something and have goals in mind.
We discover that event success has very little to do with the events themselves, let alone event staffing. for example, if a business is hosting a function for its top clients, and the event itself goes off perfectly, but the overall goal – increasing engagement with key clients – isn’t reached, it is unlikely that the organisation will run another similar event. If we had made ourselves aware of the overall goal before the event started, perhaps we could offer some additional advice present some case studies on similar events were done in the past, and the outcomes they produce. Perhaps our event management team could speak to the client and demonstrate some follow-up tools that we used previously to create exceptional results. Regardless, understanding the outcomes and being aware of what the client is trying to achieve is crucial for any event management business.
Before we begin recruiting talent for any event, our event strategy team has a discussion about what outcomes the client is trying to achieve, and how we can best contribute to them. We want to make sure that events become part of the overall marketing strategy for every organisation we work with, through not only having a great experience with PUSH Agency and our brand ambassadors but also as a result of the outcomes that the successful event was directly responsible for. We know that an unsuccessful campaign will be thrown out by senior management, or pointed out by the board – we want questions being asked as to why more events are happening, and why PUSH isn’t being paid more money.
Although, we understand that the money thing is a bit unlikely.
Open communication, honesty and transparency go without saying, but communication needs to go further where event management is concerned. Through increasing the levels of quality communication and maintaining a fluid dialogue from brand ambassadors, to the agency and through to the client, there are less surprises, better outcomes and an overall better experience.