Tag Archives: event planner

It’s all about the Customer Experience!

Our staff recently attended InfoComm Live 2015, which is a conference for audiovisual companies in the live event business. One of this year’s speakers focused very intently on the customer experience.  The discussion revolved around the idea that we need to engage our customers on such a level that the experience is not just good, but great.  Here at Advanced we often say that good enough is not good enough, so this discussion was one that we saw a lot of value in.

Walt Disney once said, “Do something so well that people will come to see it again and will bring their friends.”  That is the ultimate goal of a great customer experience… getting them to come back and to tell their friends.

In the Advanced world, we chose to focus our attention on the three primary areas of the event technology… audio, video, and lighting.  By choosing to stick to those three elements and not expand into other areas of the live events world, we are able to not just be good at delivering those services, but great.  That covers the doing “something so well” part.

Time and time again, we have proven that once a client partners with us once, they will come back again and again.  Our people, processes, and equipment combined together make for a recipe for success and one that our clients want to taste again.  That covers the “will come to see it again” part.

Referrals have been, and continue to be, our best sales tactic.  Having a client or partner recommend our services to a friend, a client, or sometimes even their competitor is the best compliment we can get and it is the easiest way to grow our business.  That covers the “bring their friends” part.

What does all this mean?  It means Advanced Staging Productions is just like Disney World!  Okay, maybe not, but it does show that we have set ourselves on a path to great success, just like Mr. Disney.

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“I Can Help You With That!”

The Advanced Way, which all our regular readers know, is the guiding philosophy of what we do and how we do it. We often pick specific aspects of The Advanced Way to dissect in our blog. Something that we have been talking about around the office recently is that we are seen as a resource to all our clients and prospective clients. It is a simple concept of being willing to answer questions, offer guidance, make suggestions, and try to be helpful. Phrases like, “We don’t do that,” or “I can’t help you with that” are ones that are not said around our office.

If a client needs a stage for an event, which we do not technically provide as one of our core services, we still handle getting it for them.  If a client needs tables, chairs, ropes & stanchions, which are quite a stretch beyond our core services, we will still help them by either introducing them to one of our partners, or if it really makes it easier on them, by coordinating the rental on their behalf.

We had a customer call us the other day that we have been trying to partner with.  They were looking for someone to come on site at one of their events and record video footage of their trade show and create a highlights reel/happy face video.  This is a service that we have chosen not to offer as one of our core competencies.  If we told the client, “We don’t do that,” they would call someone else who does and that someone else may very well also provide audio, video, and lighting for live events.  That customer is now gone.  However, when we said, “No problem, we can help you with that,” we became their resource… their partner.

In this day and age, with so many different facets of the events world, and with so many different kinds of companies that handle AV, table rentals, catering, staging, etc., it is vital that companies find a way to stand out.  How do we stand out at Advanced Staging Productions?  We offer a customer experience and a level of service that is parallel to none! That is The Advanced Way!

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Sometimes the solution is just that easy.

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Ever look at a maze, and think, “How could anyone ever get through this?”  Ever read a word problem, or hear a riddle that once you were given the answer, you thought to yourself, “wow, is it really that simple?” Ever have a task set in front of you by your boss that you were certain would take you all day that you ended up finishing in an hour?

We often let our imaginations get ahead of ourselves when faced with certain issues or challenges. We instantly start following paths in the maze to try and make our way to the exit without actually taking a step back and looking at the maze from a logical perspective. Sometimes, as in the picture above, the answer is really right there!

Put this in terms of planning an event and handling all the various details. We are not event planning experts, so forgive us if we don’t mention all the elements… but you have to choose a venue, catering, decorations, handle travel arrangements, develop content, coordinate agendas, and of course… hire an event technology management company. Many of these tasks require a lot of work. Some may not. The point is, it is important to take a step back and look at the whole maze and figure out which paths you need to go down first and which ones you can conquer more easily. Some of the tasks have multiple layers to them and may be easier to navigate if you bring in other resources. That is where, if you reference back to some of our other blogs, you will see why choosing the right partners to work with is so vital to the planning process.

If you look at just the technology needs of an event… Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about the audio, video, or lighting at all? Wouldn’t it be great if at the end of the event, you realize you didn’t deal with anything from a technical standpoint? Wouldn’t it be great if the solution to the maze that is event technology management was as simple as the picture above? We have a secret… it is that simple. It is… The Advanced Way.

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It’s time we start working together!

Client ABC wants to hire an event technology partner for their general session.  They feel that there is no need for more than 4 technicians in the room during the running of the event, and they simply will not pay for more than four techs.

Here is what the general session consists of: Audio support for 300 people, with up to 8 presenters on stage at a time (that’s at least 8 wireless microphones to manage); two screen show with multiple video rolls; basic stage wash with back lighting and some up lighting around the room for decor.  Sounds simple enough and could be operated with 4 techs… except there are also three cameras for IMAG (image magnification) and recording.  Well, unless the cameras are not moving (which will make for a unique shoot), or they are remote controlled (which they are not), three of our four techs will be tied up.  That leaves one tech to run audio, video, and lighting.  Is that possible? Of course it is possible.  Is it likely to be a smooth running, successful event?  Doubtful.

We would like to point out, before we get an influx of angry comments from event planners, that this scenario could easily be flipped, where the event technology company tries to dictate to the client what they have to have in the room from a technology and labor perspective, regardless of what they want or what they can afford.  Just because you can do something, or because it is the best way to do it, doesn’t mean you have to.  Is it nice to fly the technology from the ceiling?  Yes. Is it always necessary or worth the extra expense? No. There are many ways to effectively get your messaging across to your audience using technology. The trick is to work as a team to figure out what equipment and labor meets those needs as well as the needs of the budget. Sometimes concessions and/or compromises will have to be made on both sides, but that is why it’s called a collaboration and what makes it a true partnership.

This is why we have spent years perfecting what we call The Advanced Way. The Advanced Way is a philosophy of doing business that permeates throughout our company.  It is that philosophy that sets the stage for great collaborations and that allows us to be a trusted resource for our clients.

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Do you trust your partners?

Whether it is with a friend, spouse, family member, client, or service provider, a true partnership is built on a number of factors… the most important if these is trust.

What does trust look like in a professional relationship, let’s say for instance, your Event Technology Management company. Ask yourself these questions when evaluating whether or not there is trust between the two parties:

1) Can I share my budget with them and feel comfortable knowing that they will spend my money as if it is their own?

2) Can I sleep at night knowing that there is no way they would ever let me down? At the end of the day, execution far outweighs price.

3) When something goes wrong, are they pointing fingers or are they offering solutions to remedy the situation ASAP, even if it is not their area of expertise?

4) Do they trust me?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you probably have a very good partnership and can rest easy that you are getting a quality product for a fair price, and that you are working with someone that is as invested in the project as you are.  Knowing you can trust the people you surround yourself with will not only allow you to be successful, it will save you a lot of energy and stress.

Please be sure to sign up for our newsletter.  The next one comes out in December!

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Modify & Adjust – How Good Are Your Partners?

The secret to any successful event, from any perspective, is the ability to modify and adjust.  In every aspect of planning and executing an event, there are bound to be unexpected challenges and changes.  The ability of your team of trusted partners to modify and adjust quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively is what will be the defining note of your symphony.

Your attendance numbers spike a few days out, can the venue you’ve chosen handle the change? There are issues with shipments and the lobster tails won’t make it.  Does  the caterer you’ve chosen to partner with have solutions to ensure your guests, who have paid $250 for their ticket, will still be impressed and pleased with their meal?  The hotel books one of the salons of your ballroom for an evening event, causing an air wall to have to be closed, which was not part of the plan when your event technology management partner installed their truss grid and rigged all of their equipment in the room.  Are you confident that the partner you have chosen to work with has the ability to modify and adjust and find a viable, cost effective solution so that everyone is happy?

Keep an eye out for the Advanced Staging Productions newsletter in October, which will give you a real world example of how we had to modify and adjust to an air wall issue after finalizing our room set-up, complete with pixel mapping.  If you are not currently receiving our newsletter, and would like to, please email Kim Pagliaro-Bussard at KimPB@AdvancedStaging.com.

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Should I have my Event Technology Partner travel with me?

Why would I want to have my local event technology partner travel to other cities with me?  Can’t I just hire someone local to my event?  Won’t it be too expensive to travel all that equipment and labor?  Are these questions that burden your decision process when selecting an event technology provider for your event?  Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to have your technology partner travel with you, or to hire a local company:

1) What is the size and scope of the event?  If it is a small event with basic technology needs, it will most likely be more cost effective to find a local company in whatever city you are holding the event.  Keep in mind, that your regular partner may be able to make some referrals of companies that can meet your needs.

2) You and your event technology team have most likely grown quite accustomed to working together.  They can probably anticipate your needs both before the event and during.  If they are a good partner, they will most likely always be prepared for the unexpected things that may pop up with your clients.  How much more time and energy will you have to dedicate to making sure everything is exactly as you, and your client, like it?

3) If you work with a specific company on a regular basis, odds are they have built arapport, not only with you, but with your staff, clients, executives, etc.  How will bringing a new entity into the mix affect the rest of your team?  Will it add more work for some folks that are already stretched thin?  Will the new team know how your CEO likes the confidence monitors setup and his/her style of presenting?  What impact might that have on the success of the event?

There are definitely times where it might make sense to hire a local company to handle your audiovisual and event technology needs, but be sure you know what you are getting yourself into.  It is important to know what you are saying yes to, when you say no to having your regular event technology managment team travel with you.

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How Your Event Technology Management Team Ensures A Flawless Event

From the beginning of their event to its end, an event planner has several key goals they hope come to fruition. One of those goals is wawa tent interior_1_blog19-resized-600starting the event with a bang, and maintaining a steady stream of excitement throughout. This doesn’t happen without an event technology management team who is able to efficiently run your event technology

Jeff Haden, pro public speaker, recently wrote “10 phrases great public speakers never say.” In his article, Haden lists everything from starting presentations with bad jokes to boring your audience with irrelevant information. The article focuses mainly on the speaking aspect of presentations, but several of those spoken phrases derive from stage technology issues. For example, “Can you hear me?” and “Can you read this?” don’t exactly reflect a responsible event planner or a reliable event technology team.

You want to avoid instances where stage presenters are blinded by bright lights or muffled by audio issues. AV issues are sometimes inevitable, but with an event technology management team, you eliminate those unnecessary on-stage instances that reflect on you as an event planner.

Live Sound Checks

When your presenter has to double-check their sound impact, it not only looks tacky, it makes it seem like the audio element of your event was ill prepared. This puts an immediate bad taste in the mouths of your audience. They start thinking, “Isn’t this supposed to be tested before the event?”

You don’t want your presenters asking the audience for volume feedback, but you don’t want their words bellowing over a screeching amp, either. Your event technology management team helps you avoid this by checking and double-checking all sound systems long before the audience arrives. They ensure the volumes are at correct levels before your presenters even touch the microphone.

Blinded By The Light

You don’t want your presenters to get on stage and jerk their head back, shield their eyes, or worse, trip and fall. If they are presenting on stage for the first time, they won’t know what to expect. The last thing you want your presenter to do is put up their hand-visor and exclaim “Wow! Wish I brought my sunglasses.” This might make for a chuckle or two in the audience, but again, it boils down to inadequate preparation, which reflects poorly on the event planner.

Your event technology team is going to ensure adequate lighting but they are also going to make sure your presenter is aware of its impact. A good technology team knows that a stage consists of not just equipment, but people. They take this into account when setting up.

Microscopic Text

If slides are presented on stage, the general rule is that font size should be twice as large as average audience age. When your presenter asks the audience about text visibility, they are basically revealing a lack of effective event preparation or rehearsal, which ultimately reflects poorly on you, the event planner.

When you hire an event technology management team you ensure that all projector and screen components are in place before the event. Any slides used are tested for visibility beforehand, and adjusted accordingly. Event technology management teams are familiar with any and all standards for screen resolution.

Avoid these unnecessary and potentially career-damaging instances by hiring a solid technology team for your next event. Event technology management teams ensure your audio, video and lighting needs are all calibrated to perfection, so the audience never questions your preparation or abilities.

Want to learn more about how the right event technology team runs a flawless, event from start to finish? Contact the event technology management experts at Advanced Staging Productions at 866-431-8202 and open the door to event planning success.

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Why A One-Stop Event Technology Management Shop Is Your Best Bet

Event planning involves coordinating a great number of details and Event-resized-600variables. Your Event technology shouldn’t be one of them. Recruiting the right lighting, audio and video professionals is essential to the success of your event. You could gather a team of individual pros from all different companies, or you could take advantage of a full-service event technology management team.

Event technology management companies have grown increasingly popular because they act as a one-stop A/V shop for event planners. Years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for companies to only provide a single service. Planners had to hire and coordinate multiple companies to work the same event.

Now, audio, video and lighting technology are so intertwined that the best A/V companies offer them as a package deal. When these three essential event technology disciplines are all under one umbrella, it is much easier to manage them in accordance with your event. Here are a few ways this one-stop shop philosophy trumps the practice of using multiple event technology companies.

1. Effective Communication

Anyone who has worked in an event planning capacity knows how important communication is. When working with a large group, it’s easy to lose track of people, not to mention the progress of their individual tasks.

Your event technology management team has previous work experience together, so they already know how to operate like a team, and will have a seamless communication system already established. For you, this means less pressure to establish and maintain communication flow, ultimately translating to less stress. What event planner doesn’t want that?

2. Reliable Resources

Sound Systems run anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand.  LED walls start around $10,000. How do you know which event technology you need? If your event calls for specific equipment, not only do you spend money purchasing it, you spend valuable time researching the right solution.

When you hire an event technology management company you get an experienced team capable of helping you recognize any opportunities for resource optimization in order to stay on budget and on schedule. Event technology companies come equipped with abundant knowledge of the event technology industry, allowing you to focus on your expertise – event planning.

3. The Big Picture

When charged with coordinating and putting on an event, you establish your vision first, and then work out the details of how to achieve that vision. Working with individual experts to achieve this vision may prove difficult when filtering different individual tastes and opinions. A team of various professionals may work well together physically, and have some effective tactics in setting your stage, but they may find it challenging bringing your vision to life. Working with an established, cohesive team of event technology experts allows you to communicate your vision once and then focus your time and energy on the various other priorities.

You know when your event looks good, and when it looks exactly as you had imagined. You want a group of people who work well together, understand your end goal and have the ability to make your vision a reality.

The concept of a one-stop shop is convenient regardless of your industry – offering one cohesive solution to multiple problems. However, one stop shopping is especially useful when it comes to planning your event. When it comes to event planning, the one-stop shops are the teams that offer everything you need with one comprehensive service.

Want to learn more about a one-stop solution for all your event technology needs? Contact the event technology management experts at Advanced Staging Productions at 866-431-8202 and open the door to event planning success.

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The Key To Effective Event Planning: Communication

An event is only as successful as the team who puts it together. communication-resized-600Teamwork is an integral part of planning an event, and the biggest success factor of effective teamwork: communication.

Event planning teams usually consist of large numbers of people. There are many tasks to be done before, during and after the event, and each task requires skilled professionals. The event planner is responsible for keeping all team members in check. How do you do this effectively? Grab a megaphone and shout directions? That is a definite possibility, but for the stunning event you have in mind, team communication needs to be much more effective than bossing around through a bullhorn.

To ensure the best possible outcome for your event, communication with your event planning team should follow a couple of guidelines:

1. Plan Ahead

Most failures during the execution of an event trace back to the planning stages. When your team knows exactly what to do before they do it, the time you save is tremendous. Communicate to all team members important times and dates and any changes in them. Changes in the event schedule and venue access times affect the entire rehearsal schedule, so be sure to keep everyone in the loop. Along with being highly professional, this is also simply common courtesy. You don’t want your AV crew loading up all that heavy equipment only to find the venue doors locked.

Pre-event huddles: This is a great way for you and your event technology team to discuss progress, any changes or concerns either of you may have. Consider having these huddles at the beginning of each engagement so you are both consistently on the same page.

2. Establish Chain of Command

Every team needs a hierarchy. Establish which team members make which decisions regarding which tasks. Establish to whom certain questions should be directed. The client shouldn’t be asking the technology team about the planning progress, they should be asking the event planner. Once the event planner has established direct communication with the client, the Project Manager should be informed of any changes and then discuss them with the crew.

3. On-site Communication

Possibly more stressful than planning the event is executing it. There are certain mishaps and malfunctions that happen during an event, things that are simply out of your control. For example, you don’t plan for a fuse to blow, but it most certainly could. To ensure quick recovery from any glitches, agree on a crew communication system for the running of the event, like cell-phones or walkie-talkies.

From planning to execution, you see how communication plays a key role in events. Communicate early, communicate often and communicate to the right people. If you follow these simple guidelines, your event planning and event execution is sure to flow seamlessly.

Want to learn more about effective communication with your event planning team? Contact the event technology management experts at Advanced Staging Productions at 866-431-8202 and open the door to event planning success.

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