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.
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.
Many companies show employee appreciation such as bonuses, extra paid time off, parties, picnics, etc. However, does your company openly show employee recognition? Is that something that is important to your employees?
Here at Advanced, we have been giving out employee recognition awards for as long as we can remember. We give out an Employee of the Quarter award and an Employee of the Year award. Both awards come with a cash prize and a plaque. In addition, the award recipients get a reserved parking space at our office. Seems like a silly concept to some, but it has become quite the coveted perk around our office.
The interesting thing about our awards, is that the entire company votes on the winners, so the winners are truly being chosen by their peers, and not just the management team or even just the president. This means that winning the award is not a sign from the boss that you are doing a good job, but a sign from the people you are working with day in and day out that your work is appreciated and respected.
This is all well and good, but why is this important? We feel it is important for two reasons. First, recognizing employees for good work and for their accomplishments is something we feel contributes to their continued success and their continued dedication to the team and the company. Second, the fact that the winners are chosen by their peers drives them to impress each other and to never let each other down. It adds another level of accountability to the work they do.
Events come and go. Clients come and go. At the end of the day, it is our colleagues that we sit across from at the conference table in the post con meeting, or that we eat lunch with in the cafeteria. Holding each other to high standards and not allowing good enough to be good enough is The Advanced Way.
For those of you that do not get our newsletter, here is an article form our latest edition. If you like what you read, please click the link below to get on the list for future newsletters! We only send one out every other month, the next one being in December, 2014.
Lately, we have been posting a series of concepts on Facebook that speak to what The Advanced Way is, since it truly is so much more than AV. The Advanced Way, besides being a number of processes and procedures that we have put in place to insure successful execution of our Event Technology Management services and the smooth running of events for our clients, is a mindset that permeates throughout our company. One great example of this, is how our staff sees and treats every show the same. Regardless of the size of the event, the scope of the work, and the budget, our staff treats every client and every show the same.
You have an event for 40 people? No problem. You have an event for 40,000 people? No problem. The Advanced Way is what allows us to be scalable to be the right fit for your event. Our technicians are all highly qualified professionals and all egos are checked at the door, so you get the same treatment and respect you deserve, regardless if you are spending $2,000 or $200,000.
Sound like what every other company says? Don’t take our word for it, listen to our customers…
“I’m absolutely thrilled that Advanced Staging takes the time to work with customers both large and small – so that even small customers like Main Line Today can look as fabulous as the large ones.” JB Braun, Publisher of Main Line Today Magazine.
26 years…17 years… 11 years… 14 years… 7 years… 13 years… 5 years… These are some of the anniversaries that our staff has celebrated this year. What does that say about a company? It says two things. First, it says that it is a company with seasoned professionals that have a passion for what they do. It says that the people working in the business have been around long enough to have also worked on the business and have had a hand in developing policies and procedures it operates under. What else does it say? It says that it is a good place to work. Do you remain with a company for 5, 12, 17 years if you don’t enjoy being there? A company that can hold on to employees for so many years is one that is managed with integrity and with a passion not only for its business and customers, but for its employees. If people want to stay with a company, it is a sign that they treat their employees well… And a company that treats it’s employees well, most likely treats their clients well. Caring about our clients and helping them have successful events is what Advanced Staging Productions promotes throughout the company. Caring about our employees and their families… well that’s The Advanced Way. Don’t forget to sign up for a our newsletter by emailing Kim at KimPB@AdvancedStaging.com!
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.
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.
Technology is changing on a daily basis. There is always a new phone, new bluetooth device, new tablet, or new wireless electric razor that also brushes your teeth and combs your hair at the same time coming on the market. Event technology is not much different in that there are always new developments in all aspects of audio, video, and lighting. What is the latest in LED lighting technology? What is projection mapping and 3D projection all about? What are the benefits of working with digital audio consoles and digital, multitrack recording? How will the lighting on my stage be able to bring my theme/vision to life for the audience?
Keeping up with the latest trends in the event technology world can almost be a fulltime job. Should that be your job? No… not as long as you have a trusted Event Technology Partner working with you. A truly professional company will employ experts in their given fields… experts that are passionate about their trades and that are always striving to not only better themselves and their teams, but better the experiences of their clients.
When deciding on who you should partner with from an event technology standpoint, take a few of these questions into consideration:
1) How long has the company been in the industry?
2) What is the average tenure of their employees?
3) How many years of experience do their employees have in the industry?
4) Do they employ professionally trained experts in audio, video, and lighting?
5) Do they own the equipment and staff that they are telling you about in their sales pitch?
There are a number of audiovisual companies out there that can give you a list of equipment, assign some labor to your show, sit back and collect payment. Is that going to give your client the best experience they can and maximize their return on investment? Or would it be worth finding an event technology management partner that sees your event as their own; will spend your money as if it is their own; that knows the best choices to make in which technology to use; and that will work closely with you on designing your event to have the wanted (or needed) impact on the audience?