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.
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!
As we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season, we feel it is important to take time to reflect on the people in our lives that we should be thankful for. In light of that, we, the management team at Advanced Staging Productions, would like to take this opportunity to thank a few groups of people that have truly had an impact on our lives.
First, we want to thank our clients for their trust and confidence. Obviously, without you, we would not be here, and the fact that you continue to allow us to collaborate with you is truly appreciated.
We absolutely could not go without thanking all of the members of the Advanced team and all the time and energy you put into your work. The amount of unwavering passion and drive that you all show is astounding and second to none. We are humbled by your dedication to each other and to this company.
We would like to thank our many partners. We know that without you, we would not be able to do what we love, which is provide professional and reliable event technology for live events and meetings. You help us deliver consistent, high level solutions to our clients and for that, we are grateful.
Lastly, we want to thank all of the people out there that follow us on our webpage, social media outlets, email blasts, and this blog. The exposure that you all give us through viewing and sharing our information is an integral piece of our success. We hope that you continue to find value in our post.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!
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The next one comes out in December!
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.
Advanced Staging Productions recently decided to have a new company video produced to be used in our sales and marketing efforts. The decision was made to hire a long time partner of ours to assist us with this project. Someone that could develop the concept, write the script, shoot and edit the footage to create a final product. During this process, we were asked why a technology driven company with a warehouse full of video equipment and a professional staff would choose to pay someone else for a service like this.
The simple answer is, “That’s not what we do.” At the base of all that we do at Advanced, is the underling philosophy that we don’t want to be good at a lot of things… we want to be GREAT at a few things. So what do we strive to be great at? Providing audio, video, and lighting solutions for live events and meetings. We have spent the better part of three decades working on mastering these services. While we have been working on what we do best, there are a number of other people that have been perfecting the art of producing and editing videos. These people are professionals, and get paid to do what they do, because they are great at it… and that is something that we respect and look for in our partners.
This speaks to more than just us wanting a new marketing video. In all the events we work on, we are very upfront and clear with our clients about what we do and don’t do. We do not pretend to be experts in areas that we are not. We are who we are, and we are very proud of that!
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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?
We began the New Year jumping into our normal routine of national sales meetings in the various resort destinations, which our staff were even more eager to do given all the snow storms. Thanks to our planning processes, we never had to miss a beat because of something Mother Nature had to throw at us. We can attribute that to our detailed and thorough planning, which we see as a key element to true even technology management. A delayed equipment delivery or a delayed flight could mean the event ends before it even begins. That is why during the winter season, we pay close attention to the weather and plan our shipping and receiving accordingly. On a couple of occasions, we flew crew members in days earlier than needed to insure that they would be ready to load in as scheduled.
However, let’s say for argument’s sake, a truck did arrive half a day late for an event load in. What would your technology partner do? How would they be able to get the show up on time? If your partner is doing things The Advanced Way, they would be able to rely on their local partners that they trust and work with often to assist with necessary elements to get the ball rolling. Once their truck arrives, what does it look like? Is it a hodgepodge of cases that aren’t labelled or loaded properly for easy access? If things are being done The Advanced Way, the truck is packed for easy offloading and the cases are all clearly marked with their contents and the staff knows exactly where in the ballroom they need to go. Once opened, all the cases are neatly packed for quick setup. Organization is imperative to a smooth, painless load in and set up of a show. It can mean the difference between the show being successful or not.
All of this starts back at the office when the event starts to be formed. The organization and detailed planning begin as soon as the equipment is entered into a quote and/or the drawing of the room begins to take shape. This, along with solid, consistent communication with the various team members, the client, venue, and other vendors is what separates run of the mill AV companies from true event technology management companies. Is your current partner doing things The Advanced Way? Why not?