Getting the best out of your agency

25th March 2020

Getting the best out of your agency

Whether it’s a product launch or a gala dinner, a large-scale conference or a boutique gathering, events breathe life and humanity into your brand. It’s therefore important to know how to get the best from your events agency. 

A good brief is the cornerstone to success
Start early and with clearly defined objectives. A good brief is the cornerstone to success. So, when you engage your agency make sure you give them everything they need.

Clear objectives 
Start with the outcome in mind. What should your guests experience, think, feel and do? Set these as your event objectives. 

Bring your guests to life
Don’t just describe their role – put yourself in their shoes and consider their pressures, motivations and desired outtakes from the event. Helping your agency get under your skin will guarantee a more insightful response. 

Location, location, location
The perfect venue is the making of an event, so time needs to be spent finding the best place. Help your agency from the outset with clear direction on the town, region or country you have in mind, as well as the style and standard.

Budgets
Be transparent about your budgets. This will ensure you get an appropriate response  from your agency without losing time or wasting effort.

Mandatories
This might be messaging and brand guidelines, or the type of catering and the need for ‘break out’ rooms. If it’s essential, make sure your agency knows at the start. 

Sustainability
No longer a buzz word or an afterthought – set out your expectations for both your agency and its sub-contractors so this can be built into their response. 

Past learnings
The devil is in the detail and lessons learned for previous events are invaluable. Sharing past successes and disappointments ensures continuous improvement.  

Timings and milestones
Start the process early and give your agency time to deliver a considered response to your brief. Also, share other relevant information like internal deadlines or availability of decision-makers to avoid bottlenecks in the process.

Stakeholder sign-off
Ensure the brief is signed off by all key stakeholders. Amendments to the brief during the process could limit what can be delivered or add unnecessary expense. 

Encourage creativity
Creativity delights, surprises, and is more memorable, so how can you get the most creative response from your agency?

Be open-minded
Don’t be afraid to bring your thoughts to the table but try to stay open-minded to embrace new and imaginative ideas. 

Set high standards
Don’t settle for ‘ok’ – demand the best and your agency will respond. They will feed off your enthusiasm and push themselves to do their best work. 

Embrace new technology
Technology should never replace the power of human connection, but it can be harnessed at events to manage schedules, facilitate networking or simplify enrolment, travel and accommodation.  

Be brave
Memorable and successful events don’t come through accepting the norm or failing to push the boundaries. If it scares you a little, this could be just what you need – embrace it. 

Be honest
If something simply isn’t working for you don’t be afraid to say so early. Your agency will respect your honesty and learn from it.

Clear channels of communication
Consider appointing a single person on your team to be the consistent voice of all communications with the agency. There are several advantages to this: 

Consolidated feedback
With many decisions to be made, opinions aren’t always aligned, and incomplete or contradictory feedback can waste your agency’s time. Consolidated feedback from a single source ensures that the project always moves forward. 

Phased feedback
If it helps your internal process, ask your agency to group decisions into batches at key milestones. That way senior stakeholders can give quality feedback at pre-agreed moments. 

Avoid late changes
Seemingly small late changes can have a big knock-on effect. Do everything you can to ensure that amendments after deadlines are necessary.

Prevention is the best cure
When there’s a problem along the way your agency will quickly get things back on track, but good process and open communication will usually mean issues can be avoided altogether.

Make it fun
Of course, there will be moments of pressure and deadlines to meet but that doesn’t mean putting on an event shouldn’t be fun. Enjoy the energy and company of your agency team and make your event one of the highlights of your year.

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