Has my relationship run its course?
Everybody knows the “big bads” when it comes to red flags: event planning loses that magical feeling, or it becomes all about them in the conference room. But what about the less obvious reasons to kick your partner to the curb? When you’re comfortable, but there’s just something missing and you can’t nail down the problem.
Let’s take a look at a scenario that’s super common in the event planning industry. You find a great event agency, and they give you everything you could ever ask for! Years and years, they produce events that exceed your expectations. Then the events just meet your expectations. In fact, the events have become so predictable, you could probably write the script yourself, but hey, you’re comfortable! You let it go until it’s three years later and the honeymoon is SO OVER. You start thinking things like:
“What else is out there?”
“When’s the last time I’ve taken a risk with event planning?”
“My producer just doesn’t surprise me anymore…”
Consistent or Stagnant?
Hey, I get it. You’re comfortable, why risk losing something you can depend on? There’s nothing wrong with having a producer that gets you. It’s good to know you can rely on them to get the job done and to be there when you need them, but are they consistent or are they stale?
Consistency is coming through with a solid plan every time. Stagnancy is a plan that you can literally recite after five events together. If you bake a cake and serve a piece on a different plate each day, are they different pieces of cake? No, they’re moldy. They’re stale. That cake tastes the same day after day, and everyone’s sick of it.
A consistent event plan has strong bones. There’s always a message, a theme, a story, a great venue. But the details should be innovative, they should take risks! It’s time to ask yourself: Am I eating moldy cake?
Just Haven’t Met You Yet
Before you go out on the prowl, it’s time to re-evaluate your expectations for a partner. As much as your last agency may have let you down, it takes two to tango and you probably made some mistakes that led you to that dead-end relationship. Maybe you let things get boring. You stopped challenging each other. Were you accepting mediocracy?
It’s time to do some soul-searching. You deserve the best! But how do you know you’re getting the real deal? How do you know when a planner or agency is the one? You’re going to be going on a lot of first meetings to find them, and there’s plenty to gather from that first impression.
We put together a list of qualities to look for in your next event planner so you don’t end up sitting alone on Valentine’s day crying into a bag of chips and watching The One Where Ross and Rachel Break Up on repeat.
Or – well, you know, planning your next event without a solid event planner.
Still on the fence about breaking up with your current event planner? The next time you talk with your agency, be on the look-out for these 9 relationship-material qualities. If they check these boxes, then put a ring on it. If not, kick them to the curb!
1. The planner comes ready to listen.
They are interested in and absorbing what you say. No more relationships that make you feel like you’re talking to a wall. A good producer knows they need to navigate the personalities of the event participants and the client in order to plan an event that satisfies your goals.
2. They’ve got more on their mind than ‘that one thing’
A good partner wants the whole package. They want to work together with you to create something incredible. A subpar producer just wants a paycheck. They’re not going to take the time to get to know you or your company, and they’ll more than likely produce a less-than-mind-blowing event. Here’s why:
Without gathering vital information from you, they’ll deliver a uniform, run-of-the-mill event. You may as well just hire a production team and tell them to do whatever. You pay a creative agent top dollar because they turn your event into an unforgettable, profitable experience for your audience.
3. They ask so many questions that you start to get a stalker vibe.
They ask for your organization’s story in order to craft a message-driven event. Give me all the diamonds and cars, but if there’s no message behind it all, forget it! The message is what stays with your attendees after the event. If you embed the story well enough into the experience, the audience will leave feeling emotionally connected to your brand.
Speaking of audience, your planner needs to get to know them. If they’re not talking demographics, expectations, interests, socioeconomic status, if you don’t feel like you’re talking to a PI, shut it down!
Good planners use the information you give to help you define the goals of the event. They have digested your information about your audience and message and they create a space where you feel comfortable bringing your ideas to the table. A successful working relationship between you and the creative agency brings out the best from both parties and produces unique goals that you define together.
5. They don’t use cookie-cutters
They are molding a custom experience according to your needs, goals, and vision. They build a bridge between the idea and the execution by using a system that is reliable enough to depend on, but malleable for every unique event. They work with you to develop a plan that is so engineered to your specific needs, it feels like a love child between you and your agent. (But one you don’t have to feel guilty about!)
6. They’ve got all the hook-ups…
Their little black book is filled with trusted partners who also have standalone stellar reputations among industry professionals. The right lighting directors, audio engineers, and decor partners are both the brains and brawn behind a successfully engineered and implemented experience.
7. There’s passion in their eyes
They describe your event as an experience. They’re not just selling you on a product, whether it be the lighting, special effects, sound, etc. If you don’t feel inspired by the way this producer talks about your event, then you can bet your audience won’t feel much either.
8. They paint your vision
By writing an event that takes your vision and translates it into a realistic script. Your next planner should be able to put your dreams into action and give you the event you always wanted. Nothing like your last events – Mister-overpriced-and-underwhelming, or Miss-never-asked-about-your-audience-and-served-limoncello-at-an-AA-event.
9. You feel comfortable letting them take the wheel
Because your agency feels like an extension of your brand. They understand your needs and they see through the lens of your business. You are part of a partnership.
So, does your agency measure up? Are they the one, or is it time to break it off?