rangeDoor Producers are notoriously busy managing every aspect of our amazing events so getting time with them is pure gold dust. This week, we were lucky enough to sit down with our Senior Producer, Clarence, to pick her brains on everything from her experience in the industry, to her expert insights and the future of events.
- How did you get into industry?
I was 19 enjoying the university of life – traveling around the world on my own. At the time I was living in Australia working for a credit card company in a job that was mind numbingly boring. I felt like I was living in a groundhog prison and pressed my agency to find me something more engaging. I needed something stimulating that allowed me to use my brain. Thankfully I was offered a temporary PR and Promotions Coordinator position for a very well-known film and entertainment company. After just a week in the job, my manager offered me the permanent position, she couldn’t believe I hadn’t worked in the industry before. I stayed in that position for over three years, working on various projects including the launch of DVD! That role was the beginning of my 20+ year career and I still love what I do.
- Why did you transition from marketing into production?
After years sitting in front of a computer all day, every day, I wanted to mix up my routine. I spent a long time creating amazing marketing campaigns and even though I still enjoyed the industry, for me, the role had lost its magic. I felt like I had accomplished everything I set out to in that sphere and was itching for a new challenge that would let me get my hands dirty.
Transitioning from marketing to production was a no brainer as so much of my skillset was transferable and it quenched my thirst for variety while staying in the industry I love.
- What’s your favourite and least favourite part of the job?
It might not be the typical answer, but my favourite part of the job is beating the budget. I’m a very competitive person and I can’t help but compete with myself time and time again to produce events within budgets. I aim to beat the gross profit goal on every event I do, there have only been a few times when I haven’t managed it. Of course, I also love being on site, the adrenaline takes over and you get an obscene amount of satisfaction seeing everyone's hard work come together.
Unfortunately, every job does have its downsides. As you can imagine, producing events results in a lot of admin, which can be time consuming and let's face it, dull. I enjoy fast paced and quick-fire tasks with immediate results and admin is often a project long affair. It’s an unavoidable part of the job but it is useful for keeping everyone on track, so there are two sides to the coin.
- What are the most common goals clients want to achieve with their events?
Without a shadow of a doubt, every client wants their event to be MEMORABLE! Of course, they have other goals such as driving pipeline or raising brand awareness but ultimately if the event is memorable, attendees will resonate with the messaging and will be more likely to spend money and talk positively about the brand. So putting on a show-stopping experience is always number one on every client list – or it should be!
- What do events offer that other marketing initiatives can’t?
Both F2F and virtual events offer a humanistic interaction that engages attendees in a way other marketing initiatives cannot. Immersive experiences can capture the attention of the target market much more easily and it just can’t be replicated by a marketing campaign. That’s why events place in the marketing mix is cemented and as vital as ever.
- Do you have a preference over F2F and Virtual events? What value does each have from a client perspective?
My preference would always be F2F. From a production viewpoint, I enjoy the logistics of putting on an in-person event more – I prefer to be ‘behind the scenes’ rather than ‘behind the screens’! The client is also more likely to have the full attention of attendees as everyone is in a room together with few distractions. This ultimately offers more opportunity for guests to have a positive experience and follow through with the call to actions of the event.
Virtual does have a lot of benefits too. It can be more cost effective or have a greater ROI as it can reach a wider global audience. A lot of the work for virtual events, such as speeches and presentations can be done prior to going live, which reduces the chances of embarrassing slip ups on the day.
- If you could give one piece of advice to clients putting on an event, what would it be?
Plan! I cannot stress enough how important planning is to an event. At a minimum, an event project should kick off 3 months before the go live date. Not only will preplanning save the client precious money, but it will ensure the calibre of the event is exceptional. The devil really is in the details and the more time available to dedicate to the finer details of an event, the more likely it is to be a success. People remember the small things; they remember being greeted with a glass of bubbly or receiving that gift bag. It makes them feel special and that’s exactly what any B2B event should be aiming to do.
- Over the past 10 years how have B2B events changed?
Personally, I have noticed a change in attitudes. At one point in time, the relationship between an agency and client would be much more linear, with the client telling the agency what to do and batting away any insights they might have. Working at OrangeDoor, we’re lucky enough to have amazing clients who come to us because they know we’re the experts and are actively seeking our help and advice. Our clients are much more willing to push the envelope and be a braver with their decisions, which has resulted in some mind-blowing events.
- Are you seeing any new trends emerge as we head into 2023?
The most prominent trend I’m seeing is sustainability which is so important as events are notoriously bad for producing a lot of waste. It is now commonplace for companies to make decisive choices to reduce their carbon footprint by reusing, upcycling and recycling materials when ten years ago, that kind of thinking would have been virtually unheard of. It’s truly a key element of every event we put on which is a stark contrast to when I began in the industry – it wouldn’t have even been mentioned!
- What popular trends, if any, would you be glad to see the back of?
FLASH MOBS! They can be impactful when used in the right setting and choreographed well, but the trend went on for far too long and became completely unoriginal. There is so much more value in doing something unique, people can be too quick to jump on a bandwagon and shoehorn a trend into an event that it simply doesn’t gel with.
- Working as a producer, do you have any insider knowledge or insights that could help clients putting on events?
Always have a chemistry meeting before the project officially kicks off. It’s important for the client and the agency to be on the same page. As a client, you want your agency to understand your brand, vision, goals and what it is you’re really trying to accomplish with the event. The agency, as the event experts, can then make informed decisions to incorporate those aspirations into the live event and make sure everything you want (and more) is achieved.
- How do you stay up to date with industry news, insights, and advancements?
The events industry is vast and constantly changing, when I'm not busy producing events – which is rare, I have a few ways to keep myself up to date. I’m part of several producer groups which is a great medium for sharing news and insights and I'm lucky enough to have quite a lot of friends who work in the industry too. We swap stories all the time, it’s more of a casual and fun way to keep up to date, but it can also be informative. There are other channels, like LinkedIn or marketing publications and suppliers that are useful too.
- What in the industry that is exciting you at the moment?
Technology is really making waves, particularly with holograms. I recently went to see the virtual ABBA concert and was blown away; you cannot tell that it’s virtual at all – you could see single strands of hair, the detail was outstanding and certainly something that excites me. If I could work on an event that involved holograms I would be over the moon. It would require a large budget but the impact would be out of this world!
- How do you feel the events industry has recovered from the global pandemic? Have things changed permanently or has the industry bounced back to where it was pre COVID?
The industry is back and booming post COVID. Now that we have our freedom back, all anyone wants to do is socialise, whether it’s B2B or B2C. People are over virtual because we were cooped up for so long, so the events industry is completely slammed. However, staffing levels aren’t what they once were because so many people were forced to diversify during lockdown and many businesses didn’t make it through the pandemic. So even though demand is high, resources are lower, which is why it’s so vital for companies to plan ahead when putting on an event.
- What are the biggest misconceptions about B2B events?
That they are boring. People dismiss B2B events because they are ‘corporate’ when in reality there are so many amazing experiences incorporated into these events. From brilliant speakers to beautiful venues and delicious food, these events are designed to dazzle. B2B events are produced to encourage guests to buy products and services or have a positive interaction with the brand, so companies put their best foot forward to create amazing, immersive and memorable events.
- In your opinion, what takes an event from being good to being exceptional?
Detail and smart thinking go hand in hand. It goes beyond the detail on the day of the event, it’s about always making decisions with the client's objectives in mind. How an agency handles their clients, remembering every detail and being on top of every job, no matter how big or small. That’s what people remember. Production and client services need to work as a well-oiled machine to cover the event from every side. That’s how you put on an exceptional event.
- What will the events of the future look like?
It has to be technological advancements. Technology has the ability to make events more accessible and inclusive to all walks of people, so that’s something I hope to see in the future. We’re also seeing a lot of virtual reality in the tech industry at the minute, so I’m sure we’ll see that weave its way into even more. People are chasing immersive experiences, and this is one sure fire way to offer that. I’m excited to see what the future holds as so much has already changed in the twenty years I’ve worked in the industry.
- Is there anything that stands out working for OrangeDoor?
Absolutely. They are one of the very few companies I’ve worked for that stand by their values. It’s a breath of fresh air that the values are really embedded into the culture of the business, they aren’t just a tick a box exercise.