Blog post

Becoming Invaluable

10 September 2017
Becoming Invaluable
Becoming Invaluable

Author - Ben Cole, Managing Director, Inspired.

Whatever your walk of life or career path, we all aspire to feel valued in what we do.

When you are passionate about something, you strive to be great at it. On a personal level, two decades of experience in live communications has taught me the importance of focusing on the details. It’s about striving to become an extension of your client’s own team, and sharing in their responsibility for the successful outcome of every project.

That willingness to stand up and be counted, to be defined in the same way as your client’s employees, is what I believe can make you invaluable.

We all know how great it feels when a project has gone really well, and a client recognises the role you and your team played in its success. It reflects the fact that you’re not just viewed as a supplier, but as a true partner to that brand.

And yet increasingly, it is easy for such “value” to lack long term recognition. Once the brand has switched its focus onto the next campaign or business priority, the halo effect surrounding that successful event can quickly fade. Even if we as an agency have done a commendable job, the “business of business” sometimes means there isn’t a compelling or urgent need to build on that success. Those of us in our industry who’ve worked closely with clients for many months leading up to the live event, often experience that “flat” feeling in the days and weeks once it has finished. Largely that’s down to the dramatic decrease in daily contact between client and agency; but equally I think many event professionals are genuinely interested in learning what happened next after the event concluded – yet rarely get to do so.

With any marketing or communications activity, the value back to the brand (and its role in meeting business objectives) can take time to measure properly – both in terms of rational and emotional engagement. And yet, because traditional events agencies aren’t included in that longer term measurement process, it is difficult for them to interpret success from a given experience.

Business is becoming ever more competitive and understandably, brands are all looking inwardly to ensure their marketing communications spend can be fully justified. Much has been written before about the increased significance of the role of procurement in the appointment of agencies, and whilst this is an inevitable reality, it has forced marketing and events stakeholders to re-evaluate what services they need to contract externally, and what can be managed in-house. Suddenly, the “value” provided by an agency on previous projects is not the dominant factor in selecting a suitable partner for future ones.

So, what is value really about? What is it, to become invaluable?

In the context of the live communications industry, I think value is defined by several things.

Value is about the time and effort invested by an agency in getting under the skin of a business – its brand, products, services and people – to develop real insight which influences event strategy.

Value is about the curation of clear, logical and measurable event objectives, based on many conversations with different stakeholders (and their differing priorities).

Value is about developing an imperviousness to the creative process, with its inherent subjectivity and the many rounds of amends which are never billed for.

Value is about the inherent trust and relationships built over many weeks and months with senior executives and partners, providing the confidence and belief that the agency can deliver at the highest possible level.

Most of all, value is about an agency team with a passion for live experience borne out of many years helping brands to create the right impact – delivered by people who really do know what they’re talking about.

Fundamentally, every reputable live communications business goes above and beyond to achieve the best possible results for its clients – and that is why value will always be about so much more than a number. When agencies are finally being retained for their long-term value to an organisation, rather than simply contracted project by project, then everyone will benefit.

Better relationships, mutual respect, deeper insight – now that is the true definition of being invaluable.

If you liked what you've read and want to know what else makes Ben and the rest of the Inspired team tick, email us at tellmemore@inspiredlive.co.uk.

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