We’re big believers in assessing the marketplaces we operate in. We’ve always felt this is important, both as a courtesy to our clients and because it’s beholden on us, as with all suppliers, to show our value and make our case credibly.
In our latest market intelligence work one element became apparent - when we assessed companies and worked through the marketing pitches in most cases we couldn’t see clear points of difference in the services offered.
You could say I would say this, and you’d be right. I do know though that companies often stay with suppliers because they like their contact, because better the devil you know, because of the time spent in assessing new offers, and many other reasons besides. We’re all victims of this to a lesser and greater extent. The discipline that comes through true supplier assessment can be painful, even arduous, but it’s a discipline worth exercising and we’re always prepared to be subjected to it ourselves.
At the heart of good events in our event niches are formats and formulas, and it’s through both we all get to flex our supplier muscles and show you what we can do. We define event formats as the structure and design of our events, these outline the specific activities, elements, and components that will be included in the event. This includes the order in which activities will take place, the duration of each activity, the location, the type of audience, the theme, the purpose, the services included and any other relevant information that will contribute to the overall success of the event.
Event formulas are the specific and repeatable approaches or strategies for organising and executing successful experiences. These are tried-and-tested processes that involve following a set of steps or guidelines to create a genuinely distinctive and memorable event for attendees.
If there is no clear point of meaningful difference in the formats and formulas of the provider you are using, it’s always worth asking why you are using them, and again we welcome the opportunity to include ourselves in the mix here and make our case.
It’s difficult to talk about formats and formulas in our niches without talking about authenticity. Authenticity has always been important in our work, but what’s interested us in recent years is how often we’ve seen this word pop up in all forms of business communication. Most companies that have booked us know that we often talk about delivering formats and formulas that work without being formulaic. We know this resonates with our clients but we don’t just say it because it sounds clever - we say it because we mean it.
Formulaic is of course one of the enemies of authenticity, but it’s more than that, particularly in the marketplaces we operate in. At its worst it’s a discourtesy to you, the customer. Any evidence of a highly formulaic approach is so evident, so quickly, that it shows a lack of care and lack of respect to your audience. In our experience highly formulaic approaches also include services that are promised but don’t materialise (a pet hate of ours), and a straightforward rinse and repeat approach that also shows a disrespect for your budget.
Truly great events take application, and this applies to each and every event. They are always project led, and should always be carefully curated with your desired outcome uppermost in your supplier’s mind.
Take care to book formats and formulas that work, and always challenge all suppliers on these elements (including us), but don’t fall into the rinse and repeat approach.