The Q&A session featured five panellists, including: Yvonne Holden, general manager events at BMW; Rory Steel, managing director of Steely Fox; David Balfour, managing and creative partner, Lightblue Worldwide; Kyra Oates, head of PR & events at Benefit Cosmetics, and Sophie Begg, vice president at the personal and corporate banking events team at Barclays.
Corporates and agencies
The session began with a look at what corporates expect from agencies. Holden said: "We look at how the agency engages with us and what they can do for us."
"We look at insights, foresights and benefit."
Steel offered an agency perspective: "Often the best work comes from when budgets are smaller.
"Agencies need to have a good understanding of your brand and industry," he added.
Venues, corporates and agencies
Members of the panel were asked what their biggest frustrations with venues are. Holden said that the attention to detail in terms of the finish can let the experience down, particularly for a brand such as BMW, where "everything has to be perfect."
Steel added a venue’s staff can make or break an event. "It’s about the quality of service in terms of the interaction between staff and guests. The skill set of the staff might not be what the guests expect," he explained.
To combat this, Steel said he and his team "look for venues that we can have complete control of."
Agencies and venues
A member of the audience posed the question: "Why are agencies so aggressive, and does this really get results?" to which Balfour responded: "No it doesn’t, it’s about partnerships and creating communication.
"I say to my guys ‘Make sure the venue is on our side.’"
Panellists shared with the audience where they to go to for inspiration for events. Oates explained Benefit’s approach is rather creative: "They [ideas] come from the team first and foremost.
"Often our only brief is to be creatively disruptive. If our competitor does something we will rule it out."
Earlier in the session, she explained Benefit Cosmetics does not advertise, which means "Anything experiential is super important."
Balfour added: "The way we work is very much on gut feel. When we are creating an experiences we ask ‘would I want to go to it?’ We look at creating experiences that we want to engage with."
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