Expert Insights

Be an event brief hero – 9 tips to help you give us a great brief

3 November 2016 by Andy Edwards

Giving your agency a good brief is the first link in the chain to a successful event and we all know that things will inevitably change along the way... 

Here are 9 tips to guide you in helping us produce a proposal that’ll wow your boss…

1. What’s your objective?

It may sound back to front, but let’s start at the end. A successful event shows its true worth when your delegates head back into the business. So help us to understand behavioural changes you need to achieve. It’ll enable us to bring the event proposal, with your brand personality and key messages, to life.

It can be easy to lose sight of what you want to achieve, especially when the enormity of a project hits you. Being clear on your objectives and strategy will help you stay focussed and prevent you from being distracted by tactics and small details – we’re here to help with both.

2. What’s your budget?

You’ve asked your colleagues how much you can spend and the response is, “tell me how much it’ll cost”. It can be frustrating but it’s a perfectly common and understandable response. If you really have no idea where to start, look at the previous year’s cost - if it’s an annual event. Considering that, alongside objectives and audience for the current year, will help us give you options and advice.

You might think you’re budget is too small, but that’s okay. Events on the tightest budgets imaginable can be unforgettable for all the right reasons. And they can meet your main objectives. It all comes back to knowing what you really need to achieve.

If your budget is flexible, we’ll show you what can be achieved for different levels of investment. It’s not about spending your company’s money for the sake of it – we’ll demonstrate exactly what different enhancements will do to enrich the delegate experience. Then we’ll work with you to decide which ideas best support your message and brand.

3. Who needs to be involved?

When the action plan in is put in place, deadlines can come thick and fast. A clear timeline for all suppliers must be in place from day one. So let us know who will be responsible for making key decisions at your end. When will they be unreachable in the lead up to the event? Knowing this will help us propose workable project timeframes for you and our team.

Nobody wants you to incur venue charges because a deadline for final numbers was missed. And, certainly not because your person ‘in-the-know’ was on holiday and you didn’t know in advance.

4. How many delegates?

Events are a movable feast. But when you’re thinking about people, it’s often easier to downsize event space than grow it. Rooms can be released if you have them on hold and meeting or event space can be made to appear smaller. But if you’ve underestimated on the numbers, making buildings bigger is somewhat trickier (When push came to shove, we found a solution for that too).

One of my colleagues managed an event at the London ExCel. The original numbers fell drastically. With some creative set design and adjustments to the planned delegate flow, her team provided spaces that guests didn’t look, or feel, lost in.

5. Think about the journey

The accessibility of your venue is crucial to your delegate journeys to and from the event. You need your people ready and willing to participate and engage when they arrive. You don’t want them distracted and anxious because their travel didn’t go to plan. Neither would you want them sneaking off halfway through the wrap-up session to beat rush hour.

Asking delegates to travel to a venue you love that sends your total carbon footprint soaring? Don’t forget your company sustainability policies.

Whether it’s a rural retreat or a city-centre venue, can you plan the venue and start/end times to minimise any unnecessary travel? Our group travel experts can help you with the travel too.

6. The perfect venue

The perfect venue can make an event. The sooner we can look at options for you, the wider the choices are. If your event date is flexible it could help you get your perfect space on hold and give you the upper hand.

And the bigger the number of delegates, the earlier you’re better off speaking to us. That’s because the more people you have to accommodate, the fewer options you’ll have available.

Getting in early allows us to fit the venue to the event design and your brand. That’s always preferable to having your event design governed by the only venues available at short notice.

Never underestimate the importance of site visits. A picture will tell a thousand stories, but nothing beats walking your venue with us and visualising how you will (or won’t be able to) use that space. They can take time if you have several options so be prepared to build the time into your planning.

7. Tell us your horror story…

…or your fairy tale.

If you’ve been involved in a similar project before that worked, or didn’t, tell us about it. We’re not here to judge! Looking for potential event pitfalls and opportunities is a massive part of how we can help you make your event a success.

We can give you fresh ideas that’ll push the event’s boundaries, without repeating a tried and tested blooper.

8. Already have a partner?

We can support on all elements of your event management - everything from the creative design and delivery, to registration and travel arrangements. But we also understand that some event managers need help with specific parts of an event. You might be tied into contracts with other supplier for some elements, but that’s fine with us, just let us know in your brief.

We’ll collaborate with your other suppliers to ensure your event is a success. The earlier we can build that relationship, the better for all of us. Some of the production partners we work with were introduced to us through working relationships with our customers. And they’ve blossomed into long-standing partnerships for both us and our customers. Knowing or agreeing roles and responsibilities with others will help us all make sure nothing gets missed in the final moments.

9. Am I too late?

Nope. As long as you have a vision and a little flexibility, we can work with you and pull off an immersive experience that your delegates will remember. There may be some items that require that additional creativity but hey, that’s why we’re the experts! We've had requests to organise events with just a few weeks’ notice so believe me when I say nothing is impossible – go on, test me!

Interested? Let’s have a chat about your company’s travel, meetings and events objectives - from the stuff that keeps you awake at night, to the everyday experiences of your employees! Call us on 0330 390 0340, or submit the details below, with an idea of the times that suit you for a call.