Our events will thrive or die by the partners we bring on board. Allison Pieter of Cassis Productions shares how to be a partner that brings value.
Tell us how things have gone since the pandemic.
Little known fact about me is 20 years ago I started producing virtual events! I was at a small company that did some of the large streaming events in Southern California way back when technology wasn’t what it is today. I led the team that produced the first streaming programming for the democratic national convention. Then that bubble burst and we never talked about it, and low and behold 3 months ago virtual was invoked again.
As a planner a lot of events got canceled or rescheduled. After a month or two of folks deciding their strategy those moving forward have said, ok you know how to do this, let’s go virtual. I have been working with clients, how do you take your in person and make it interesting online, it’s not the same thing.
Talk about going virtual.
On one hand off there can be a cost saving, venue, food & beverage, physical setups of events, but this year a lot of clients have already contracted a lot of those services. So while going online, they are only able to get a partial refund but they still have to sync those costs into the event as well.
Like anything we do with events, it’s what you put into it is the basis for the result. If you are going to use Zoom a week out, thats the result you’re going to get. It’s about creating more time focusing on content, it has to be shorter online than in person. People get very antsy and there are so many distractions. I call it the alt tab effect, you’re an alt tab away from your clients leaving your event.
You might spend less time focusing on the physical signage but you have to spend more time on what the virtual environment is like. We have a lot of partners and sponsors how do you make sure they are seen. It takes time and consideration to make sure the events are good if not better. Clients are finding they are able to expand their attendee base to expand visibility and awareness.
What are you seeing in different partners?
The biggest challenge is the client doesn’t understand the difference in types of vendors. The first question clients ask me is what platform should I use? I always say, let’s figure out what you want your event to be and then lets figure out how to create an online presence for it. Instantly clients are looking for a platform or production company but they don’t know what people bring to it.
Explain to us how you see the value in partners.
In today’s world, being post-covid, it’s more important than ever to be a great event partner. Before, it meant helping a client realize their success but now their stresses are a 100 fold greater, so how we do help them achieve that success?
How do you consider the leadership relationship in this?
I consider myself a partner in their success. It is my job to get them comfortable enough to make that leap. For some it’s an easy shift and for some organizations it’s terrifying. None of us have been doing virtual events long enough to have actionable data, we are gathering it, but most folks haven’t been doing virtual events on this scale.
Advice in educating those around you.
The first thing I would say to organizations is be flexible in what your event looks like. A lot of it doesn’t translate online. How do we get it shorter and keep it engaging and interesting? One of the priorities has to be engaging the audience on the other end of the computer. Make sure you need an event and if so why are you doing it? Everything I do to help them plan an event is about them accomplishing those goals.
Tell us about your brand refresh.
In early spring I found myself with a lot of time, for many years I hadn’t chose a company name, I was based on referrals. I avoided the topic. I realized the more I talk to people, in a time of uncertainty, the act of having a company brings people a certain amount of calm.
What advice do you have for those getting starting?
When I was starting it was about gleaning experience, that’s really important when you’re first beginning. It may not be your dream job or dream sector of the industry, but anytime you can gather experience and understand how an event is put together, take the first few years and really understand how events can be put together, make great connections and that will carry you far.