Going beyond the loyalty discount to actually get better results.
Being an event planner is a tough gig. Not only do you have to contend with a job that is high stress by nature, but you also have to do it in a highly competitive marketplace. One way to gain an edge over your competitors is to build a strong relationship with your corporate entertainment vendor. Not only will you get better entertainment, but you’ll also get better cost value and some stress relief along the way. Outlined below are some key steps to take to build that relationship and get better entertainment for your events.
The most important element for getting the best out of your corporate entertainment vendor is Trust. As event planners, you produce your best events when your client trusts you to do your job. You’re a specialist and you know what you’re doing right? Giving your entertainment producer that same trust enables them to give you their best work. Trusting them gives them the freedom to be creative, it also makes them feel valued and excited to go above and beyond to make your event better. Trust that they know what they’re talking about - after all, that’s why you’re paying them. Trust can be hard, it requires a conscious decision, but it is also liberating as it lets you focus on the million other things you need to do to execute that perfect event. And if you really don’t feel you can trust your entertainment vendor then find a new one that you can. You may have to look past the cheapest option, but instead you'll be getting better value.
Next on the list is Communication. Your corporate entertainment vendor is your partner. They’re on your team with the same goal as you - to make an amazing event. Withholding information from them makes it harder for them to do that. If confidentiality is a concern they’ll happily sign an NDA. And any reputable vendor is not going to try to go directly to your client because A: that’ll damage their reputation, and B: you’ll never work with them again and C: you’re far more valuable to them than your client is because you do more events each year than your client does.
Full, clear and early communication also enables them to work out the best possible solutions for you. Knowing the purpose of the entertainment within the event helps them ensure it best achieves the event objectives. Knowing the budget helps them propose the best value solutions. Even knowing what’s happening in the rest of your program helps your entertainment vendor better fit their offering within your programme.
It’s also worth remembering that you and your entertainment vendor are both on the same team should a problem arise. Like you, they are heavily invested in making sure the show is amazing. So if there's a problem, you can bet they will be doing everything they can to fix it, and providing them with any support you can will be the most likely way to get your desired outcome. Remember, you both want the same thing, so help them help you. There'll be plenty of time for a debrief later and if you feel they haven't met your expectations then any corporate entertainment vendor worth their salt will be actively seeking your post-event feedback already.
Risk is scary word for most event planners. And while it may not work for every event, it’s worth remembering that it also leads to reward. Trusting your entertainment vendor to do something new can lead to incredible results for your clients and really set you apart from your competitors. So leverage your vendor's full creativity and give them the freedom to really wow you. Like most creatives, they've likely got a tonne of exciting ideas just waiting for the right client. Make that client you.
A strong entertainment vendor will have the capacity to develop better entertainment offerings for you. It’s that simple. Helping them grow directly helps you, because they can then afford to spend more time and money on making the type of corporate entertainment that’ll wow your clients, rather than worrying about keeping the lights on. So pass them those photos and videos from your event (so they don’t have to work the costs of bringing their own into their fees), offer them a testimonial for their website, help them get their name out there so that other event planners can subsidise their growth, not just you.
A Case Study - Usana & Wildfire Entertainment
Wildfire has provided entertainment for Usana's Asia Pacific Convention annually since 2015. As a client, Usana provides clear and complete communication of what they want, as well as their total budget, and then demonstrates trust in our ability to execute. They actively encourage us to come up with entertainment options that haven't been done before and work with us should any challenges arise in development or production.
As a result, we squeeze everything we possibly can into their budget and operate at a lower overall margin than we do other clients. Not only that, but many of the new acts are provided at a loss because we are excited to develop them with a client who both appreciates and supports them. Providing us with that creative freedom has enabled Usana to get more unique concepts, greater value, and overall better entertainment for their events.
Some examples of entertainment debuted for Usana
At the end of the day it pretty much boils down to treating your corporate entertainment vendor like a trusted partner or a valued team member (instead of just a cost to your budget). In turn they will treat you as one too (instead of just a revenue source). So start building that relationship now and get that competitive edge you've been looking for.