With conference season in full flow and BIBA and AIRMIC just weeks away, we managed to pin Account Director, Eric Sanchez down for a quick chat about the magic he works for our clients at exhibitions and events.
1- What is your favourite part of running an event?
I think my favourite part is seeing how everything comes together, making clients happy and seeing a successful final result.
2- What are the biggest challenges you face?
That’s a tricky one isn’t it? I think people who work in events will agree that we face quite a lot of challenges during the process of setting up an event. It can be for diverse reasons - the set deadlines that we have to follow and coordinating many different suppliers. If you go into more detail, you have challenges like AV content and the graphics. Thankfully, everyone understands the timings and what we’re working for. It’s also important for the client to know what they expect to get back from that event: what’s the reason you are doing the event?
3- What makes your job easier?
I love the opportunity that the nature of my job gives me to work so closely with clients on exhibition projects from start to finish, and I’m so lucky that all our clients have a great vision and understanding of what they want and what I need in order to make it happen. The things that make my job easiest are when a client really understands what putting an event, exhibition and/or dinner together means. There are occasions where only the final result is taken into account but not the whole journey to achieving that result, which can sometimes be a painful (let’s be honest!) process. It’s great when clients understand what we do for them and that we always have their best business interests in mind when putting together our plans and suggestions. I absolutely love to see a happy client! Knowing our clients are happy with our work makes my job a lot easier.
4- Describe a typical day of yours during events.
My typical day is a long one, trust me! It’s a long, long day and sometimes when I’m on site, I think of how lucky those in the office are: working from 9-5:30 and then they just leave and go home.
Event life is rewarding but difficult. We usually get up quite early, at around 6am, have a quick breakfast to keep us going during the day, and then get to the venue before the clients arrive (usually 7:30am) to make sure that everything is working properly and that everything was left ok from the day before. Then there’s a whole day of walking around and being there for clients in case they need anything. After that, I have client parties to attend, until I remember that I am in fact a human being and need to stop and eat something! So, it’s a quick pitstop for dinner with the rest of the brandformula team – probably the first time I sit down all day – and then off to bed between midnight and 2am, so an average of 4.5/5 hours sleep. And that’s the typical life of an event person!
5- How do you relax after a day working at an event?
I don’t think there’s an answer for that one, you can’t relax at all! My whole focus is making sure everything goes smoothly and to-plan for my clients, so my brain is always connected to the event. However, when I get home after the event is fully over (most span over a couple of days at least), it’s a big glass of wine and a TV catch up before an early night – and then brunch the next day. I’m a big fan of brunch!
6- What is your favourite city that you’ve visited for an event?
The most glamorous location was last year’s FERMA in Monaco. Three years ago, the event was in Venice, which was nice and interesting but not the most convenient city for an event as you can imagine! Quebec was also a lovely city for RIMS Canada. And, of course Manchester for BIBA - I love the accent!
7- What makes a good event space?
Good lighting so you can control the light: some of the venues have massive windows which allows sunlight to flood in yet when it’s sunny, you never know where it’s going to shine and it’s difficult to control. You end up with an exhibitor with all the sun coming through to the stand and people wearing sunglasses because they can’t see anyone!
So, lighting is important, followed by a good internet connection. We’ve faced a few problems with venues where the internet connection was not very strong and that can affect our clients in terms of online products, on-stand demos, and team communication – as well as joining in with the all-important social media activity.
Catering is important too: everyone loves food! It’s also good to have a venue that allows hanging structures with high ceilings. High ceilings are important as when an event is on, a venue gets really busy so having that gives a great feeling of open space.
8- What do you like to see at an exhibition?
I like to see that we and the client put effort into each stand, that it’s not just two walls with wallpaper. It’s nice to see that thought was put into it and the brand was mastered. I also like to see when clients are willing to be more flexible and a bit adventurous.
9- What would you recommend to your client if they had an unlimited budget?
There’s so much that can be done with stand space, whether it’s a 3x3 or a 10x6, you’re going to fill that space and there’s so much you can spend on that structurally. What I would recommend is to do a nice campaign for the event or exhibition. It’s not just a stand: it involves the stand, social media and AV content (not a PowerPoint!). When you put all these together, you can deliver a really strong and engaging campaign. But of course, budget matters!
Do you have an event, exhibition, client networking party or dinner coming up? Get in touch with Eric via firstname.lastname@example.org to see how he could help you.