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How to Create an Event Schedule, Part 2

Today I’d like to continue our crash course in schedule creation by 1) suggesting some important general approaches, 2) exploring the anatomy of a good schedule, and finally 3) giving you step-by-step instructions on how to create a schedule with “self-correcting” times.

GENERAL APPROACHES- Probably the most important overall concept, for direct sellers at least, is to keep your audience’s time and money in mind. For your schedule that means:
1. Favoring weekend meetings over weekdays (minimizing days off from work & away from home).
2. Starting your event late in the day. This enables most attendees to travel to your meeting on the day it begins, thereby saving a hotel room night.
3. Ending your event early on its final day so most attendees can return home on that same day, also saving a hotel room night.

You also need to keep your own budget in mind by making sure your schedule doesn’t unnecessarily drive you into crew overtime. Beware of late nights, early mornings and long breaks that stretch your days later than they need to go. Sometimes overtime is unavoidable (especially on weekends), but often it’s the result of simply not paying attention. Early on, ask your audio/visual company how and when they start charging for overtime. Even if you can’t avoid the overtime entirely, at least you won’t encounter any expensive surprises when the bills come in.

A few more general ideas: 1) always include both page numbers and line numbers in your schedule 2) have one and only one “keeper of the schedule” All revisions are made by this person, and all updated schedule updates come from this person. 3) I said this in my first schedule blog, but it bears repeating- keep your schedule brief & simple. Don’t make it substitute as a work projects list, a script book, a shipping manifest or anything else.

ANATOMY OF A SCHEDULE- Use a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Apple’s Numbers to build your schedule. Your “keeper of the schedule” should be at least an intermediate user of the program. These are the row & column headings that work best for me:

Let’s quickly take a look at each element…

Line Numbers- Add your own; your spreadsheet’s row numbers will probably be too small to read. In Excel, you only need to type the first 3 line numbers, and then copy down to fill the remaining cells.
Start time- Specify AM or PM. Don’t bother with end times; they’re obvious.
Length- Don’t make readers do the math; include the duration of each presentation.
Script Numbers- The first number refers to the day, the second number refers to the order within that day. So the first script on the first day is #1-1. The second script on the first day is #1-2, and so on. These make it easy to refer to scripts, the titles of which can sometimes get long and clunky. Also, as you save scripts to your hard drive, they’ll automatically arrange themselves in show order.
Contact & Writer- The contact is the person who supplies the information to the writer who creates the script. These columns are useful in the weeks leading up to your event, but can go away once you’re on site.
MC- You might also want to include whoever else is onstage in this column.
Presentation- Keep script titles short & simple. When naming scripts, be aware of titles that could refer to more than one presentation. For instance, “First Afternoon Closing Remarks” is a better title than “Afternoon Closing Remarks” which could refer to any of your afternoon sessions.
Notes- Let this column be your catch-all column for all other pertinent information- awards, special considerations, etc.

CREATING A SCHEDULE WITH “SELF-CORRECTING” TIMES- This is why you use a spreadsheet rather than a word processing program. When you change one time on your schedule, all the other times change correspondingly. It would be too complicated to write out these instructions here, so I’ve created a 5 minute online screencast that shows you how to do it. Make sure your speakers are on, then click on this link, or paste it into your browser: http://www.screencast.com/t/eURUSege

Writer/Events Producer Dick Wilson has been managing budget events, schedules and themes– plus all the other elements of direct sales conventions– for over 20 years. Learn more how Dick can help you at http://luceandassociates.com/02_About-Dick.php

How to Create an Event Schedule, Part 1

Back in January I wrote about your “The Big 3,” the trio of basic commitments that are the starting points for virtually all of your conference planning.  The Big 3 are your theme, budget and schedule.  And of those 3, your schedule is the one component that will require the most ongoing time and attention.

Event schedules will be updated and revised constantly, circulated widely and universally depended on as projects move forward and your event unfolds.  Since this is the time of year when most direct sales companies are planning their national conventions in earnest, I’d like to delve a little more deeply into the process of creating and maintaining a good workable schedule. It’s not as easy as you might think!

For starters, I’d like to focus on 3 general practices pertaining to schedule creation.  In subsequent blogs we’ll get more detailed about the actual physical process of putting together a schedule.  Note–by “schedule” I’m referring to the internal document that will be used by people involved in putting on the event, not the general outline attendees might receive.

My first recommendation is be very critical of what makes it into your schedule.  The biggest mistake I see most often is trying to make a schedule do too much.  A good schedule should be a very narrowly focused list of activities, presentations and timings. What it shouldn’t be is an all-encompassing document that answers all possible questions and lists every possible event, regardless of their importance. Keep the contents of your schedule simple, focused and limited.

In my opinion, the only things that should make it into a general schedule are actual presentations, activities and events that lots of people need to be aware of.  For example, “Opening Presentation” is a pretty important occurrence; everyone needs to know when that’s going to happen.  Events like “Flower Committee Meets” or “Announce program will begin in 10 minutes” are really of interest to a very few people, and don’t deserve to be separate line items on your general schedule.

My second recommendation is to create your schedule in a spreadsheet program like Excel, not a word processing program like Word.  That’s because Excel can calculate time.  So as event timings or sequences change, updating
your schedule is quick and easy. Change one timing and all other timings change automatically! I’ll talk about how this is done in an upcoming post.

My third recommendation is to designate one person and one person only to be the official “keeper of the schedule.” Pursuant to recommendation #2 above, your “keeper” should be at least an intermediate level Excel user.  Just as important, he/she should be the only person who changes the schedule and circulates revisions, preferably in a non-editable (.pdf) format. If the schedule is editable and available on a common drive for anyone to change, you will almost certainly encounter problems with version control.

Everyone involved in an event- company staff, vendors, production people, hotel and audio visual people—will live by your schedule.  How you create your schedule can have a big impact on how smoothly the planning & production process goes!

 

Writer/Events Producer Dick Wilson has been managing budget events, schedules and themes– plus all the other elements of direct sales conventions– for over 20 years. Learn more how Dick can help you at http://luceandassociates.com/Dick-Wilson.html.

 

Lots of direct sales companies have Twitter accounts today. The problem is, few companies seem to know what to do with them. Without a clear understanding of WHY the company has the account (besides, everyone else has one so we should too) companies are broadcasting a stream of ads, without anything to show for it.

If your company is trying to figure out the best way to use Twitter, the first thing you have to ask is “Who do we want to talk to?” And in order to answer that question, you need to understand how Twitter fits into your larger marketing plan, of which social media is a part. Are you trying to find new recruits? Increase brand recognition? Increase sales? Each of these marketing goals may have a different audience. So first figure out who you want to talk to, and then you can figure out if that audience is on Twitter.

If your goal is to reach a consumer audience, frequent tweets about the features and benefits of your product line is the wrong way to go. First, no one on Twitter likes a steady stream of ads, and they’ll simply ignore you. But also, a consumer audience is often easier to find on tools such as Facebook.

Does that mean you should abandon Twitter? No. But it does mean you need a different strategy.

Instead of engaging consumers directly on Twitter, you may be better off engaging the folks that INFLUENCE your consumers. This is often popular bloggers. They often do spend time on Twitter. However a steady stream of ads won’t work with them either. Instead, you need to talk to them. Find out what’s important to them. Retweet their content, and share content they’ll find valuable. You have to actually spend time on Twitter talking to people if you want it to work for you. Simply sending out a tweet a day with information about your product or opportunity won’t do a thing for you. It takes community management to be successful.

Twitter, along with other social networks, has particular types of users. Depending on your goals, you have to engage in a certain way. It takes a skilled community manager with the time to invest in building relationships for your brand, if you want your social networking engagement to bring measurable results for your brand.

Does your company use Twitter? How’s it working for you? Who are you trying to reach? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit http://luceandassociates.com/Jennifer-Fong.html.  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at http://www.jenfongspeaks.com, and her Facebook Page at http://facebook.com/jenfongspeaks.

In my last blog we explored the reasons for considering an outside a/v company vs. an in-house supplier.  Now it’s time to deal with the RFP (Request for Proposal) document itself.

 BEGIN WITH A BRIEF OVERVIEW

I like to begin with a very brief overview of the event, its “who, what, where & when.”  Be specific as to dates, location and attendance.  Here’s a typical overview:

  • Typical Home Parties, the direct sales division of Typical International, is having its 2011 “Believe It” National Convention at the Mammoth Hotel, in Mammoth, New Jersey, July 22-24, 2011. The event will be held in the Bodacious Ballroom, which has approximately 12,500 square feet of space.  The program will consist of equal parts promotional announcements, recognition and training for a largely female audience of approximately 500. Seating will be at rounds. 

I usually end the paragraph with a link to the room diagram of the space, which most hotels and convention centers are likely to have on their websites.  It’s also helpful to include a link to your own company’s website.  Other than that, you don’t need to go into detail about your company.

SCHEDULE

Next, I’m likely to include a brief schedule that shows what will be going on and when.  Don’t bother with a detailed presentation by presentation schedule.  Instead, offer a “glance-able” calendar-type schedule, something like this:

 

 

 

STATE YOUR NEEDS

Don’t try to get technical, just describe what you need equipment to do from your perspective. If you can be more specific, that’s great.  Definitely include basic dimensions, such as the approximate size of your stage and the number and size of your projection screens.  Here are some examples:

  • Lighting package & crew:
    • Stage will often be full of people for recognition, so we need enough general stage lighting to fully illuminate the stage. Most other presentations will simply be an MC speaking from the lectern. No spotlights needed, just general stage lighting.
    • Appropriate crew for install, show, and strike.  
  • Sound package & crew:
    • Sound system to fill room.  Music is a big part of our meeting, so we need speakers with good bass qualities.
    • One lectern microphone plus 2 wireless hand-helds or lavalieres. 
    • Onstage and backstage audio monitors.  
    • Audio mixing board with 6-8 inputs, including one dedicated to laptop for music playback.  We will supply laptop and operator.
    • Appropriate crew for install, show, and strike.  
  • Projection package & crew:
    • Two off-the-stage side screens, 10 ½ x 14’ or possibly 9 x 12. 
    • Projection equipment for Mac supported visuals (Keynote with embedded videos).   Client will provide laptops and operator
    • Appropriate crew for install, show, and strike.  
  • Staging:
    •  Hotel risers to create stage area approximately 40’ wide, 20’ deep, and 24” -32” high (depending on height of hotel risers). 
    • Pipe and drape to cover back of stage, and create wings and close in area between screens and upstage drape.
    • One lectern at stage right or stage left.  
    • Appropriate crew for install, show, and strike.  

Most important, tell them what total a/v your budget is, labor, gear, everything.  In short, what do you have to spend?  A/V companies are accustomed to working with all ranges of needs, but they have to have that dollar figure to give you an informed bid.  And often, they can be pretty flexible when it comes to gear, even if your budget falls short of what that gear might actually cost. 

INCLUDE PHOTOS & DIAGRAMS

If you have stage photos or room/stage diagrams from past events, include them.  Wide stage shots showing the entire stage and screen area are best.  These will go a long way in helping the a/v company understand how best to fill your needs.

YOUR CLOSING

Be sure to give the name and contact information for the person who should receive the bid.  And ask for a bid that spells out the details, otherwise you may get a bunch of lump sums like “Lighting Package- $3,500.”  I usually end my RFP’s with a paragraph like this one:

  • Please submit proposals by email (Word, Excel or PDF files only) by Monday, May 9, 2011 to (your email).  Questions may be directed to this email, or phone number ________. Also, please show us how you arrived at your pricing, i.e., daily rental times so many days, labor hourly rate times so many hours, etc.

Creating a good Request for Proposal is a big part of the convention production process.  It’s also your introduction to the people who will be partnering with you create a successful event.  Make sure the RPF you send makes it easy for a/v companies to understand and respond to your needs.

Writer/Events Producer Dick Wilson has worked on meetings as small as 50 and as large as 7,500.  He’s learned that dealing with an event’s audio/visual needs can be demanding regardless of the size of the audience.  Learn more about what Dick can do for you at http://luceandassociates.com/Dick-Wilson.html.

Are you looking for a way to spice up your national convention and create a more immersive experience for you attendees?  Incorporating digital scenery into your next meeting could be the ticket!  Imagine the ability to completely change the look of your stage with a push of a button.  Or how about a fabulous awards recognition look with glamorous flashing lights that cover the stage!  You can also quickly recreate a location, like a coffee shop or a luxurious resort setting for a skit – all on the same stage with little to no fuss.

All of this is possible with careful integration of video projection into your set design.  A flat surface becomes anything you can imagine, and if you have purpose built shapes and objects to project video on, the look is even more striking.  If you have been to a major concert lately, you no doubt have seen LED video walls in action.  While costs of LED video tiles are still very high, the cost of projectors is dropping rapidly enabling use on a wider scale.  At the same time, low cost multi display output devices have made huge advances in how video is output to the screens.  I have seen amazing demonstrations of wall to wall digital scenery run from a laptop!

While the use of digital scenery is definitely on the rise, not that many hotel AV support companies are savvy with it.  In fact, it’s very common to bring in an outside source to support the digital scenery alone.  The ideal deployment would be an integration with the lighting designer who on a larger show would actually control the video scenery from the lighting console.  The design possibilities are endless.

If I had to choose between numerous moving light fixtures or an effective digital scenery backdrop, I would pick the backdrop.  It really is a show changer.  Just make sure you have a visual designer who knows how to leverage and integrate your graphics across all the displays.  If reading this peaks your interest in this technology, please give us a call.  We would love to help you take your convention to the next level!

A seasoned video producer/director,  graphic designer, recording engineer,  animator, Michael is self-described computer geek who loves getting involved in every aspect of his clients’ projects.  Serving clients all over the world, he creates the types of business communications that people love to experience.

By now you should have determined the “Big 3” of your event—your theme, schedule and a budget. The next step is to focus on what will likely prove to be a major part of your budget, your audio/visual and staging. This process begins by putting together a Request for Proposal, usually referred to as an “RFP”, for your sound, lights, staging, and projection.

Assuming your event is taking place in a convention center or hotel, you first need to think about if it’s even worth considering suppliers other than the in-house a/v company. That’s because many facilities, especially larger hotels, actively discourage their convention clients from using suppliers other than their in-house company. After all, the hotel gets a cut of whatever you spend with their in-house supplier.  On the other hand, in-house suppliers are generally competent, professional and certainly convenient.  But they may or may not be the best resource to fill your particular needs. So the first step is to determine what restrictions you might be facing. Here’s how to begin.

First, scrutinize your hotel/convention center contract, especially if you never broached the a/v topic when you were negotiating that contract. Assuming your contract is a searchable document such as a Word or PDF document, look for terms like “a/v”, “audio visual”, “support”, etc.  Restrictions can vary.  Your contract might require you to use the in-house a/v company, period.  Or you might discover that while there are no outward restrictions, there are a host of extra charges associated with bringing in an outside company. Two of the most common charges are:

  1. Rigging charges - Basically, this is the cost of securing a/v equipment to the ceiling. Many facilities demand clients use their own approved riggers, and end result is you end up paying more than you otherwise would have.
  2. Power drop charges - This is the cost of bringing enough electricity into your meeting room to run your show. Hotels & convention centers might charge more for these services when outside a/v companies are brought in.

Even if you don’t find any a/v restrictions in your contract, it’s prudent to ask your hotel/convention center representative directly if there are any additional charges involved in using an outside company.  Get it in writing.

Once you know exactly what your options are, it’s time to get on with the actual process of writing the RFP.  We’ll deal with that in another post.  Meanwhile, just remember the best way to avoid surprises regarding a/v charges is deal with them directly before you sign your hotel/convention center contract.

Do I have your attention? Sure hope so.  Because whether you are a sales representative in the field, a corporate sales leader or simply checking out the industry, this tip will serve you well.

While exciting new products, elaborate trip promotions and “raise the roof” conventions can increase performance; the best overall strategy to build sales and recruiting is to focus on finding and nurturing Prospective Team Leaders.

A Prospective Team Leader is one who is working to reach the first level of leadership as outlined in the company’s compensation plan. This typically involves a personal sales, sponsoring and team sales requirement. When these performance minimums are met, the Prospective receives a new title and substantial bonus increase.

Why are Prospective Leaders so important?  Because they need to sell more and recruit more in order to reach their goal. And when they succeed, their increased activity will be reflected in your company’s overall performance.  It’s a simple concept but one that can easily get by us.

Now, how do we find those prospective leaders?  Stay tuned…

Image Credit: pasukara76

With over 25 years of direct sales experience, Lori develops training packages for start up companies and works with established companies to update sales training and methods. Lori is an accomplished speaker and  specializes in creating presentations tailored to meet each company’s specific needs.

Give Your Writing the Finishing Touch

As direct sales companies begin planning for their summer events, a multitude of printed materials will be written, designed and distributed by mail and internet. The degree to which those documents are persuasive, understandable and complete could have a big impact on the success of the event. So before too many invitations, brochures, forms, schedules and other key event documents are released into the wild, allow me to offer a word of advice. The word is “proofread.”

The negative results of careless or non-existent proofreading are the stuff of legend. A notable example of this happened not long ago to a luckless newspaper copy editor. Spell check turned what should have been the word “apostle” into “apostate,” which means almost the exact opposite. A quick proofreading would have revealed the mistake, but that didn’t happen. Instead thousands of newspapers were printed, distributed and then hastily recalled.

Drawing on long ago personal experience, I can recall struggling to follow a college economics text book that was full of complex charts & graphs. The chapter ended with the words “So clearly, Chart A is now equal to Chart B.” The problem was, everything in the pages leading up to that sentence pointed to the opposite conclusion. Hours of frustrating rereading the text didn’t help. Nor did it help the next day when I asked the professor about it.  It turned out the text book had a typo. “Now” should have been “not.”

So at best, typos create confusion and frustration, and that can create problems in any business environment. In a recent blog post entitled “Spelling and Grammar Matter” at JenFongSpeaks.com, my colleague Jennifer Fong pointed out, “You’re communicating for your business. And you can undermine your credibility if your messages are full of mistakes. To be honest, by the time I hit the 3rd spelling mistake in a post, my brain checks out. I no longer take the author seriously.”  

Typos can be costly in a more literal sense as well. Misplaced letters, even punctuation marks, have cost companies millions. If you don’t believe me, check out “the world’s most expensive typos” at http://www.typobuddy.com/blog/index.php/2008/09/22/the-worlds-most-expensive-typos/

These days, typos can result not only from careless keystrokes, but also over-reliance on spell check, which rarely spells or checks perfectly. Often it turns the right word into the wrong one. I call this “Revenge of the Word Processor” which I define as the unintentionally amusing, embarrassing or goofy results that happen when people let their spell check software run, well, unchecked.

So please, take the time to proofread. I suggest you follow these 3 steps for every document you intend to share with an audience of any size:

  1. Begin with spell check. It’s definitely a helpful tool to catch common spelling or typographical errors. But carefully examine what your spell check wants to change. Don’t just keep clicking “change” or “accept.”  That’s the only way to make sure you don’t fall victim to Revenge of the Word Processor. 
  2. Once you think your document is perfect, read it aloud to yourself. You’ll be surprised what this process reveals… awkward phrasing, missing words, bad punctuation and typos too!
  3. Have someone other than you proofread your document. Preferably this person should be not only a good speller, but also have a fine eye for detail. 

The business of direct sales is all about communication, much of it written. And the finishing touch to any communiqué should always be careful proofreading.  

Writer/Events Producer Dick Wilson is an inveterate proofreader. He has been known to correct writing & spelling errors on menus, signs and other publicly displayed documents. However, if you find an error in this blog post, Dick asks that you please keep it to yourself. On the other hand, if you would like expert help with anything to do with writing or event production, Dick would be delighted to hear from you. Learn more about what Dick can do for you at http://luceandassociates.com/Dick-Wilson.html.

This post was originally published on Jennifer Fong’s Direct Sales and Social Media blog at http://www.jenfongspeaks.com.

Last night I signed up for NetFlix.  Now I realize that I am probably the last living American to do so.  But I’ve been a Blockbuster Video loyalist for decades, and wasn’t in any hurry to change that status.  But the Netflix business model finally hooked me, when I discovered we could stream videos on demand to our TV through our Wii, and have 1 DVD at a time, all for a monthly fee that was less than 2 videos a month at Blockbuster.

And it really got me to thinking about business models, and how getting too comfortable with ours can cause us to lose touch with what appeals to even our most loyal customers.  You see, Blockbuster was on top for a really long time.  And holding that percentage of the market share, in my opinion, made them short-sighted.  They didn’t even consider the competition anymore.

Yet the competition was innovating.  It started through a mail order service…where DVDs from a list you create online would be shipped to you to keep as long as you like. Then, when you’re done, you ship it back (postage free) and get another DVD on your list.  For some people this was super convenient.  Yet for people like me, their loyalists, we wanted to choose the movie we were in the mood for the night we wanted to watch it.  The NetFlix model didn’t meet that need, and so we stayed with Blockbuster.

The next thing I was aware of was the on-demand model.  We’re not big TV watchers in my house (heck, I’ve still got a VCR!), so we didn’t upgrade to a cable box until we were forced to by our cable company.  At that point we got a whole collection of on-demand programming that we could access for a fee similar to what we would pay at Blockbuster (as well as a collection of free children’s programming).  Without leaving our house.  You couldn’t keep your movie for a week (my kids like to watch things multiple times), but it was sure convenient to not have to leave the house on rainy nights.  We took advantage of some programming through the cable company. Yet we still remained loyal to Blockbuster too, signing up for the loyalty program, etc.

But then Blockbuster began to betray our trust.  They switched from 7 day rentals to 5 day rentals, and didn’t tell anyone (well I assume it was on our paper receipt, but they failed to mention it.)  We racked up late fees as a result (didn’t Blockbuster a while back do away with late fees?  Yeah, not anymore.  We didn’t know that either.)  The loyalists that they should have been rewarding and courting were experiencing betrayal after betrayal.  We didn’t matter to them!

Then I saw a blog post about how we could have 1 DVD at a time in the mail, plus on demand programming to our TV, for under $10 a month through NetFlix. I fiddled a bit and saw how easy it would be to set up. It was a no-brainer.

By the way, have YOU seen any online social efforts to reach me through Blockbuster, either through sponsored blog posts, Twitter, etc.?  To retain my business?  I certainly haven’t. Other than the regular email I get trying to sell me stuff, I never hear from them at all.

And so Blockbuster has lost another loyal customer.  Because they weren’t listening.  And they weren’t paying attention to my needs.

As direct sellers, we have to be very careful that we don’t make the same mistake.  We are VERY fond of our business model, and very slow to change.  And that’s because it works.  But if we don’t continue to adapt to modern technology, and the way our customers want to shop, we could easily go the way of Blockbuster.  It’s hard to believe, but in this day and age there are still direct selling companies that don’t provide their reps with personal websites for shopping.  There are still companies that aren’t reaching out to customers through the social web.  And yet consumers are telling us, loudly, that they EXPECT to be able to interact with their brands online.

Look at Stella and Dot as an example.  How did this direct sales jewelry company get so big so fast? By taking advantage of the social web, and encouraging its reps to do the same.  They haven’t abandoned direct selling principles.  But they’re smart enough to add online technology to the mix, in order to provide their customers with the shopping experience that fits into their lives.  And as a result, they are on par with the Silpadas and Cookie Lees of the world, who have been around a LOT longer.

Customers aren’t going to bend to your traditions.  At least not very long.  They expect you to adapt to them.  Are you prepared to do so?

Your thoughts?

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit http://luceandassociates.com/Jennifer-Fong.html.  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at http://www.jenfongspeaks.com, and her Facebook Page at http://facebook.com/jenfongspeaks.

It’s not uncommon in the virtual world we live in for a customer or representative to never see the home office of the company they frequent or even work for.  In many cases the only glimpse many see of a company are the visuals they produce.  That means any and all visual materials on your company’s website, including training or promotional materials, event videos and more are in essence your “storefront.”

Now if your storefront literally sat on a street somewhere, most companies would spend a great deal of effort to make sure its image is presented in the best way possible. Yet I’m often surprised at the very noticeable shortcuts some companies take with their visuals.  Especially when now more than ever, every opportunity to present visual media is an opportunity to subconsciously communicate values and build rapport with your audience.  The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is truer today than it has ever been!

With that in mind, what can you do to improve the production value of your media project?  Here are a few thoughts:

  1. At the start of every project, take a look at the big picture first.  What do you want the take away to be for this piece?   Who will benefit from this and how many ways can it be used?  What production value should you target and what shelf life would you expect from each piece?
  2. Take time to select the right creative team.  Make sure the people you bring on can translate your vision.
  3. Set a realistic budget. Remember, marketing your brand. So don’t handicap your creative team (and undermine your brand) by beginning with an unrealistic budget.
  4. While consistent branding is good, sometimes a departure from the norm is healthy.  Visual media can be a great way to have fun and keep your brand from looking stale or stodgy. So don’t be afraid to let your creative people be creative.
  5. Keep current in your industry. What trends are fresh?  What are people talking about? Make sure your visual media reflect the fact that you keep up with times. This is where it helps to hire an outside producer or other creative people. They’re likely to have a good idea of what is current and can bring a fresh look and feel to your projects.

We live in a visually saturated society.  The companies that embrace new tools and new media, and then use them effectively, are better positioned for success.  That not only means success in sales, but also success in conveying a contemporary image.  So look at every visual project as an opportunity to communicate core values that unite, inspire and impress.

A seasoned video producer/director,  graphic designer, recording engineer,  animator, Michael is self-described computer geek who loves getting involved in every aspect of his clients’ projects.  Serving clients all over the world, he creates the types of business communications that people love to experience.