A couple weeks ago, I had my first curating project as an independent contractor. I was so nervous, but my plans were detailed and specific. Organization is my best friend and keeps me settled. I will not accept anything less than the best.
It was perfect for experiential marketing; I was creating an experience for a brand so the audience could feel more connected to it. Building moments to encourage engagement on and offline is so fulfilling for me, especially when you believe in the brand. But this same gift is fragile if anything goes wrong. If the audience isn’t engaged because of the slightest hiccup, the whole event no matter how quick the blimp, can be impacted in a significant way.
After the series of events, everyone acclaimed how great it was and how much fun they had! The photo optics were perfect. It is everything you want to hear as a project manager for an event that is a cultural staple in the community.
And do you know how I felt after? Unhappy with the product.
There were so many things that fell through the cracks. The light and music cues were off, the balloons didn’t withstand the winds on the rooftop, and the run of show didn’t include a clear call to action. Many missed marks and details really expanded the experience, in my opinion; ideas that didn’t hit the “wow factor” that I would have liked them too.
My debrief report was tedious. And even though everyone had fun and enjoyed the event, we can always be better. I can always be better.
When the president of the organization saw the report, she looked at it quizzically. She flipped through the pages, back and forth. She nodded at some points and raised her eyebrows at others. Then she looked up, smiled, and said, “I had no idea most of these things were actually a thing. I thought the event went well!”
Accepting compliments is the hardest part because everything didn’t go as plan. But I had to realize no-one experiencing the event knew the program, so there were no disappointments in their eyes. Even for the president.
So from that event, I even changed my debriefing meetings to a conversation instead of a presentation. I take into account the critical stakeholder’s perspective and guide the discussion based on reading the situation. And if there are things that bothered me and not them, I make sure to note them for my next event without even bringing it to their attention. This way, it becomes just added value.
There is a fine line between bettering ourselves (criticizing missed opportunities of the events) and excepting the reality of everything being alright as is (people enjoying the product anyway). But where is that line? It’s most undoubtedly objective.
What I had to realize is that it is possible for the event to both be an excellent experience for people and still have the room to grow. We should always be open to doing better as well as putting out the best version of a product we have at the time. Even when it is not our idea of perfect.
Content courtesy of Amanda Reese, Founder of Blueprint Concepts, an experience-focused marketing firm that provides growth strategy to entrepreneurs and creatives.
Contributing Author, Amanda Reese
As Blueprint Concept’s chief consultant, Amanda does more than drumming on a keyboard. With more than 6+ years of experience in marketing and branding, she’s obsessed with new innovative storytelling and curating experiences to go along with them. When she’s not empowering women and small businesses to be differentiators, she is exploring health and wellness (or watching reruns of The Office). Throughout her career, Amanda has worked with many industries including — education to entertainment, and sports to nonprofits.