Kim Winstanley, managing director, founder and chief ‘event architect’ of Eventworx, knows there is more to a great event than bells and whistles that wow the audience. “There can be no doubt that the creative idea is vital – people are invited to so many events these days that you have to make each one original, exciting and stimulating to attract people’s attention and hold their interest. But if you ask me what makes for a successful event, I’d say that first and foremost it needs to meet the business objectives. You can put on the sexiest event in the world, one that’s loved by guests, but if it didn’t achieve what it needed to for the business, then I’d consider it a failure.”
It might not be a popular view in an industry that tends to place all its eggs in the creative basket, but there can be little doubt that it’s music to the ears of clients. “I believe companies are tired of paying exorbitant amounts of money for events that sound fantastic at the pitch stage, but that are a little lack-lustre in the actual delivery. It’s made the market understandably cynical about our industry,” she says.
The makings of a successful event
This is why she’s created a company that balances creativity with the need to deliver on a business objective and work within certain constraints. Eventworx’s business model is based on the understanding that four key things affect the outcome of an event.
Winstanley explains: “Firstly, there’s the big idea, the ‘wow’ factor – the thing that engages guests, energises staff and makes sure your message is remembered. Secondly, there is the collective talent of everyone in our company, and the expertise they bring to the table. These are the people who ensure that the bold ideas are matched by delivery. Then there are our business relationships with our clients, our network of suppliers and our extended team who are hand-picked based on their expertise to deliver different aspects of the event.
“Finally, and this is the part that many event companies don’t take into consideration, there are certain fixed realities – things like a limited budget, time constraints, power supply, the recent example of the vagaries of air travel. These are the things you cannot change.”
Finding a balance
Success, she says, is achieved through the balance of all four elements. “No one is more or less important than another, and if you fail to focus on one, the event won’t work and the client will walk away disappointed.” She sees herself and her team as ‘event architects’. “More goes into a building than its aesthetics, and events are the same. Both require sound structural foundations. To get that right you need an architect, not just a builder. You need someone who understands how the whole hangs together, where the stressors will lie, and how to overcome them. That’s what we do for events.”
Living the idea
The Eventworx model is encapsulated in its logo but it’s also something that the company ‘lives’, and unpacks to each client at every pitch. “Clients are used to being blown away by the big creative idea, and promised the earth at a pitch, so they often don’t expect to talk about the less glamorous stuff. But we lay everything on the table upfront. We have a realistic discussion about the constraints of budget, and a very business-focused discussion of what they need the event to achieve for their business,” Winstanley indicates.
It might make Eventworx more conservative than its competitors, but it’s also helped the company build long-term relationships with clients who trust them to deliver on anything from low-budget to big ticket luxury events. And during the recession, when the events and marketing industry saw budgets slashed, these relationships proved vital. “Clients may have had smaller budgets, but they kept coming to us because they knew we would deliver a successful event that met their objectives, didn’t waste money and worked within their constraints,” says Winstanley.
Player: Kim Winstanley
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