Event Thought Leadership: AV vs. Creative Event Production.

Ready to hear from some Event Production pros? We had the opportunity to gain some insight from two individuals who know event production like the back of their hands. Give it up for Jerry Kauth and Stu Fullmer!

Jerry Kauth: Vice President, KM&A

Jerry has 15 years of experience in the industry and 4 years here at KM&A. He’s well versed in many different event production management areas – creative, registration, sourcing, planning, executing – just to name a few.

Q: What is creative event production management?

“Creative event production management…a longwinded way of putting words to a process that can be very complicated. KM&A’s real expertise is ensuring all parts of the event are aligned with goals established at the beginning of a relationship. Thinking beyond the screen, an event is an experience. It’s not just what you see and hear, it’s the feeling you get walking into the space and the feeling you take home with you – something memorable and you are reminded of it when you see the location for years to come. The creative aspect can be as simple as the name tag that connects the QR code system or the email banner in the pre-event communication. Overall, it’s about carrying your brand throughout the theme of any event.”

Q: What benefit do you get as the client by hiring an event product agency rather than just an AV company?

“A large variety of different things! To name some of them – you get a dedicated team that acts as an extension of your internal team.. whether that is your events, marketing, sales or executive level leadership. You also get consistency and one source throughout the process. This source understands the vendor’s perspective and the client’s perspective on the challenges. We provide a clear understanding on the potential risk of each decision, and we offer true advice on the best route to take along the way. We manage the perceptions the attendees have of the event from start to finish – from the first save the date to the welcome email on day 1 to entering the venue.”

Q: What are some of the event details often left out by companies who don’t use an event agency?

“A lot of companies don’t open their eyes to solutions that they didn’t know were possible. It’s one thing to have a dream and a completely different thing to make it a reality – no challenge is too big to overcome. Additionally, companies are confined by the boxes they have put them and their employees in. The challenge then is to dream bigger with external resources. With that, that is why it is important to have a trusted advisor to clue you in on any challenges.”

Stu Fullmer: AV Director of Sale Audiovisual, Bartha

Stu is the go-to person for all things AV. He has been in the industry since 2003 and has become a master in event production. He also has dabbled in providing content, doing lights and sound, as well as video. While Stu is based in Ohio, given the opportunity to travel, he wouldn’t pass it up.

Q: When thinking of complex, multi-location, multi-media & live hybrid events for large organizations/associations with numerous stakeholders and challenges, what is the most valuable support event production/event management like KM&A provides to you the provider?

“KM&A acting as the single source of information is the biggest factor. Having a reliable source with employees I can trust like my own is incredibly valuable and allows all parties involved to me much more efficient.”

Q: How does an event production agency partner like KM&A help you, as the provider, and the client have a successful event?

“As a production company, we did 297 shows last year. Most last longer that one day and we have multiple crews out at once – leaving little time to be in the weeds with things where we are not needed. KM&A is helpful to bring us in when our presence is actually beneficial to the client, KM&A and ourselves. Again, having one source for communication – beyond valuable.”

Q: When is it AV time?

“It’s honestly up to the client and the creative event production management team. It most beneficial to bring us in once they’ve found the venue and they have an idea of cost and staging of the general session, break out rooms, etc. Closer to the event we start joining the client calls and involving ourselves more to ensure that the event runs smoothly.”

The Impact of Two Brilliant Mind

Now that we’ve heard from both Jerry and Stu separately, let’s put these two experts together and see what wisdom we can gain!

Q: What factors are important to consider before engaging an audio-visual company directly or through a third party like KM&A?

Jerry: “When considering production or AV needs, you need to put it into two categories. One – equipment execution. Is your content pre-baked? Do internal resources – things like speakers, presentations, branding, animations – already exist? If those sound like they are outside your capacities – engage us rf there is a LOT of pre-time needed! We provide support to our partners by managing the day-to-day needs of a complex event. Our team acts as the filter from a third-party to our client to ensure we can execute at a level that meets and exceeds expectations. We like to get strategic with how content will be perceived by attendees.”

Stu: “A lot of it has to do with how much time you have and how much time you dedicate to content creation. It is always beneficial when a company like KM&A comes in to keep the client straight, in-line and finished before show time. Being able to delegate the responsibility to ensure it all can happen within the guidelines as well as the deadline.”

Jerry: “Sometimes a third-party like us doesn’t make sense and we can recommend the production team to manage the needs directly. This allows us to turn our attention to other facets of the events. The goal is to make sure that everything feels connected and cohesive and that your internal marketing sales event team can focus on what they need to focus on and leave the responsibilities that are outside of your internal resources to us.”

Q: How are event planning services/production support related to the client’s brand and image?

Jerry: “Any event production, big or small, is an extension of that organization’s brand. It represents their image internally and externally. It’s important to have a team that understands the integrity of your brand, mission statement, values, etc. and get as deep as your overall goals to ensure they are aligned with how the event is produced and represented on screen.”

Stu: “KM&A is talented at being able to think outside the box to reiterate someone’s brand which is essential. Bringing the image to life makes the venue and the entire production an extension of the brand.”

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