As with every business it can take time to establish, build credentials, trust and belief. With an industry this can take even longer. Experiential Marketing’s journey took quite a few years to evolve and now deservedly sits at the table alongside all media channels.
It is this importance, an achieved journey crafted by key agencies in the market place that have delivered, produced fantastic work, who have promoted, created white papers, generated awards; that will therefore feel a little vexed when a one man band comes along, without being vetted, no quality control, inferior ideas, poor implementation and then dramatically undercuts everyone.
This ultimately devalues the industry. You could say, no respectable brand/agency would utilise their services – but you’d be wrong. In very much a price driven market, the bottom line is a key consideration.
Certain agencies believe that they can closely manage the relationship to ensure the quality, but with their own client needs who detract and demand their full attention they’ll take their eye off their ‘new contractor’ and as the saying goes; ‘if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.’
However, this isn’t just a cost issue; for example, anyone can build a stand, hire a van and go out embrace a consumer… There is no one to vet this, sense check the communication, the mechanic, the build or the brand ambassadors.
So how do we move this forward and ensure best practise? Ultimately a governing body needs to be established or an existing body generates an offshoot that enforces experiential criteria across communication and deliverables.
The ‘LBEA’ was an attempt, which had virtuous intentions but unfortunately failed due to a diverse membership with confused objectives - Maybe it is time once again to re look at this?
Ironically, venues have helped shape part of the control. With their strict H&S, Risk Assessments, Method Statements and insurance policies required, this has ensured agencies have to deliver to their criteria or be refused entry. Unfortunately with these types of venues only accounting for a proportion of a matrix, there is a lot of exposure to risk.
Staffing, the pivotal piece in any experiential interaction, has very few barriers to entry and only a decade ago, retired promo staff started trading as one man bands, utilising their own primitive network with no legalities in place or full accountability.
A few escalated into ‘agency’ status but still to this day don’t pay NI, Tax or holiday contribution, defrauding the Inland Revenue (we have a list if you need this) and again devaluing the industry.
At LIVE we are officially registered with Information Commissioners Office. Our bespoke industry leading database has met every single staff member, all with a copy of each person’s passport, while complying with full legislation (Tax, NI deductions etc)
So, how are agencies monitoring their staff?
- Are they on brand, profiled, trained, legally entitled to work in the UK?
- Are they old enough to work on certain categories, alcohol for example where a minimum requirement is 21 with a preferred look of 25.
Creating an ‘implementation code’, with a clear set of mandatories that all businesses have to adhere to, will probably be a pain, obstructive, require further planning in predominantly a short lead time industry; but will ultimately create a united coherent and safe industry that ensures all campaigns are:
- Safely built & implemented
- On brand, trained motivated brand ambassadors
- While communicated effectively
All ensuring experiential prosperity.