With the rise of experiential marketing, more brands than ever are turning to events and activations to engage with consumers. This shift in marketing brings an influx of opportunities for the companies that staff them. As anyone in the events space knows, the industry is innately unpredictable, which means you must take thorough control of any components you can – and that couldn’t ring truer when it comes to hiring event talent. We spoke with expert event staffers and hosts to find out the five fundamentals for staffing success.
MAC x Oh Sweetie | STAFFED INC.
1. Talent can make or break an event
No pressure, but the talent at your event should be living and breathing the brand image. “Every person involved from check-in to coat check is an extension of your brand,” says Ryan Mulcock, Founder & CEO of Outfit staffing company. “Every facet of your event should be driven by human interaction to build engagement. Hiring the right talent will ensure that your client’s messaging is delivered on brand and in return, your clients are satisfied, and your job is properly executed.”
Janna Ferner-Bell, Director of Production at MKG, also emphasizes the importance of hiring the right staff. “Brand ambassadors (BAs) are an extension of the brand and of the agency. They play an integral part in our guests’ experience from the moment they enter to the moment they leave,” she says.
Finding the right talent is much less stressful when you’re working with a trusted staffing company. Once you’ve found one, be upfront about your goals and your needs so the company can find the best possible talent. “Be sure to communicate the objective and desired outcome of your event,” says Martin Solorzano, STAFFED INC. Founder + CEO. “As we are an extension of your team, we can better service your needs when we know what you would like to achieve.”
MTV VIDCON | MKG
2. Diversity is key
Outfit co-founder Tobias Lindvall points out that, “a range of clients means a range of needs -varying from production to the coverage. In order to ensure all targets are met you must have talent as diverse as the client’s needs.”
This ties into having the right partner, as a great staffing company has vetted its employees from the start. “They know who is on their roster and can give you recommendations that meet your criteria on a short list to bring to clients,” says Ferner-Bell. “They provide the first layer of screening and if something comes up, they have a manager on site who can handle the situation, and if needed, replace that person immediately.”
This also brings up the subject of budget. Knowing how much you are willing to spend is just as important as knowing what your goals are. For Solorzano, it’s simple: “Let’s be on the same page from the beginning so we can not only make adjustments based on your needs but also how much you are willing to spend.”
3. Transparency is empowering
“Be transparent about your needs, last minute changes and details. Things will change…and that’s ok! Just don’t forget to let us know when they do,” continues Solorzano.
New technologies are making this easier than ever, which is something both clients and talent can capitalize on. "At Outfit we aim to make the talent experience as simple and straight forward as the client experience," shares Mulcock. Clients are able to directly communicate their needs to talent via the platform; which in return, allows talent to be fully equipped and excel in their execution."
Studio 54 at PUBLIC Arts | Outfit
4. Look for three character traits
Ferner-Bell has identified three specific traits that every brand ambassador must embody. First and foremost, they must be proactive. “They are the face of the activation, so if something comes up, they must be able to think on their feet and deal with it in a gracious way,” she explains. Having a positive attitude is also a key to success, as BAs have the power to encourage guests to interact and get involved. Finally, find the hard workers. “I look for people who want to be there and have a strong work ethic,” she concludes.
5. Talent booking should be simple…and fun!
“Anyone who works in event planning and staffing knows it’s fundamentally stressful,” says Lindvall. “While the rapid evolution of new technologies, especially mobile apps, is enabling more efficient and cost-effective ways to work, the ever-increasing demand for extraordinary event experiences is putting more pressure on tight timelines, tighter budgets and securing the best talent.”
With so many factors at play, you can’t cut corners when it comes to training and preparation. “Our staff is an extension of you,” says Solorzano. “So, set aside time for onboarding, days prior or day of, to ensure your ambassadors are clear on the brand, the events purpose and how they can help strengthen onsite engagement amongst your audience.”
Shopbop Let's Play Holiday | MKG
Events also provide the perfect opportunity for learning more about your audience and the way they interact with your brand, and Solorzano urges his clients to take advantage of that. “Is there anything you’d like our staff to pay attention to? Our staff can help - just provide quick questions they should keep top of mind and we’ll be sure to relay those comments to you post event.”