Event Management Essay

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Introduction

To fulfill their various roles within destination planning and place promotion, events must be managed as high-quality products with a strong tourism orientation. This is a major challenge, given that most festivals and special events are managed by non-profit organizations in which volunteers dominate. One-time events employ project management techniques to produce an event on a prescribed date, often with years of planning and development. They face special challenges, including protests or political interference, fast-tracking through regulatory channels, shifting priorities and uncertain resource commitments, staff turnover or burn-out, and the temptation to make quality compromises when time and money run low.

Event programs are composed of a number of generic elements of style, and managers have unlimited scope in combining them to achieve uniqueness. Celebration is the essence of festivals. Spectacle, including entertainment, consists of those components which please the eye or are larger than life displays. Commerce is a feature of many events, including exhibits and merchandising. Hospitality refers to both the reception and service quality experienced by guests and the opportunity for sponsors to host their clients, staff and associates. Games is a broad element involving competitions, gambling, humor and surprise. Educational components are often important, and cultural authenticity must be considered.

A marketing audit can be performed on events to determine their attractiveness and readiness to host tourists. Some of the key elements are sufficient in appeal and quality to attract and satisfy tourists, a theme and setting which conveys an attractive image, a targeted communications campaign with identified tourist segments, a program which provides generic benefits for all visitors and targeted benefits for special tourism interests, provision of special services need by tourists (for example, accessibility, reception of tour groups, additional information, languages, reserved seating), packaging for tourists, relationships with the tour and hospitality sectors, cooperative marketing involving destination marketing agencies and other events, sponsorship which extends the reach of the events appeal and communications, and site and community capacity to accommodate substantial numbers of visitors. Recent research has given an added attention to the theme of event management.

event marketing

The sponsorship or production of events as a marketing tool, specifically to connect with target audiences, build relationships, sell merchandise and achieve positive publicity, includes some of what is known as event marketing. In return for money, goods or services, events provide sponsors with specific benefits such as visibility, sales promotions, onsite exhibitions and hospitality venues.

Explosive growth in event sponsorship occurred during and following the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games of 1984. The events sector has since been revolutionized, giving rise to larger budgets, more attention to marketing, merchandising and media coverage, and the forging of corporate partnerships. Sponsors often augment the reach of event promotions and provide valued technical expertise. Tourism and event development organizations actively promote destinations through events, and this process is largely dependent on the creation of media-oriented events with international sponsors.

One consequence of this trend has been a rise in ambush marketing, in which corporations seek to gain advantages through surrounding promotions without actually sponsoring the event. Confusion can also result when event sponsors differ from the sponsors of participants, such as athletes, and from media advertisers. Another trend had been for corporations to seek equity in events, or even to create their own events. This could threaten relationships with some events and result in less sponsorship money. Similarly, moves in some jurisdictions to ban advertising and sponsorship, especially from alcohol or tobacco companies, is also viewed as a threat to the events sector.

To be sustainable in the long term, there must be a congruence of goals and styles among sponsors and event organizers, with clear benefits to each party, customers and other participants (Cooper & Press, 1995). In some cases these partnerships are leading to environmental and educational programs at events, to heightened community involvement by corporations, and to a resurgence of the arts. Event marketing has had the effect of elevating event tourism into prominence, not just as a special-interest market but as a major tool in destination image-making.

Feasibility Study/Overview Report

The structure of the fashion market is illustrated in Figure 1. FifthElement produces collections termed either ready-to-wear or designer wear, or prªt- -porter. Garments are highly priced. Designs are produced in limited numbers and the quality must be of a high standard. There are two main collections a year (plus mid-seasons). The collections may be shown on the catwalks of London, Paris, Milan and New York. In the 1980s and early 1990s,FifthElement was producing two collections a year to show on the international catwalks. The event process for a collection is outlined in Figure 2. The stages are as follows:

Figure 1 Structure of the Fashion Industry


Figure 2 The event process for a collection at FifthElement Menswear

¢ The initial theme or story for the collection. Themes have to be innovative and somewhat original as what these designers create will trickle down to the high street.

¢ The International Wool Secretariat, ICI, the Silk Board, the Cotton Board all provide predictions for colors and fabrics they think will sell next season. The color palette should be decided upon before the fabric show is visited. How much per meter of cloth the designer can spend depends on that particular collection, cash flow, sponsorship and the designers preference (Sproles & Burns, 1994).

¢ Mood boards/Story boards. Usually numerous A1 or A2 boards convey the collections themes, images, fabrics and color palette (Davis, 1992). It becomes a reference point while designing. It visually pulls all the research together.

¢ Designing. Sketches working drawings and/or illustrations are made. Because of the type and size of the company, FifthElement does not need to produce specification drawings. They collaborates with their pattern cutter to ensure designs are interpreted correctly. Clothes may be modeled on the stand (tailoring dummy) in which case a toile (a prototype of a half-garment used to construct a pattern) is used to create a pattern or a block (standard pattern) may be adapted. A calico garment is constructed from the pattern to assess its function, aesthetics and styling.

¢ The sample garment or final garment is made. This is the garment the model will wear down the catwalk and orders will be made from and further manufacturing will be based on (Chenoune, 1993).

¢ The fashion show will require more than just the garments as it is a marketing event. Within the industry it is usual for companies to have sponsorship from other companies. Enigma Fibres sponsored FifthElements 1994-5 Autumn/Winter collection. This allows FifthElement to reduce their costs and the sponsor to gain publicity. At the show, buyers will order designs they like. It is also where the designer either receives good or bad publicity, depending on the quality of work at the show.

¢ Manufacturing and retailing of collections. When a suitable price is negotiated with a manufacturing company, the range goes into production. Fabric is re-ordered in bulk. Orders are delivered or shipped out. FifthElement will not retail their collection in-store until orders are received and prices are standardized (Dunn, 1996). As a consequence, this will ensure that the supplying company does not undercut their customers.

Table 1 Requirements for FifthElement Autumn/Winter 1999-2000 collection
The Collection (54 garments shown) Budget
Fabric 100 meters @ £10.00 per meter (average) £1,000
4 models for the fashion show @ £650 per model £2,600
4 models for fittings @ £100 £400.00
Sound, light and seating £1,000
Styling £750.00
Hair and make-up £400.00
Accessories £250.00
Hospitality based on 100 people £1,000
Invitations £500.00
Total £7,900

The company has to have a significant amount of cash to participate in designer shows (see Table 1). To research and stage a collection costs over £10,000. To show the collection together costs £10,000, plus another £10,000 to produce customer orders.

There will be no return on investment on the initial collection for about a year. After six months, work begins on the next collection. Before any profit is made a cash flow sum of £40,000-£50,000 is needed. Due to the large amount of money required and to increase the choice to customers in the retail outlet, small collections are put together in-store. Usually in-store ranges are planned four to six months in advance. The timescale of a collection can take up to a year (see Table 2).

Table 2 A collection plan produced by Flash Box Studios
Timescale Collection tasks Estimated costs
Oct-Nov 2002 Research and Development for Autumn/ Winter 2003/9 Collection £10,000
March 2003 Paris Catwalk A/W 2003/9 Show £10,000
April 2003 R&D for Summer 2004 £10,000
March-Sept 2003 Orders and Production £10,000
By Sept 2003 Wholesale orders out and in-store retailing
October 2003 Next designers show s/s 2004 £10,000
Oct-Nov 2003 Return on Investment


Proposed Organizational Structure and Monitoring Systems

Wholesale collections are similarly conducted. Cost is worked out by fabric per meter, the actual cloth consumption, patterns, buttons, trimmings and how long the garment takes to make or how much the factory charges. As a general rule, the mark-up is 100 per cent for wholesale and 250 per cent for retail.

Buying

Buying operates for Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer like the ready-to-wear. Items must fit in with the seasons theme. New suppliers are researched from trade magazines, trade shows, suppliers phone calls and word of mouth (other designers). A performance management system, which cascades an organizations top level objectives down through successive layers of managers and front-line staff, may be one useful method of communicating goals, such as the need for effective event management (Turner, 1999).

A budget is set for each supplier depending on the seasons requirements (Feldwick, 1991). Suppliers are kept depending on the sales performance of previous merchandise and whether the product is classed as trendy or classic as the former has a higher turnover but a shorter lifecycle. Suppliers who have remained constant over time include John Smedley, N-Peal, Burlington and Creed & Harris.

Technology

The company attempted to integrate CAD/CAM into the bespoke side of the business to automate the process of tailoring. The idea was that a shift towards technology would enable the company to offer the service on a larger, less expensive scale. Two systems were introduced (Behling & Wilch, 1988).

The range of sizes is wider than off-the-peg suits, but not as precise as traditional manual methods. There are forty-one different jacket sizes available without vents or with one or two vents, and in twenty-eight different finishes available on the Scabal Iota system. The CAD/CAM system brings up the nearest pattern match from its database and adjusts the pattern on the Gerber system. Regardless of how vast the database is, it still is somewhat limited and inflexible in comparison to traditional tailoring practices.

In contrast, fabric technology helped to increase the companys market position and status in the industry. Enigma Fibres sponsored FifthElement Menswear Winter 1994-5 collection by providing the fabric Tencel. The collection marked the re-launch of FifthElements ready-to-wear collections and their return to commercial fashion. The association between the two companies ensured an increase in press coverage, which was beneficial to both parties. The technological, environmental and functional aspects of Tencel produced in classic designs were popular but for a company which only produces limited designs the research and uses of technologically advanced fabrics are costly (Aaker, 1991).

Identifying and evaluating the FifthElement brand

The primary aim of organizational analysis is to illustrate how market research can be used to create a strong brand identity (UK Marketing Guides, 1995) for FifthElement and to establish that identity as an effective form of communication between the company and its respective audience. The audience for FifthElement Menswear is shown in Table 3.

Table 3 The audience and aims of FifthElement Menswear
Audience Aims
Customers To instill loyalty
General public Enhance awareness of the company and products
The media Communicate new strategy and performance/increase awareness
Financial Communicate new strategy
The industry Differentiate products and services from that of competitors
Local community Communicate commitment to growth
Internal Set an agenda and common objectives team work
Influential groups Show commitment to the environment
Government Communicate commitment to growth and global markets

The aims are communicated to by the various designed elements of the company. What these elements (or channels of communication) are is relative. In a market characterized by products with little generic differentiation, the fashion own brand has emerged as the cornerstone of marketing strategies (Moore, 1995). Wilson suggests (1982) brand image can be broken down further into:

¢ current image how audiences see the company;
¢ mirror image how the company sees itself;
¢ wish image the way the company would like to be seen.

Figure 3 shows how a brand identity program is created. The FifthElement brand will be identified by: ¢ explaining motivation and design policy;
¢ identifying how the company would like to be seen (the wish image) established from the company mission and philosophy;
¢ investigating the design elements of the company and what they communicate (involves observing the mirror images);
¢ auditing design elements on an evaluation scale based on the wish image;
¢ describing the brand according to six levels of meaning;

Figure 3 Creating a brand identity program

¢ comparing competitors brands (names, symbols and logos) and finding common elements and characteristics of the industry;
¢ the FifthElement sample logo;
¢ conclusion of findings and recommendations.

Purchasing motivation and design policy

Design communicates messages about the company to its audiences. Audiences must be able to decode these messages with minimum effort and this is achieved by a strong coherent and consistent brand identity. An effective design policy, which describes the context and constraints within which a company carried out design work can ensure this (Forsythe, 1991). It describes in design terms how customers needs and wants are being met. Design policy at FifthElement Menswear is not documented, nor is their design process.

Because the company has a typical entrepreneurial structure, little is formalized. The managing director rarely has time to communicate the policy verbally, therefore they cannot communicate it to customers or ensure that work meets set standards (Goffee & Scase, 1995). Design policy must be formalized and standards set to measure the effectiveness of design if the company is to move forward. Van Der Wagon & Carlos (2005) identified that the role of the coordinator was often imprecisely defined, with real responsibility remaining with the recurring-event manager.

The wish image
The companys specific mission, or the purpose for the companys existence is:
¢ to design modern classics;
¢ to create aesthetic garments of unmistakable quality;
¢ to ensure the company conveys comfort (in its clothing and environment);
¢ to ensure the company conveys quality;
¢ to provide traditional skills and expertise;
¢ to support and exhibit art.

After investigating the style and content of design communication, it can be audited against these objectives.

Passing trade
At just under six square miles, Islington is one of the smallest boroughs in London, with a population of 164,000. It is characterized by contrast, vitality and modern cultural diversity. Upper Street is home to the Business Design Centre (BDC) which separates two distinct shopping areas. On one side towards Angel, there is the high street multiple chains, which are easily recognizable. On the other, towards Highbury and Islington there are independent retail outlets very high in design content and product price. FifthElement is situated in the latter part at 186 Upper Street.

Renowned for its innovative window displays, the company changes them every 1-2 weeks. The windows of the shop front are curved with a tiled path. The window display area has a polished wooden floor with a backdrop of mirrors. Often done in conjunction with a company called Urban Roots, examples of displays include a window full of daffodils in spring, with a merchandised mannequin in the centre. Sometimes the window display is a piece of artwork combined with merchandise, such as the yes/no heads and two wooden/mechanical heads, shaking and nodding. Not only does this promote local art but also provides local artists with a place to sell their work.

Customer service

The bespoke service is as it was fifty years ago the customer is made to feel important with personal attention and advice. FifthElement understands fully their craft, enabling him to provide an impeccable consultancy service to bespoke customers. The only problem is enabling customers to visualize a 3D-product prior to its construction (Huddleston, et. Al, 1993). Once the customer has the suit, it is more or less guaranteed for two years. FifthElement will even press the suit after its first dry-clean, out of courtesy.

Repairs are part of the service. Merchandise can be exchanged if unsuitable, but there is no formal policy on returns and no set complaints procedures. Assessing general service is also fundamental, as this is an asset which can differentiate a company from their competitors. Below are some questions that the company may need to ask about their general standard of service:

¢ Is the telephone answered in 3-4 rings?
¢ Is there somewhere for clients to rest?
¢ Are the staff attentive?
¢ Are products guaranteed?
¢ Are customers served immediately?
¢ Are individual complaints handled effectively and efficiently?
¢ Are refreshments offered to bespoke customers?

It would also be advantageous for the company to have a complaints book to log all complaints, so they could be prevented from recurring. This will help the company assess in the short term what customers expect. However, it must be remembered that for every customer who is dissatisfied and complains, there are many who are equally dissatisfied yet, for reasons best known to themselves, they say nothing (Leppard and Molyneux, 1994).

Products as objects

Fabrics and patterns are sent to manufacturers who make a sample garment before the line goes into full production. Generally, fifty garments at a time is regarded the maximum, possibly in five styles. FifthElement himself checks quality control. It is a general check of the cut-make-trim (CMT).Although visual defects are checked manually, garments or cloth are not checked for quality assurance. Performance characteristics are neither checked nor presented to the customer as a measure of quality. These include:

¢ shrinkage (BS 5807);
¢ colourfastness (BS 1006);
¢ dry cleaning/washing (BS 4961);
¢ durability and maintenance (BS 5807);
¢ other care characteristics;
¢ fire resistance.

It is not suggested that the company attempts to comply with British or European Standards. BS 5750 (ISO 9001) is often difficult in its application for companies, particularly of this size, to comply with. However, there is nothing to prevent the company producing its own standard based on BS/ISO 9000.

Conclusion

Effective Event management needs to be focused upon processes and assets as means to an end. The growing reliance of organizations upon one another, and upon technology and infrastructure, has also been cited as supporting the view that Event management matters more today than at any other point in history. Soft and hard system elements must be considered together and that organizations themselves may incubate the potential for interruptions.

Managerial intervention plays a vital role in causing crises or in mitigating their effects. Whilst no methodology can guarantee that interruptions will be avoided, it is argued that adopting a broad methodology will assist organizations to be better prepared. The Event management process should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that the resulting plans remain appropriate. It is appropriate to examine some general principles of planning which apply equally, in which the planning processes specifically concerned with recurring-event are considered in greater detail.

One of the first issues facing an organization setting out to develop a recurring-event plan is that of who should be primarily responsible within the organization for the research, planning, analysis and drafting of preliminary plans. Although the planning process requires a dedicated project manager it also normally needs senior management support. Given that the planning process requires information which can only be gathered and ascertained from individuals across many parts of the organization, participation in the process is considered essential. Many successful organizations place recurring-event within a central department that has responsibility for strategic planning and analysis amongst other tasks (Barnard, 1996).

A useful model includes a steering group to support the project manager. This steering group should include senior and influential staff from different units or departments. A further problem which arises from the outset of any planning process, whether this be strategic, functional or recurring-event oriented, is the legacy hindrance. Organizations are complex socio-technical systems which reflect antecedents such as decisions, systems, structures, values and beliefs.

The influence on strategy of an organizations structure has long been recognized (Chandler, 1962) and, despite considerable debate in this respect, structure should remain a focus of attention since it offers one manner in which the organization can be viewed and, therefore, analyzed. The way in which one perceives an organization can often determine the decisions and actions that are taken.

In a recurring-event context (and in practical terms) many organizations find themselves in a brownfield planning context. This means that managers involved must recognize that they cannot make sweeping changes to the organization and its social and technical systems. They must plan in their context.

This does not necessarily mean that they should eschew possibilities for greenfield planning. Analysts have observed that organizations may design in redundant computer-processing capacity and facilities as a contingency for interruptions. Hence, the challenges facing planners in brownfield and greenfield situations are not dissimilar from those which emanate from process redesign (Baugh & Davis, 1989).

The perception of failure may also influence the discovery process that precedes the development of recurring-event plans. In some organizations, failure is considered to be a positive side-effect from which discovery and subsequent improvements can be effected. Managerial recommendation is clear: Awareness has to be developed first (Catherwood & Richard, 1992). Equally, planners should be aware of the symbolism that failure can bring. The plan itself could be blamed, or specific individuals could be blamed. The failure itself is more nebulous, and unless it is thoroughly understood, there could be little, if any, improvement should similar circumstances arise in the future.

Resources

Aaker, A.D. (1991) Managing Brand Equity. Capitalizing on the Value of a Brand Name, New York: The Free Press.

Barnard, D. (1996) Fashion as Communication, London: Routledge.

Baugh, D.F. and Davis, L.L. (1989) The effect of store image on consumers perceptions of designer and private label clothing, Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 7 (3), p. 15.

Behling, D. and Wilch, J. (1988) Perceptions of branded clothing by male consumers, Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 6 (2), p. 46.

Chenoune, F. (1993) A History of Mens Fashion, Paris: Flammarion.

Cooper, R. and Press, M. (1995) The Design Agenda, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Catherwood, Dwight W., and Richard L. Van Kirk. The Complete Guide to Special Event Management. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1992.

Davis, F. (1992) Fashion, Culture and Identity, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Dunn, B. (1996) Lauren to himself, GQ, April, p. 157.

Feldwick, P. (1991) Defining a brand, in D. Cowley (ed.) Understanding Brands, London: Kogan Page, pp. 19-28.

Forsythe, S.M. (1991) Effect of private, designer and national brand names on shoppers perception of apparel quality and price, Clothing & Textiles Research Journal, 9 (2), 1-6.

Goffee, R. and Scase, R. (1995) Corporate Realities, London: Routledge.

Huddleston, P., Cassill, N. and Hamilton, L. (1993) Apparel selection criteria as predictors of brand orientation, Clothing & Textiles Research Journal, 12 (1), 51-6.

Model-Netics. ( 1980). Sacramento, CA: Main Event Management Corporation.

Moore, C.M. (1995) From rags to riches creating and benefiting from the fashion own brand, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 23 (9), 23.

MCCURLEY & LYNCH, THE VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK, Heritage Arts Publishing, Illinois, 1996

Sorensen, C. (1995) The fashion market and the marketing environment, in M. Easy (ed.) Fashion Marketing, Oxford: Blackwell Science.

Sproles, G. and Burns, L.D. (1994) Changing Appearances: Understanding Dress in Contemporary Society, New York: Fairchild, p. 7.

Turner, JR (1999) Handbook of Project-Based Management, McGraw Hill Maidenhead

UK Marketing Guides (1995) Postcode Targeter of Great Britain: A Guide to Postcode Sector Marketing, (vols 1 and 2), London: HarperCollins.

Van Der Wagon, L. & Carlos, B. (2005) Event Management for Tourism, Cultural, Business and Sporting Events, Pearson, Sydney.

Wilson, (1982), Marketing Audit Checklists, Maidenhead, Berks: McGraw-Hill.

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