FREE Webinar: 'Build Your 2024 Engagement Toolbox'
Join us for a FREE webinar, "Build Your 2024 Engagement Toolbox," on March 7!
Register now!

Behind the Pipe and Drape: Why a Strong AV Partner Is So Important

Your reputation is in the hands of the crew calling your show's shots.

23914771 Cdt 3 1 (1)
Photo: Courtesy of Creative Day Technologies

This sponsored content was written by Lesley Harding of Creative Day Technologies.

Like any great event planner, you're likely a champ at knocking out punch-list items such as registration, F&B, and transportation. But when it comes to audiovisual, it's easy to head for the ropes.

AV is scary and confusing. Typical quotes read like a hardware store inventory list, with line items you've never heard of or have no idea what they do. It's easy to just leave it up to the "guys" to handle. AV is often a budget heavyweight, but can quickly damage your reputation and brand if things don't go right. Never having talked with the production team before the load-in day—and handing over a thumb drive with videos, PPTs, music, and graphics, hoping it all gets sorted and played correctly—leaves a whole lot to chance. 

It pays to work with a production company that also offers creative services and can get involved in your project from the word “go.” A company that doesn't see your event as just another job on their calendar. 

Creative services include things like a producer, content development, event design, stage design, pre-visualizations, and renderings—big to-do's for you and your team that can now be managed by a producer who knows great events from an audiovisual perspective. Bringing the producer in early in your planning—or better yet, developing a long-standing relationship with them—helps them get to know your brand, your message, and your mission, ultimately allowing them to make suggestions on staging, speakers, show flows, and content to help you best connect with your audience. You have a team that knows you, your company, and your show, creating a whole lot of confidence going into your event. 

But isn't this sort of support going to blow my budget? No. 

Venues will typically recommend their in-house AV, which won't have creative services. Clients get a sense that this is a cost-effective option—but typically in-house AV is anything but. They are a vendor, not owned or managed by the venue. Many times, they don't have an office on-site and you may not even get a crew who has worked at that venue before. The venue pushes for you to work with their in-house AV because the in-house company gives them a spiff for helping seal the deal.

But remember: As part of your venue contract, you can negotiate using an outside production company. If there are any penalties for bringing another company in, that's negotiable, too. Before locking in the venue, find an AV partner you trust that can provide you with support beyond what the in-house company can. The venue may stand tough on the penalty—but your trusted partner will be invested in the overall success of your event and can help arm you for the negotiation or even find alternative solutions so you don't have to settle.

As you finalize your punch list, you can feel great knowing that your brand has the best hands behind the pipe and drape.