An interview with the Managing Director at REEF Agency Jen Baxendale
How do you book and retain great staff?The act of hiring staff to simply have bodies in places in no longer an effective strategy in this industry. In order to create those meaningful connections between event staff and marketing agencies, you need to build that rapport with them by taking an interest in them and engaging with them. That allows for dedication to the job. On the other hand, the client needs to have an exciting activation to draw in the right kind of staff. We’ve learned that amplified campaigns bring in energetic staff that perform well leading to overall success. We have also learned that training is the most important factor in success. We emphasize the value of training to our clients as a tool to help our staff identify with the brands they represent. A delicate balance of training, between overwhelming and a lack of information, helps to foster that dedication to a brand that makes our staff want the brand and activation to succeed. Even something small, like a training phone call between our event staff and the client, can go a long way in establishing that brand dedication. Successful staff retention and successful event activations start with training. And it is a collaborative effort between the client, the in-field staff and us at REEF that create quality training experiences.
What do you do when a client requests a brand activation that will be difficult to get event staff for?I pride myself on being honest with our clients. We’re always open to talking about our clients about the challenges of their activation proposals. We never want to overdeliver. However, this will differ from market to market. What might be difficult to do in one area or with one target demographic might be a lot easier in a different space. So we rely on our team of experts to evaluate these activation ideas and determine the level of success we can expect with all the factors in mind.
What do you look for when bringing on staff for the first time?It will always vary from brand to brand, there is no one list of features that will make one person the perfect candidate for all brands we work with. The ability to talk to anyone, enthusiasm and willingness to learn about the brand will certainly make someone more successful at their job though.
What tools do you use to manage event staff, and what is the importance of them?We use an online staffing management platform that can be great to a certain extent, but at the same time, you have to be directly engaged with event staff to make them feel invested in the brands they represent. So, while technology plays a role in keeping us organized at REEF, we still want to make sure we’re having those individualized conversations with our staff. Additionally, our event staff can also access valuable information through the management system such as their previous and upcoming schedule, how much they get paid for each shift and more. So most of our staff’s administration questions can be answered at the click of an app on their phones.
How is REEF different than other agencies when it comes to event staffing and hiring?We have long-term experience in this industry working with clients in a variety of industries. With those years of experience comes the ability to really think on our feet and practice crisis management effectively. Many companies can pull off a successful activation that draws in a lot of people, and so can we. But when it comes to the unexpected, our clients want an experiential marketing agency that won’t drop the ball when issues arise. Staff management can be very complex; but because we know this, we’re about to be forward-thinking to mitigate issues.
REEF’s roster of dedicated event staff lends itself to the success of brand activation each and every time. As you look for an experiential marketing agency to bring your brand to life, trust the expert REEF with a training-based mythology and years of experience that give them the know-how to tackle any challenge. Ready to put your brand in the spotlight? Contact REEF today to get started.