Now that it’s all over, it’s time give your organizer a hug! I wish, and I’ll bet they wish it too. Truth is, even if everyone did their job well and as expected, there are so many potential problems and issues to mitigate along the way, that one is rarely left post event with more than a feeling of being glad you’re done. That feeling of relief seems universal, regardless of the final outcome.
I’ve actually found as a creative person that it is very much akin to finishing an important piece of artwork. Not so coincidentally, it uses basically the same process as creating brand. A part of me feels pride and a sense of accomplishment for finishing, and another part becomes a bit sad because, well, it’s the end of the experience. OK that’s not quite it.
My brother-in-law once schooled me on parenting by explaining that he had observed that whenever they did a big family trip or activity, the kids seemed to make this noticeable emotional and intellectual leap. It’s a phenomenon I have now also observed. I don’t doubt this is kind of the same thing with most events. The armchair psychologist in me senses some truth that big experiences lead to growth and also lead to a period of introspection. Which can well up all types of human emotions.
Returning to my point, I am sure of a universal feeling of relief, but it’s short lived, and most are ready to get back to business in short order. So during this important gap of time, where you wrap up any tasks still required, and when the organizer is ready, see if they can take a little time to sit down and discuss how things went and if there were places that could be improved upon (if there is a) next time. This tends to be a mandatory task when it is an internal process designed for a team within a business, but you’d be surprised how rare this interaction will occur when you are on the outside of a corporate framework. But attempt to do this like the account is in jeopardy. Frankly, even if things went as perfectly as expected, if there is anything I’ve learned over time and repetition, nothing is a sure thing, until it is.
Service is very important in the branding game, and if you did your job right, along the way you butted heads on creative decisions. You’re a professional, so when this happened, you made sure you justified yourself, and you used logic. And hopefully you knew when to let it go and offer an acceptable compromise. After all, the organizer is the boss, so as they say, it’s their head on the chopping block. Mutual respect builds as much as disdain divides.
I always come back to a PR associate’s comment one day in a meeting where he warned a colleague that if he kept calling out a problem client on every project, that eventually it would be they who would be labeled the “problem,” and the client would stop using them. I always found that to be a particularly chaffing statement that, sadly, also rings true. An organizer expects you to be firm when plying your expertise, but in the end, it’s still their decision. So try and take note of how often you stood your ground and take account of it before you assume that the project will still be yours next time.
Beyond the way you interacted on difficult decisions, technically this is also where brand gets compromised. You have to look at those decisions you made together carefully and do your best to adopt them into your brand structure. Keeping from institutionalizing a bad decision can only be mitigated at the time it’s being implemented. Compel the organizer to do it with the logic of the brand at the forefront.
So strap on your big boy pants one more time and work closely with your client on transitional needs like pulling together next year’s save the date and updating any timely branded elements. Offer a healthy thank you for the business, and follow-up gently.