Survival Guide: Working on the Go

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Since 2017 officially began, the East of Ellie team has flown across the country a handful of times as well as countless trips to NYC. We love the excitement and travel, but keeping up with all of the workflow on the road ain’t always easy peasy. See our tips for how we stay on top of it all:

 

Save your iPhone’s juice with Low Battery Mode

When we’re running around with back to back meetings in different locations, we don’t have the luxury of sitting down to charge our devices. The best way to conserve your iPhone’s battery life is to venture into your Settings App and turn on “Low Battery Mode”. Unlike Airplane Mode which is another go-to to save battery power, Low Battery Mode still allows emails, calls and texts to come through and be sent out. Score!

 

Download Docs Before You Hit 30,000 Feet

What’s up with the wifi? In some flights, wifi can be spotty or not available at all. Don’t take any chances by missing out on hours of valuable work time; download whatever documents you need from online to your desktop. No matter what the wifi situation is on the plane, you’ll be fully equipped to tackle your tasks. Ready for takeoff!

 

Carry the Perfect Bag

Fast Company created a list of the perfect work-life balance bags for women. All of these bags are designed to be long lasting, and tech forward. Both very important to the East of Ellie team and fellow hustlers like you. Added bonus – by purchasing any one of these, you’ll be supporting a small biz/startup!

 

Opt for Public Transportation

Driving may seem like the fastest, and most financially sensible option in terms of traveling from appointment to appointment. You go directly from point A to point B when and how you want to. However, unforeseen factors like traffic and getting lost can have you frustrated, tired and worst of all, LATE. Our #1 reason to opt for public transportation when we’re on the go? You can get 100% more work done riding the train, bus, subway or camelback.

 
Need a travel-savvy team that has executed legendary events in numerous cities all over the country? Reach out and say hi! rsvp@eastofellie.com Keep up with our travels on Instagram: eastofellie.

Cheer Up Buttercup: April Showers Bring May Flowers Event

May has arrived and it feels like spring is finally on its way! Even though the sunny days to come are going to be wonderful, we can’t forget about the countless rainy days the spring weather brings to New England. As you take out your rain boots, umbrellas, and rain jackets, we want you to celebrate and embrace this rainy weather in our favorite way – through an event! We’ve gathered our favorite tips on how to transform your event space into a unique April showers bring May flowers event!

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The bigger the idea the better! We plan events for luxury brands, so obviously we looked to Jimmy Choo to show us how a flower wall in store can inspire a bright and colorful spring line launch event. With colors of the brand, or colors from the latest collection, you can create something spectacular.

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Even if your brand is like Kate Spade– fun, bright, and classy, you can add a flower wall to your event like Kate did to her store front. It’s fitting, and inviting (with great picture opportunities for social media buzz!)

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Cocktails are always a great way to get the good vibes rolling at a rainy day party, but how cool would it be to keep the May flowers theme going? Adding a little element of your theme to every aspect of the event can wow guests, and continue the bright color pop.

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Have a high ceiling in your event space? Don’t let all the open space go to waste! These lighting fixtures captured us from the moment we laid eyes on them. With this type of decor you can keep a simple table (more space for food), or you can really go all out and add more flowers and really surprise your guests. With flowers above, think of other options for the centerpieces like teapots, or rainboots!

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One of our favorite flowers are tulips. They give a traditional spring look, and add a classic feel. Sometimes simple is better than elaborate, so take your sweet spring time event, and add an element that is classic and unforgettable.

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Celebrate the beauty of spring and all of its craziness using our tips for throwing the perfect April showers bring May flowers event! Want to take your elements of your brand and create a spring themed event but don’t know where to start? Contact us today and let’s get planning.

How To Survive the 5th Most Stressful Job in America

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Our team at EOE will be the first ones to tell you that working for a small event planning agency is not your typical 9-5 job. Forbes recently published that Event Planning is the 5th most stressful job in the country with a stress level of almost 50%. We are constantly on the move for our clients whether we’re rounding up samples, venue hunting, or in meetings. When it comes to the day of the event, event planners will most likely be on their feet for hours on end. Don’t get us wrong, we absolutely love what we do. We would rather be hustling around the city than sitting down all day every day – but success in this career field comes with being prepared.

Here are our tips on to survive the unpredictable hours of the event planner:

  1. Communication: With your client, with your team, and with your vendors. This will reduce the chance of any unwanted meeting surprises that you were unprepared for. When setting up a contract with your client, ensure that you are both on the same page as to how much you need each other to plan your event in detail. Some clients may want a weekly meeting with you to ensure they are kept in the loop of all aspects of the event, while others need a simple email only when they are needed. Open communication is crucial for keeping your work hours manageable and efficient.
  2. Organization: Today’s technology gives you no excuse when it comes to organizing your schedule on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc. Set alerts for your meetings and write everything down in your calendars to ensure you don’t double book a meeting or completely forget about one. This includes important dates to your event such as payment dates for vendors, cutoff dates for hotel room blocks, or RSVP deadlines.
  3. Take a Mental Health Minute:  This is one of the most important ones on our list.  At EOE we understand the importance of taking a mental break – a couple of games of Candy Crush, a few minutes on Facebook, whatever works for you.  Problem is, planners suffer from what we like to call shiny things syndrome.  Next thing you know your 10 minutes break turns into 30. Don’t let precious work time get eaten up by procrastination. During deadlines, every minute counts!
  4. Don’t Overbook: Event planners have a tendency to try to over-balance work and life. During busy times this can lead to burnout. As people pleasers it’s our first instinct to say yes, take on that extra task, grab a quick drink or try to hit those extra gym classes. Do what you need to do to keep your body and mind healthy, but don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily.
  5. Coffee IV : Sometimes, you don’t have the option to stop working until the job is done. It’s not uncommon to find one of us at the office way before 9am or way after 5pm to ensure that our client is satisfied. We often find ourselves wishing an IV of coffee is a real thing.  Multiple trips to Starbucks per day are a must for us!
  6. Ask for Help: Event planners have a ‘can do’ attitude which many times will be not only their biggest asset but their greatest downfall.  Delegate where you can. Ask someone to walk your dog during a busy day of meetings, or have your laundry dropped off instead of doing it yourself. The more you delegate in work and in life the more feasible things will feel.
  7. Celebrate: Congratulations! You’ve worked your butt off for months to plan an event and have executed it perfectly. Now take some time to relax and reflect, get a massage, take a long bubble bath, whatever you need to do in order to feel refreshed. Event planners need to keep themselves sane somehow!

Check out our Pinterest board for items that every event planner needs to tackle this job!

Set Goals for 2016, Not Resolutions

In the blink of an eye, 2015 is coming to an end and 2016 is ramping up. We are proud to say that 2015 was an AMAZING year for East of Ellie for many reasons. We expanded our team, stepped up our marketing game, earned some industry street cred, and of course – threw legendary events. But to really make 2016 a stellar year (and 2017 even better than that) is to put radars on professional & personal growth at EOE.

We don’t make resolutions around here, we make goals.

 

What is the difference between and resolution and a goal? Easy.

res·o·lu·tion /ˌrezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n /noun
a firm decision to do or not to do something.

goal / ɡōl /noun
the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Goals require you to check up on yourself and evaluate progress where as resolutions are a one and done type of thought, which to us, sounds like a recipe for failure.

An EOE tradition is to set goals for the upcoming year with meetings on the calendar every 3 months to review progress. Some goals will be achieved overtime with more work/life experience, and others will require getting out of comfort zones to make us better professionals and people (cue the deep breaths to suppress our anxieties).

If your workplace doesn’t work this way, or you are your own boss, that isn’t an excuse to avoid bettering yourself.  One of the most popular things to do in our culture at the end of every December is to set a resolution and say “In 2016 I will…” But that just isn’t enough.

Where to start:

  1. Create categories that are most important for your professional growth. Networking, Presentation Skills, Becoming a Subject Matter Expert, Management, Daily Tasks, Organization, etc. are only a few examples of buckets. Think of what applies to your job that will make you a better industry professional. Adding personal categories also helps you become more well-rounded in your goals.
  2. Set action items underneath each category to specify how you will contribute to each category. For example, clean up and organize your files to perfection once a week, make an effort to have lunch meetings strictly for networking once a month, take a class to help with public speaking in the slow season, etc. Keep in mind that these need to be tangible actions. Lose 10 pounds is not an action item, but going to the gym 3x per week is.
  3. Check up! This part is key. When all of the new year bliss rubs off at the end of February (maybe even before), schedule time for yourself to review all of your 2016 goals and what you are doing to accomplish them. Mark the calendar, and do this periodically throughout the year. Needing extra motivation? Set up these meetings with a supporter such as a spouse, mentor, or boss so you can’t just push it to the side.

What will your goals be for 2016? Comment one of them below as your first step to making a conscious choice to better yourself. Happy New Year!

5 Must Have Apps for Small Businesses

If you’re not taking advantage of the amazing free apps out there, it’s time to listen up! Times are a’changing, and companies are making sure our lives are easier and more productive than ever. These cross-functional, industry wide apps cut your email inboxes in half, promote sharing, and allow social media and document management to be quick and easy.

Check out our current must haves:
 

Slack
SlackIt’s completely safe to say we’re obsessed with the tool that allows our team to communicate with ease. In addition to standard instant messaging, Slack allows you to create separate chat channels for each project, so your messaging in each channel correlates to a specific topic. The appropriate team members can be added to their project channels and collaborate no matter where in the world they are. Our email inboxes started to make cricket sounds after we implemented this for everyday communication!

 

Google Drive
googledriveEast of Ellie lives on Google Drive. Whether we are drafting new blog content or creating a company wide status sheet, the sharing functionalities on this cloud-based app allows you to pick up where you left off on any device. With the suggestions feature, collaborating on a document, spreadsheet or presentation has never been simpler for us.
 

Dropbox
DropboxWithout Dropbox, sharing large documents and photos would be a lot more difficult. We primarily use it to share event photos with clients and transfer large files, but the opportunities for storing content and transferring files are endless for your small biz needs!
 

Hootsuite
hootsuiteiconNEWMany small businesses (including ours) don’t have an entire social media department, yet constantly marketing your small biz is ridiculously important. Hootsuite acts as our own department and managing weeks worth of content only requires a click of a button. With the ability to schedule posts in advance, you “set it and forget it” which saves time and stress.
 

Freshbooks
imgresFreshbooks is an inexpensive, but extremely valuable tool we use to manage everything accounting related. This tool is made for small businesses, and does everything from online invoicing, to expense management, to time tracking. Manually balancing your check book is so 2002.
 

Do you have any apps you can’t live without? Let us know in the comments!

An Intern’s Advice to the CEO

Everyone always hears about what an intern learns from the CEO (or any other manager in the company) but not many people discuss what the interns can actually teach the ones who have been in the biz for as long as they can remember.  

Sometimes, interns never get the chance to even sit in the same room as the CEO, let alone interact with them.  But for us and our fellow small businesses, it is very possible that interns interact and work with the CEO on a regular basis.

At East of Ellie, were all about learning through all stages in our careers, so we sat down with our interns and discussed their perspectives on the industry, and what they thought would be useful for Emily, our very own CEO, to look through the lens from their point of view.

Collaborate More

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Collaboration is key in a creative industry, especially when you have fresh talent (like interns) who don’t have much corporate experience, if any. Always make time to sit down and collaborate with your team on a regular basis because its is a win-win situation.  Whether it be brainstorming or status updates, including the whole team can help your small business come up with more ideas, generate better content, and grow your reach. The more perspectives, the more opportunities there are to learn for everyone- not just the interns.

 

Enthusiasm is Contagious

Enthusiastic blonde woman wearing big glasses.One of the most important aspects to any job is being happy where you are, and company culture is a huge contributor.  One of the best parts of East of Ellie is the people who make up the company- they are enthusiastic, happy, and excited about their job.  Those emotions are easily noticeable and definitely contagious in the office.  

Enthusiasm is one of the most important things to instill in your employees.  If you aren’t excited about your job, how are you going to inspire your employees to be? Lead by example; always stay enthusiastic and positive even when times get tough because it means so much to the people around you.

Embrace the Walk Through

Interns always hear it is important to ask questions throughout the job, but that isn’t rocket science if you are trying to learn.  

questionsMany internships require their interns to be on the phone with other businesses and clients, and some may not know how to efficiently handle those calls.  Although it may seem excessive, managers should walk interns through how to properly handle calls in order to get the information they are seeking as quickly as possible. Help us help you! We appreciate the real life opportunities instead of just running errands, but please keep in mind, we have not been doing this for years.

Another tip is for managers/CEOs is to recommend questions for the interns to ask in similar situations that they have found effective in previous situations.

Overall, learning is a two way street.  Interns learn from higher ups in the company, and most higher ups can learn something from the interns. It can be valuable to listen to interns feedback, because their suggestions may help your company get stronger and your brand develop.

 

Thanks to sopinit.com, Artful Thinkers, and chrissurratt.com for the photos.

5 Reasons Every Small Business Needs a Cause Marketing Strategy

Exposure. It describes what all small businesses, want, need, and should always be on the hunt to achieve. Depending on your industry, there are various strategies available to expose your brand to the public and prospective consumers.

Typically, small businesses turn to paid advertising and social media marketing to reach audiences, but there is another effective, and often overlooked, method to gain exposure and new customers — cause marketing.

Cause marketing is simply a mutually beneficial marketing partnership between a non-profit and a for-profit business. A successful cause marketing partnership works together to meet the objectives of a specific campaign that is typically awareness and metrics based. Typical partnerships include a donation of money or resources to help benefit the cause the non-profit advocates.

Since most small businesses are limited on funds they can donate to non-profits, there are easy ways to incorporate your product or services into donations. For example, including a percentage of proceeds from sales as a donation to a non-profit organization can increase your sales, drive awareness, and inform consumers that your core values are rooted in the betterment of society.

Here are five reasons cause marketing campaigns can improve the sales and reputation of your small business:

  1. Build Customer Loyalty

A 2012 Edelman Good Purpose study found that, “The power of purpose is driving consumer preference and loyalty in a world where trust in corporations is low and differentiation between brands is negligible.” Cause marketing can also supply you with an edge that consumers will prefer when choosing between you and a similar company that is not involved with non-profits. The survey also indicates that 53% of consumers believe “When quality and price are equal, social purpose ranks as most important factor in selecting a brand (Global).”

  1. Connect with Generation Y Consumers

An online study conducted by Cone Inc. and AMP Insights suggests “61% of 13 to 25 year-old’s feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. 81% have volunteered in the past year; 69% consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop, and 83% will trust a company more if it is socially [or] environmentally responsible.” The study also indicates that millennial’s are “the most socially conscious consumers to date.” So if your target market is Generation Y, developing a cause marketing campaign is absolutely essential to your company’s success.

  1. Create Emotional Connections with Consumers

It’s likely that consumers will want to know more about your partnership with a non-profit organization and why you have established one. This gives you a new reason to interact with consumers on a personal level. Building a relationship is essential to keep consumers coming back.

  1. Expand Reach by Partnering with Non-profits

Non-profits are more likely to market your product or service on their behalf. Since you are helping another organization, they will market your product and company in a very positive way as their appreciation. For example, the nonprofit organization Keep a Child Alive features all of its corporate sponsors in their “About Us” section. This gives anyone interested in the cause direct access to companies involved.

  1. Create Brand Advocates

Working with non-profits can create authentic brand advocates for your company. In addition to customer loyalty, your company’s advocates are more likely to spread your cause marketing efforts through word of mouth, which in turn creates reputable exposure for your business.

Keep in mind that all of these efforts mean nothing if they are not made known to your prospective and existing consumers. Make sure your cause marketing efforts are incorporated into your company’s overall marketing strategy for maximum effectiveness.

We specialize in events that showcase your companies cause marketing strategy and show consumers why you are among the best in your industry. Contact us today and let’s get planning.

5 Steps to Making 2015 your Most Goal Oriented Year Yet

As entrepreneurs we have to remain goal-oriented to stay afloat. There is no senior level management creating strategic plans for our companies and tracking results. Perhaps this reason alone was a huge push to become your own boss and create your own business strategy. It’s not to be forgotten that as entrepreneurs we have to fill every shoe from CEO to intern by ourselves, or with very little help. One of the hardest things about being a business owner is understanding and managing yourself on top of your other everyday tasks.  Without long term status reports written down, the overall growth you hope for within your company may fall to the back burner behind everyday tasks.

As of tomorrow, the year 2015 is a third of the way over. Yes, it’s shocking, we agree. It seems like yesterday we were just making our company goals to achieve in 2015. Instead of focusing on how one third of the year is over, we want to make the best of the two thirds that we do have.

See our 5 step process below on making the remainder of 2015 your most goal oriented year yet:

Review

Yep, go ahead and pull out that notebook that you jotted down your company goals for 2015 that has been collecting cob webs since January. We know, it can be scary to review your hopes and dreams when many of them may have not been achieved just yet. There is a reason these goals were created in the first place, review their importance and utilize your time accordingly.  Make sure you review these goals at least every six months to see how you are tracking against your plan.

 

Detours

Still have the same goals in place but not getting very far on reaching them? Try exploring a detour from your original path and you just may reach your accomplishment approaching it in different way. Bright orange arrows are only put out by construction crews on roadways, as entrepreneurs we have to create our own signs to guide us to our destination.

 

Shifting Focus

A lot may have changed in your company in just 4 short months. Maybe certain goals have taken priority over others, and that’s okay!  Reevaluate what is most important to accomplish in your company by the end of this year.  Ensure that the shift in focus includes smaller goals as well, as they still attribute to the big picture.

 

Set new goals

Adding even more to the “to-do” list can be overwhelming, but as driven entrepreneurs, we can handle it. When one goal is reached, a new one should be added to take its place. There is no reason to wait until 2016 rolls around to incorporate new objectives to your list. Don’t stress about the deadline, adding a new focus to your mental radar will keep your priorities in check throughout the year to ensure success when it comes time to close 2015 and strut confidently into 2016.

 

Acknowledge Success

In our experience, this is by far the most satisfying part of being an entrepreneur. Laying everything out and recognizing what you have accomplished is extremely rewarding. This is the type of fuel we thrive off of when it feels like nothing is going in our favor. While basking in all of your goal achieving glory, discover what worked, and what didn’t work to achieve this feeling more often.

 

Not reaching your goals within your organizations marketing strategy? Contact us today to see if an event fits into your strategy.

Inside Look at East of Ellie with Emily Chalk

Have you seen the new East of Ellie website? We want you, our readers, to know more behind the change and in turn more about EOE. Here’s an inside look from our Founder and Senior Managing Partner, Emily Chalk.

Why the name “East of Ellie”?

I actually get asked this question all the time.  When I first started dreaming up EOE back in mid 2009 I had this notebook where I had started to write down things that were important to me and have molded my life. I always say that if the reason why you do something means something to you, the outcome isn’t as important.  The EAST is for ‘East Coast.’  I grew up in New Hampshire (as I like to call the Shire) and whenever someone asks me where I am from, I never say Stamford, I always say New Hampshire.  Growing up there significantly shaped my life and along with great parenting made me the person I am today.  ELLIE is actually my name (Emily) and my oldest niece (Ella) names combined.  5 ye144ars later I still get called Ellie, but I secretly love it.  I always thought East of Ellie sounded like this magnificent place that everyone would want to visit.  EOE just came around on its own, obviously standing for East of Ellie.

Is there a reason for the color yellow, besides a favorite color?

The yellow is actually for my grandmother Idell who passed away many years ago. She was and still continues to be one of my favorite people of all time. Her favorite flower was yellow roses, and they have become mine too.  Full confession yellow is more than a favorite color; it’s a way of life in my world.

What’s EOE’s mission and how do you fulfill it?

If you look at EOE’Jeffery, Kim 006s strategic plan, the mission statement reads: “To throw ridiculously awesome events that make our clients love us, and us love them. Oh and to be ridiculously happy everyday – and sh*t.”  We fulfill our mission everyday by doing exactly that.  If you spend a day in our office you will know that happiness and sarcasm reign supreme.  I have two boards dedicated in my office to the silly things we say everyday. You can often here me say “ put it on the board”.  We’ve been fortunate enough to have some of the most amazing clients an agency could ask for.  And plan some pretty legendary events.  So we just keep on, keeping on.

Why events?

It’s a special kind of crazy.  Being an event planner is one of the most stressful jobs in the country – and I live for it.  It’s probably the same thrill people get from skydiving.  I spent almost 7 years in marketing for a global hotel chain, and nothing compared to the happiness and joy I get from planning events.

Why cause marketing?

There is a real need in the world for an agency that wants to help companies promote their marketing efforts by supporting a cause.  Events give you a reason to have a conversation with your consumer.  We love that we get to drive business results for an organization while helping out the greater good.  On our new website you will see the line “we are changing the world, one event at a time.”

Why the website re-launch?

_L3A5312 copy copyEOE is about to celebrate its 5-year anniversary.  As crazy as that sounds to me now saying it out loud, we needed to update our image to better align with the agency we’ve grown into.  EOE will always be yellow and grey, but we needed to freshen up our brand identity to better align with where we are now in 2014.  I call it an evolution opposed to a revolution, because at the end of the day we are the same EOE you would have met in 2009.  Except we’ve got a Prince, a VP of the United States, some pro football stars, and a few beauty queens under our belt.

 

What do you think about our new look? Check out our new site and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for everything events and cause marketing!

Tips to Survive the Unpredictable Hours of the Event Planner

Our team at EOE can be the first ones to tell you that working for event planning firm is not your typical 9-5 job. Cvent recently published that Event Planning is the 6th most stressful job in the country. We are constantly on the move for our clients whether we’re rounding up samples, venue hunting, or meetings. Come the day/night of the actual event, event planners can be on their feet for hours and hours. Don’t get us wrong, we absolutely love what we do.  We would rather be hustling around the city than sitting down all day every day – but success in this career field comes with being prepared.

Here are our tips on to survive the unpredictable hours of the event planner:

  1. Lots of Communication: With your client, with your team, and with your vendors. This will reduce the chance of any unwanted meeting surprises that you were unprepared for. When setting up a contract with your client, ensure that you are both on the same page as to how much you need each other to plan your event. Some clients may want a weekly meeting with you to ensure they are kept in the loop of all aspects of the event, while others need a simple email only when they are needed. Open communication is crucial for keeping your work hours manageable.
  2. Organization: Today’s technology gives you no excuse when it comes to organizing your schedule on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc. Set alerts for your meetings and write everything down in your calendars to ensure you don’t double book a meeting or completely forget about one.
  3. Take your (MB) Mental Break and then TURN OFF THE INTERNET:  This is one of the most important ones on our list.  At EOE we understand the importance of taking a mental break – a couple of games of Candy Crush, a few minutes on Facebook, whatever works for you.  Problem is, planners suffer from what we like to call shiny things syndrome.  Next thing you know your 10 minutes break turns into 30.  Don’t let precious work time get eaten up by procrastination.  During deadlines, every minute counts!
  4. Don’t Overbook: Event planners have a tendency to try to over-balance work and life.  During busy times this can lead to burn out.  As people pleasers it’s our first instinct to say yes, take on that extra task, grab a quick drink or try to hit those extra gym classes.  Do what you need to do to keep your body and mind healthy, but don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily.
  5. COFFEE! : Sometimes, you don’t have the option to stop working until the job is done. It’s not uncommon to find one of us at the office way before 9am or way after 5pm to ensure that our client is satisfied.  Multiple trips to Starbucks per day are a must for us!
  6. Ask for Help: Event planners have a ‘can do’ attitude which many times will be not only their biggest asset but their greatest downfall.  Delegate where you can.  Ask someone to walk your dog during a busy day of meetings, have your laundry dropped off instead of doing it yourself.  The more you delegate the more feasible things will feel.
  7. Celebrate: Congratulations! You’ve worked your butt off for months to plan an event and have executed it perfectly. Now take some time to relax and reflect, get a massage, take a long bubble bath, whatever you need to do in order to feel refreshed. Event planners need to keep themselves sane somehow!

What are your tips to surviving event planning? Let us know in the comments below!

Event Run Sheets, EOE Style

Every well-organized event should include a run sheet that outlines what should be happening during each minute of the event. Whether a speech should run from 9:01-9:23, or food should be put out from 7:35-7:46, every second should be accounted for in order to remain organized. In addition to the run sheets for an event, our social media guru Cindy keeps track of EOE’s very own run sheet during our event that took place this past weekend for Nestle Waters North America. This behind the scenes time line describes what happened at certain times during the event through the eyes of the event planning team.

  • 11:15 a.m. Emily and Danielle told Cindy and Mallory to drop out of school to help with all events this year (this is not the first time this has happened).
  • 11:16 a.m. The rain has stopped and the sun is out!
  • 11:47 a.m. Rain is back…..
  • 2:15 p.m. The sun appears to be out for good, hopefully it stays this way!
  • 2:40 p.m. The cocktail seating is being rearranged for the 4th+ time… have a feeling it’s not going to be the last.
  • 3:06 p.m. Looking at the radar the sun won’t be out much longer…
  • 5:00 p.m. Cindy declares event planning to be strawesome.. Stressful and awesome.
  • 6:40 p.m. Cindy and Mallory somehow survive shuttling guests from hotels to the venue (in their opinion one of the most stressful parts of the event).
  • 7:25 p.m. Servers are doing a great job rushing out 185 salads before guests enter the main tent!
  • 7:30 p.m. The client’s golden retrievers escaped briefly from their designated room but still remain in the house… Mallory being the dog whisperer she is quickly cleaned up the situation.
  • 7:58 p.m. Emily begins calling the troop of guests into the main tent.
  • 8:19 p.m. One of the dogs escaped from the house and ran into the main tent during a speech! Luckily the crowd enjoyed it and our client made a joke about it… Phew!
  • 9:16 p.m. We are a little behind due to emotional speeches for our client… As long as guests and clients are happy, we are too!
  • 9:32 p.m. We are all about ready to get out of these shoes and have full back massages. (Definitely considering booking celebratory team massages after our next event!)
  • 10:07 p.m. Danielle is crying at the speeches done by our client’s children. Who knew a 15 and 14 year old could be so confident as public speakers in a room of 185 high level employees?
  • 10:56 p.m. There are monster sized moths in the tent, luckily they are staying high on the ceiling.
  • 10:32 p.m. Danielle and Cindy just realized Stew Leonard, Jr. was here! Minor celebrity shock… He entered the cook tent to shake the chef’s hand and congratulate the staff on how well the food tasted. When the owner of the world’s largest dairy store compliments your food, you know you’re doing it right!
  • 10:45 p.m. We can hear how hard it’s raining outside as the drops strike the roof of the tent, good thing we put sides on the tent as a precaution for the rain or most guests would find themselves and their table soaked at this point.
  • 11:00 p.m. Wish it wasn’t pouring rain as the guests are leaving to their cars or to the hotel shuttles, but the valet staff is doing a great job by putting the guests needs first with umbrella coverage. Love being prepared in situations like this!
  • 12:30 a.m. Emily and Danielle were apparently kissed on the lips by an important stakeholder in the process of planning this event. I assume this means she was pleased to say the least.

Having your own event planning run sheet can be very helpful on the review of how successful your event was, bring back laughs, and evaluate what changes can be made for the next event. Our event was very successful and our clients were extremely pleased with how everything turned out, but we will definitely ensure no golden retrievers will be running into our next event!

5 Reasons Every Small Business Needs a Cause Marketing Strategy

Exposure. It describes what all small businesses, want, need, and should always be on the hunt to achieve. Depending on your industry, there are various strategies available to expose your brand to the public and prospective consumers.

Typically, small businesses turn to paid advertising and social media marketing to reach audiences, but there is another effective, and often overlooked, method to gain exposure and new customers — cause marketing.

Cause marketing is simply a mutually beneficial marketing partnership between a non-profit and a for-profit business. A successful cause marketing partnership works together to meet the objectives of a specific campaign that is typically awareness and metrics based. Typical partnerships include a donation of money or resources to help benefit the cause the non-profit advocates.

Since most small businesses are limited on funds they can donate to non-profits, there are easy ways to incorporate your product or services into donations. For example, including a percentage of proceeds from sales as a donation to a non-profit organization can increase your sales, drive awareness, and inform consumers that your core values are rooted in the betterment of society.

Here are five reasons cause marketing campaigns can improve the sales and reputation of your small business:

1. Build Customer Loyalty

A 2012 Edelman Good Purpose study found that, “The power of purpose is driving consumer preference and loyalty in a world where trust in corporations is low and differentiation between brands is negligible.” Cause marketing can also supply you with an edge that consumers will prefer when choosing between you and a similar company that is not involved with non-profits. The survey also indicates that 53% of consumers believe “When quality and price are equal, social purpose ranks as most important factor in selecting a brand (Global).”

2. Connect with Generation Y Consumers

An online study conducted by Cone Inc. and AMP Insights suggests “61% of 13 to 25 year-old’s feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. 81% have volunteered in the past year; 69% consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop, and 83% will trust a company more if it is socially [or] environmentally responsible.” The study also indicates that millennial’s are “the most socially conscious consumers to date.” So if your target market is Generation Y, developing a cause marketing campaign is absolutely essential to your company’s success.

3. Create Emotional Connections with Consumers

It’s likely that consumers will want to know more about your partnership with a non-profit organization and why you have established one. This gives you a new reason to interact with consumers on a personal level. Building a relationship is essential to keep consumers coming back.

4. Expand Reach by Partnering with Non-profits

Non-profits are more likely to market your product or service on their behalf. Since you are helping another organization, they will market your product and company in a very positive way as their appreciation. For example, the nonprofit organization Keep a Child Alive features all of its corporate sponsors in their “About Us” section. This gives anyone interested in the cause direct access to companies involved.

5. Create Brand Advocates

Working with non-profits can create authentic brand advocates for your company. In addition to customer loyalty, your company’s advocates are more likely to spread your cause marketing efforts through word of mouth, which in turn creates reputable exposure for your business.

Keep in mind that all of these efforts mean nothing if they are not made known to your prospective and existing consumers. Make sure your cause marketing efforts are incorporated into your company’s overall marketing strategy for maximum effectiveness

Check out our article featured on @YFSMagazine  To read more: http://yfsentrepreneur.com/2013/09/02/cause-marketing-strategy/#ixzz2fp9AVIsb

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