The Fourth D in Preston stands for DELIVER

This blog is part 5 in a series. If you missed any of the other installments, please click here to read them from the beginning.

Our last blog post, DEVELOP, brought us to the point of being ready to leave for the venue and the experience we have been working toward. Now that you have made it through the flight delays and the misrouted luggage, you are at the venue. Relax! It’s time for Preston to DELIVER.

This is the last of our 4 D’s. DELIVER is more than sending you a finished video file or setting up a screen and making sure the mic is on. We deliver the goods, the experience, the message. Throughout the Preston Process, DISCOVER, DESIGN, DEVELOP, and now DELIVER, we have been working together to define, refine, and align all the pieces that go into your unique production. Now we will put them all in play.

While our tech crew is creating the environment and doing all the things that even we think is magic, our production people are still by your side. They are putting the finishing touches on the scripts, fixing the last minute changes from your CEO, and getting set to prepare you and your presenters for the big show! Blocking, rehearsals will all be part of the hours leading up to opening the doors to the ballroom.

This is it! The final D! And since we have been working together through the other Ds in the Preston process, we know that things will go smoothly. Even if there should be a bump in the road, a no show presenter or a political shakeup, all that we have learned in DISCOVERY, DESIGN, and DEVELOP, has given all of us a working knowledge of your event. This enables us to easily swerve and guarantee that your message, and your event, are DELIVERED crisp and clean to the audience.

So when the lights go down, the presenters come out, and the videos roll, you will feel confident that everything will be a success. Because of the thoughtful planning of the four Ds, the show will DELIVER a flawless experience to the audience. They will be engaged, attentive, and receive your message. After all, that was the whole assignment in the first place!

Please be sure to follow Preston Productions here and on LinkedIn. If you do not follow Preston Productions on LinkedIn, click here and make sure that you connected to us. Please join in!

The Third D in Preston stands for DEVELOP

This blog is part 4 in a series. If you missed any of the other installments, please click here to read them from the beginning.

 

In our last installment, DESIGN, we talked about the strategic planning for your event or meeting. Now in the next phase, DEVELOP, we roll up our sleeves and start getting our hands dirty.  To this point, Preston Productions has been working with you and your team to create a road map to and for your event. The DEVELOP step is when we create, produce, and coordinate everything that will go into the actual meeting itself.

It is time to get your cast prepared, but don’t worry, we’re here to help. Now is the time to work on talking points, script, PowerPoint, and videos that will support your presenters. Preston can help with script writing, speaker training, and of course, all the media for your event. The DISCOVER and DESIGN steps that we took earlier, laid the foundation for all the work ahead. Themes, graphics, and messaging will all be unified and flow in the same direction. Getting your executives and other presenters aligned in their messaging has already been done, taking out one of the more painful processes in getting ready for your event.

DEVELOP is also the part of the process where we nail down the logistics for your event. Wayne Jackson, our Director of Production says, “Having all the preparation of the first 2 D’s (DISCOVER and DESIGN) makes the DEVELOP stage so much smoother.” And it will be.

Hannah Fullam, our Director of Media says, “The DEVELOP phase is where we setup the pieces that will make up the event. The creative development is so exciting because we finally have something that everyone will see.”

Rick Preston, CEO, says, “I treat every production like a show.” And the key to a good show is rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. As we get closer to the date of your meeting or event, Preston will make sure that your presenters are comfortable with all their speeches and media. Before they get on stage or step out in front of a camera, they should all be familiar with their parts and be ready to “perform”. When they get to the venue, they are ready to get familiar with the blocking and lights. Their presentations are already second nature.

When the DEVELOP exercise is complete, you, your presenter, and your audience are all ready to communicate. The messages are clear. The media is focused and ready. The cast is waiting in the wings! Our next D will show you how we set the stage for your production, raise the curtain, and make the actual event a success. So go ahead, get on the plane. The conversation will continue when we get to the venue!

Please be sure to follow Preston Productions here and on LinkedIn. If you do not follow Preston Productions on LinkedIn, click here and make sure that you connected to us. Please join in!

The Second D in Preston stands for DESIGN

This blog is part 3 in a series. If you missed part 1, please click here to read that entry, or here to read part 2.

In part 2, we described how Preston Productions helps you DISCOVER the true focus and goals you need to communicate in your meeting, event, video, or webcast. The next step is the DESIGN phase of our 4D process. This is when Preston and your organization really start to put the production wheels in motion. When we say DESIGN, we are not talking about colors or logos or themes. In this phase, we are going to DESIGN the journey and the experience on which we are going to take your audience.

Woman sketching a business plan at a creative office

Woman sketching a business plan at a creative officeWhere DISCOVERY asked “why”, DESIGN asks “how”. How is the meeting going to flow? How are the stakeholders going to participate? How will we engage the audience? How will it all get done? In other words, how will this meeting be a success?

The first step is to build your meeting agenda. Not to be confused with your day-to-day schedule; this agenda is really the flow of sessions, events, and other activities that will all support the themes and messages that need to be received by the audience. To get started, we will form a small team that will be the creators and managers of this meeting. This team will be made up of a producer and writer from Preston and a small group of stakeholders from your company. Together we will design the structure of the event and plot the strategy for getting the right players in the right place with the right message. We have learned that this small group of collaborators is the most efficient way to get your ideas to the stage.

At Preston Productions, we think of your meeting or event as a show. We pay attention to the tone and tenor of each presentation and work with you to position them, ensuring that the pace and impact of the meeting are in sync with your schedule. When all the elements are strung together with care, the audience’s reception can be phenomenal! From “curtain rise” to “curtain call”, everyone is engaged and receiving the messages set forth by you and the team.. Without that, you’ve wasted a lot of money and a lot of people’s time.

By taking time to DESIGN the meeting itself, we are able to gain more efficiency in the production and create a greater impact on the audience. Our next D will show you how we start building the appropriate pieces that will raise your event to a solid, towering success! The conversation will definitely continue!

Please be sure to follow Preston Productions here and on LinkedIn. If you do not follow Preston Productions on LinkedIn, click here and make sure that you connected to us. Please join in!

The first D in Preston stands for DISCOVERY

This blog is part 2 in a series. If you missed part 1, please click here to read that entry.

In part 1 of our blog series, we discussed how all of your communications processes have changed. Preston Productions can help you communicate with your people and customers in ways you may have never thought. Our process for doing that is something we call “The Four D’s.” This method is our prescriptive technique to make sure that you are using the right techniques to communicate your message in a way that is not only effective but efficient.

Solution Concept with Magnifying Glass on Chalkboard Background

The first D is DISCOVERY; this is the primary step in helping focus your objectives and making sure your goals are achieved. It will also help decide what is the correct vehicle to reach your goals while getting the most value for your communications dollar. While your need for an event such as a sales meeting or leadership forum may be clear, it is also important to define your purpose for this meeting and make sure that your audience is motivated, aligned, and engaged to receive your communications.

The DISCOVERY process is all about creating the right message. We have learned how to ask the right questions and listen to your goals. DISCOVERY will show you how to set up an important feedback loop. This loop will involve feedback between you and your people, and equally important, your people and your audience. This two-way communication an essential, to make sure that your goal has a solid purpose and that the message you are imparting continues to resonate with your audience after the event.

Our DISCOVERY process will begin to create the backbone of your event. It will identify the messages that need to be received by your audience and who from your team should deliver those messages. It will set you on a path to build an event that will engage and incentivize your audience.

Thorough DISCOVERY at the start will make for an efficient production process right through the event itself. Not only will it add quality to your messaging, but set the foundation for the remaining 3D’s in our process. As a result, your whole event will be more cost-effective and more audience effective!

Our next D will show you how we begin to form an event or communication that will have a predictable and measurable outcome, all the while delivering efficiency and value to your message. The conversation continues.

Please be sure to follow Preston Productions here and on LinkedIn. If you do not follow Preston Productions on LinkedIn, click here and make sure that you connected to us. Please join in!

You can’t spell PRESTON without 4 D’s

Business problems and support
Like it or not, your company’s sales process has changed. Today, sales are not just generating revenue, but are part of your organization’s overall productivity. Everyone in your company is involved in the sale. The products are more complex. The customers are more demanding. And everyone has to be a fully aware member of the sales team. Yes, your sales process, in fact, all of your processes, have changed but has the way you communicate to your people changed?

The customer has changed too. Today, customers are able to learn more about you and your products or services by viewing your webpage, reading white papers, or any number of data points that are easily accessed online. The customer may be a purchasing agent, an engineer, an administrative assistant, or just about anyone at the client company. Yes, the customer has changed, but has the way you communicate with them changed too?

Now, more than ever, it is important to communicate with your people to keep them motivated, engaged, and aware of their part in the company’s sales process. Simply saying “help out!” is not going to cut it. Face-to-face communications are the most powerful tools a leader has to get everyone on board and participating in a meaningful way.

How will you know if everyone on your team is all on the same page? Over the next few months, we will share with you a series of articles about our formula to help leaders organize their ideas, focus their message, and communicate with all the people who are part of the new processes. We call it “The Four D’s” and we will roll it out over the next several weeks here on our website. We hope by sharing these ideas we will start a conversation.

Please be sure to follow Preston Productions here and on LinkedIn. If you do not follow Preston Productions on LinkedIn, click here and make sure that you connected to Preston Productions. Please join in!

It’s the 21st Century: Have You Seen Your Customer Lately?

Customer engagement is a hot topic.   As companies dive into social media and online strategies, buyers have more opportunity to research and discover information about your company – and about your competitors as well. Customers are smarter, more informed and more focused on their own needs and solutions than ever before. For salespeople this is a big change, and an opportunity as well.

So, if engagement is happening online, where do live customer events fit in a virtual world? What is changing and where are the opportunities for your salespeople to build relationships with the customer….face to face?

I spoke with Roy Sanford, a veteran CMO and Sales leader, about how things have changed and how events need to shift the approach.

 

 


 

An Update on the Carter Center Weekend

What would you bid for a hand-built cabinet made by President Jimmy Carter? The question comes up for those who attend the annual Carter Center Weekend retreat. And it sometimes comes up more than once, as auction winners are known to immediately turn around and re-donate their prize to raise additional funds for the organization. This year’s audience contributed a record $1.5 million to encourage heath, peace and democracy.

IMG_9306aThe 2014 Carter Center Weekend at the Cascade Resort in Vail, CO., attracted the largest turnout in the event’s history. With Wayne Jackson on hand to direct production staff, all preparation and logistics involved went smoothly, despite the need to shift into larger spaces to accommodate audiences. “Every year, more content and programs are being offered,” said Jackson, “and despite the beautiful mountain activities and amenities available, attendees filled rooms to hear about issues and solutions.

Wayne’s relationship with The Carter Center goes back more than ten years, beginning with a chance overlap at a venue hosting the BMI event he was managing. Jay Beck, the Center’s senior event consultant recalls: “I soon realized that Wayne is someone who can handle both high-profile dignitaries and hotel employees with respect and efficiency. We’ve built a relationship that minimizes the headaches involved in event production and makes it easier for me to focus on developing quality programs.”

The Carter Center Weekend helps cement long-term relationships with committed donors, whose gifts keep on giving. Preston is proud to provide the skilled professionals who help make it happen.

WAIT! Don’t pack that!

Sorting, packing, moving, stacking.   That’s enough to start the year, right?  Not for Preston Productions! In the midst of our exciting move to our new space, we have been fortunate enough to work on some really exciting shows for a couple of innovative clients.

In January, our team traveled to Las Vegas, NV to work on Rocket Software’s 2014 World Wide SaRocket SKO Screenles Kick Off event.  This kickoff brought together a sales team from all over the globe to connect on a person-to-person level, while focusing their efforts on the year ahead of them.

Using a screen that was 10 feet high and 30 feet wide, we were able to re-create the whiteboard that Rocket’s CEO uses to plot the direction of his company, and bring his team through his thought process on where they stand currently and where they are heading as a unit.

That wide screen then found its way to Reston, VA to help illustrate Harsco Corporation’s rich history and heritage and to be a backdrop during an exciting transition for the company.  Bringing together three very distinct business units can be challenging, but with a mini-trade show, demonstrations and executive team reports, there was a real sense of cohesiveness amongst the group.

Harsco GLM ScreenWhile our clients play in very different industry arenas and face their own unique communication challenges, the Preston team brings tried and true methods to each, using a combination of media, environment and performance to help leaders communicate effectively and build a following within their company.

Getting a Move On

As comfortable as we had been on St. Martin Drive, last year it was becoming clear that our clients’ growing needs called for an expanded facility. In a new building we could offer capabilities to help customers take advantage of rapid changes taking place in communications technology and practices.  And so we made the decision to pack up and move.

The people at Preston are accustomed to embracing change, and we’d be in trouble if they didn’t. Tremendous advances are taking place with communications platforms and technologies, and the pace of innovation seems to only increase.  They dove into the relocation project, and found opportunities to take our operations to a new level.

At 128 Bartlett Street, we now have better capabilities for our customers: a larger video studio space, with fiber optics to support worldwide webcasting; an improved rehearsal space for presentation services; a shop with more room and higher ceilings to stage shows before sending them on the road; and additional office space to accommodate our growing, talented staff.

All of this will serve, in turn, to help our clients address challenges they are facing. Live connections and real-time interactions are becoming more and more essential in reaching out to employees, shareholders, customers and communities as they navigate change in their businesses. Leaders who can inform and inspire in this environment will excel. Our most forward-looking clients pushed us to stay ahead the curve, and I’m grateful for that.

Preston Productions Shakespeare reminds us that “All the world’s a stage”. Today’s complex and diverse “World Stage” requires a vast array of new tools and techniques. While many companies have struggled to perform over the past five years, those that adapted are expecting a new period of growth and optimism. Our move positioned us to help strong players thrive in a world of new stages, new stories, and constant changes.

 

Preston Productions is now located at 128 Bartlett Street, Marlborough, MA 01752

Being There

While communication technology changes with the times, the times cannot alter the fact that nothing replaces actually “being there.” What has changed is the art of being there.

We have been hearing for years about how Hollywood has been gearing up for 3D out of necessity to keep the movie-going experience relevant. The success of the film Avatar is heavily dependent upon its 3D immersive experience,  though for many 3D may still seem gimmicky.

Avatar succeeds by not only telling you a story about another world, but also putting you in that world.  This heightened sense of immersion allows you to feel the experience as if you were a character, adding a deeper element to the storyline.

Immersion: humans clamor for it.   Tweets, and views and clicks  contribute part of the story, but we want more. We no longer want to observe the show, we want to be in the show.