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Framing a new business mantra

Friday, 4 November 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
Sense Event GroupEntrepreneurs often speak about “getting off the hamster wheel” when they start a business, which can be difficult when the business is performing well and sales are steady.

 

But by failing to take a step back and assess the long-term plans for the company, you risk losing direction and slowing down.

 

For Anthony Halprin and Mark Bennedick, being hamsters on a wheel proved to be too much. Luckily, they were able to make some changes before their business suffered too much damage.

 

Halprin and Bennedick, both of whom came from production and technical backgrounds, are the founders of Sense Event Group, which began in 2007 and now consists of six staff.

 

Based in Sydney, Sense Event Group is an events agency, specialising in the management and production of live events including conferences, B2B events, product launches and award shows.

 

Sense Event Group has gained a reputation for delivering highly interactive experiences through the integration of social and digital media into their events.

 

It has developed an array of live events for companies including Sony, Nokia, Kimberley-Clark Australia, Specsavers and the McGrath Foundation.

 

“Our projections look like we’ll be hitting the $2 million mark this financial year, up 200% this time last year,” Halprin says.

 

But as Halprin points out, Sense Event Group wasn’t always as forward-thinking.

 

“Initially, it was just the two of us working on these events. It was really hard for us because some events take three to six months to organise,” he says.

 

“No time was spent on marketing the business because we were too busy working in the business rather than on the business. This is something we struggled with for the first two years.”

 

Halprin and Bennedick simply couldn’t afford to appoint a business development manager, and the business suffered as a result.

 

“We found that we’d have a busy six months and then it would dry up. For events, you need to build trust before someone spends money with you,” Halprin says.

 

“It was a big wakeup call… The business wouldn’t be sustainable unless we spent time working on it and building those relationships.”

 

This realisation prompted Halprin and Bennedick to re-launch their website, which involved setting aside time to revisit their business plan, redefine their image and hone their offering.

 

“After a two-week period, we came up with a new mantra – ‘rethinking events’. It’s all about the way people now experience events through social media and digital integration,” Halprin says.

 

“We’re now showing clients how to drive content for their event. Rather than see it as a one-off event, it’s about creating a longer… impact [via] social media and interesting ways around that.”

 

“We’re also encouraging all clients to film and video their events, with vox pops, micro sites and web castings… We’re getting people interested early, and after the event as well.”

 

Halprin says the re-launch couldn’t have come at a better time, describing the events industry as a flooded market, making it more important for companies to know their niche and stick to it.

 

“Beforehand, we were seen as an executional event company – we could make a room look and feel great. The production of it was always kind of seamless, but you expect that from an event company,” Halprin says.

 

“As part of our re-launch, we’re more than that. It’s about how a client’s business can benefit by incorporating some of these [digital media] technologies. It’s a changing, evolving industry.”