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Ideas Come to Life

Ideas Come to Life

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

December 12, 2018

Planning a live event takes vision, creativity, and talent.

"There’s little room for error. But it’s one of the main reasons why I love events."

Thomas Serrano, President at Havas Events North America, tells us what makes an event fun and engaging.

 

So how did you get your start?
I discovered my passion for events in high school while volunteering for a sporting event in my hometown of Cannes, France.

Why Havas?
When I decided to move to NYC in 2008, Havas was the perfect match. Both had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I was interested in creating a new event offer in North America.

When you’re talking with someone outside of the industry, how do you explain your job?
I say that I organize large corporate events. If I used the more popular phrase “event planner,” people might assume that I organize weddings.

How is the world of corporate events different from other industries?
Everything we design and produce ends up happening live in front of an audience. So there’s little room for error. But it’s one of the main reasons why I love events.  

What’s the best thing about working in corporate events—and the worst?
The best part of working in corporate events is seeing your ideas come to life. Events take months of preparation, so it is amazing when the magic finally happens! The worst thing is when an element outside of your control puts your entire event at risk, such as strikes, technical failures, bad weather, etc.

"It has to be meaningful for the brand and the audience, while also memorable and out of the ordinary, to be called an event."

What is the biggest trend in corporate events right now?
I would say the key recipe for success has not changed since I started 20 years ago. However, the digital era is transforming our industry. For example, the common use of apps is for attendees to utilize pre, during, and post event. In addition, social media is now part of every event, allowing guests to interact, and at the same time helping us promote the event.

What do you predict will be the biggest trend in, say, five years?
Innovation and new technologies will allow more special effects such as large holograms or giant high-resolution flexible screens. However, making an event a good story for guests will always be the key to success, and technology will just enhance the narrative.

How important are events in a promotional mix?
I think as the digital era grows, events are becoming more of a necessity for people to network, bring people together, and interact with one another. I think this human connection is not going away anytime soon.

What makes an event fun and engaging?
I love to say that a successful event has two key components—it has to be meaningful for the brand and the audience, while also memorable and out of the ordinary, to be called an event. A special event cannot be only about good people, good food, and a good venue, as that is not good enough anymore to make an impact.

Which traits make a good leader?
A clear vision of the future with the ability to guide and engage his or her group toward success.

What gets you motivated?
It is the mix of my team, my clients, and my family.

How do you motivate others?
I hope that I inspire others by giving them the opportunity to learn and shine!

Tell us what you wish you had known when you were 25 years old.
I wish I had known that gaining new business is a very complex science. I wish business development had been offered in business school, and that I could have taken a class like this to develop this strength earlier in my career.

"There’s little room for error. But it’s one of the main reasons why I love events."

Thomas Serrano, President at Havas Events North America, tells us what makes an event fun and engaging.

 

So how did you get your start?
I discovered my passion for events in high school while volunteering for a sporting event in my hometown of Cannes, France.

Why Havas?
When I decided to move to NYC in 2008, Havas was the perfect match. Both had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I was interested in creating a new event offer in North America.

When you’re talking with someone outside of the industry, how do you explain your job?
I say that I organize large corporate events. If I used the more popular phrase “event planner,” people might assume that I organize weddings.

How is the world of corporate events different from other industries?
Everything we design and produce ends up happening live in front of an audience. So there’s little room for error. But it’s one of the main reasons why I love events.  

What’s the best thing about working in corporate events—and the worst?
The best part of working in corporate events is seeing your ideas come to life. Events take months of preparation, so it is amazing when the magic finally happens! The worst thing is when an element outside of your control puts your entire event at risk, such as strikes, technical failures, bad weather, etc.

"It has to be meaningful for the brand and the audience, while also memorable and out of the ordinary, to be called an event."

What is the biggest trend in corporate events right now?
I would say the key recipe for success has not changed since I started 20 years ago. However, the digital era is transforming our industry. For example, the common use of apps is for attendees to utilize pre, during, and post event. In addition, social media is now part of every event, allowing guests to interact, and at the same time helping us promote the event.

What do you predict will be the biggest trend in, say, five years?
Innovation and new technologies will allow more special effects such as large holograms or giant high-resolution flexible screens. However, making an event a good story for guests will always be the key to success, and technology will just enhance the narrative.

How important are events in a promotional mix?
I think as the digital era grows, events are becoming more of a necessity for people to network, bring people together, and interact with one another. I think this human connection is not going away anytime soon.

What makes an event fun and engaging?
I love to say that a successful event has two key components—it has to be meaningful for the brand and the audience, while also memorable and out of the ordinary, to be called an event. A special event cannot be only about good people, good food, and a good venue, as that is not good enough anymore to make an impact.

Which traits make a good leader?
A clear vision of the future with the ability to guide and engage his or her group toward success.

What gets you motivated?
It is the mix of my team, my clients, and my family.

How do you motivate others?
I hope that I inspire others by giving them the opportunity to learn and shine!

Tell us what you wish you had known when you were 25 years old.
I wish I had known that gaining new business is a very complex science. I wish business development had been offered in business school, and that I could have taken a class like this to develop this strength earlier in my career.

Natasha Smith is the strategic communications manager for Havas Group. She happily represents 404 in the 212.

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