CHAT WITH AGENCY RED VELVET
CHAT WITH AGENCY RED VELVET
RED VELVET a event agency based in Austin, Texas and focused on corporate events, meetings and they work as a DMC (Destination Management Company) for Austin. Most business is based on b2b industries as tech, automotive (because of Formula 1 in Austin), medical, insurance and retail. We met the founder and CEO Cindy Y. Lo in her office for an inspiring encounter.
What kind of trends do you see in the live communication business?
Cindy: Here is the one thing that will never change – events are about the people. You still have to create that experience in person. Even if we are all on our phones, taking photos and being online – you still need to think about how does the person receive the event. How do they feel when they walked in? Did it smell pleasant? Is the lighting just right? Is the food easy accessible? Those things aren’t going to change. But I do think because we’re in a social media world you have to come up with something to keep them there and engaged and makes them feel special. We need to be doing the events for the audience that really has been invited. The best compliment I always have is if they remembered something and they still tell their friends. That’s our challenge but at the same time social media helps a lot. Because you get inspired everywhere. The world becomes a much smaller place. And even b2b needs social media more then ever. Because here is the thing – the next set of people that are potential members at events are on social media. So they need to connect with them. Social media is free but you have to use it smartly. You have to engage, you have to be more human. You can’t be a robot – nobody will respond to that.
And people asked me if events are going away? No! Trust me – people want events, people want to be engaged, people want to connect. That’s going to be always there. But we need to turn off the outside noise. So that people can enjoy the event. Just for even an hour – be here, right now.
So what inspires you in your work?
Cindy: There are several things. One is what we started in our office. Every Monday we do improvisation. We come up with something which has nothing to do with any specific project or work issue. We have usually 10 minutes and we going to do it. Just for fun. The goal is – how hard can we laugh. There is no shaming, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. The idea is we need to think creatively. Especially producer have the pressure that there has to be the best idea. But we are trying to remind our team to throw up every idea because eventually one does stick. So there is no no – throw it all out and we try to figure it out.
Second is, I love to look at different things. Like I follow a bunch of people on instagram and I ask myself, do they post this because they have nothing else to post or are they a one-trick pony or is this a trend and I need to capitalize on it. So I ask myself multiple things to kind of put myself in that mind set to figure it out.
The other is shopping. I love going to high end stores and see the displays. Because usually they have a limited budget and they find so great visuals to associate.
And of course travelling, TV and everything you can see. That’s what I mean to take someone’s idea and spinning it and make it your own. Let’s be honest things have been copied year after year. And I even tell my clients I saw this here or there. All good ideas come from each other.
How do you motivate yourself and your team and handle the pressure in this business?
Cindy: I am not sure if I perfected it but I try to say thank you as much as I can. I try to remind them that I really appreciate what they are doing. But it is hard for them to feel it when they just see the deadline. We also have a system called youearnedit.com and this company provides a point system and if you have enough points you can buy gift cards. So every team member has a budget and they can present whatever amount to each other. It’s a great one for team members to say thank you to each other.
The other thing is we have a doll as a kind of trophy. Every Monday in our team meeting the past person that received it gives it to another person just to shout out to them what great they did. And everybody adds something to it like a tattoo or dress.
Also I am really trying to make sure that people can lean on each other as a team. We do have very distinct departments now that we are larger. There is no one person can do it all – you have to lean on a team. I try to encourage that.
Beke Fahrenbach, Cindy Y. Lo, Rönke von der Heide
We love the story of RED VELVET
Years ago Cindy started to apply for jobs but everybody asked for work experiences. But she was just at the beginning of her career and nobody hired her. Even if she asked to work for free to show her talent. That’s why she started her own business with the idea to do it for one year as a showcase and then apply again for jobs. But after one year she loved what she were doing so she kept going on. So kind of accidentally she started this agency when all her other friends did their masters degree and now she runs a very strategic and successful business. With up and downs, like almost every business, it grew in a way of necessity to a creative event office with 19 experts. We’re happy to met her and see how passionate and professional she is working in the event business now for more then 13 years.
Thank you, Cindy!
PHOTO BY INSPIRED EXPERIENCE