Show me the budget!

As the head of the creative team, I am often challenged by our account-servicing colleagues to prepare the most creative winning proposal for our clients. I love the fresh excitement in developing innovative approaches and creating new experiences for different events and exhibitions. Yet, before my design thinking journey begins, I always require a clear objective of what we want to achieve. That’s the first key question I think all creatives should demand.

Once the objective is clear, that leads me to the next equally important question: what is our budget? It might sound like the most non-creative question. No, because it does matter. I often share my apple story to my sales and creative teams. The story goes like this – a guy hops into a grocery store to buy the tastiest apple to share with his family. The vendor tries to help him make a choice, as there is a wide selection of apples from all over the world. First he is asked about the kind of apple he prefers to bring home. Does he want crunchiness, sweetness or sourness? The next question is whether he has any idea about the price? This analogy applies to events.  

As an event management company, Milton’s main goal is to create an experience that helps reach the objectives of our clients. The objectives could be to communicate the company’s culture to employees through a large engagement event such as the “Paint the Town Red” dinner and dance event we did for DBS Bank or to advocate Community Bonding to the public as in some of the events and roadshows we completed for Singapore’s Housing Development Board. There are millions of reasons and tons of things we could do to meet these objectives but it is important to know how our wild thoughts could be realised by working within the budget, and how this influences the materials, props, audio-visual and much more that we use for the event.    

It does sound a bit discouraging to mention the evil numbers when discussing creativity. However, this is a fact of life if you’re an event manager. So, be kind and don’t give them a rough ride next time you are asked the same question. 

Krystal Liau is creative director of Milton Singapore

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