Unquestionably, ethics play a role in the business events industry, both in what we expect from our clients and the way in which we (the agency) conduct ourselves.
Our industry is an interesting one in that our creativity is the commodity we sell. We are not dealing with a physical product, and so it is difficult to “lay claim” to this commodity. It is therefore possible that we will find ourselves in a compromising situation with a potential client asking us to deliver a creative that we did not come up with in the first place. It is our responsibility (along with our peers) to stand firm and not deliver work that is not ours, acknowledging the “copyright” of ideas.
We must also strive to provide our vendors and partners with the same level of professionalism. Our business is all about partnerships; shopping around for vendors that are willing to undercut the one that did the initial planning work is not the way to go. Aside from this practice being unethical, it will not forge trusted relationships in the long run.
Finally, the approach of agencies, suppliers and clients with regard to corporate social responsibility also plays a key part in the ethical approach to events.
Our industry can sometimes be one of great waste; we therefore strive to develop a “green” approach that is tailored to each client and its priorities, goals, budgets, timelines, locations and suppliers. Sustainability is a business imperative and an aspiration that is driven by innovation, and will result in value and competitive advantage. Our actions, inspired by our own internal guidelines, begin by encouraging staff in their individual commitment (often supported by financial reward). Further educating both clients and suppliers of our sustainable approach will help to build commitment from the industry as a whole.
Tamsyn Barker is the general manager of Luminous Experiential Marketing Communications, Singapore