LA-based Sequoia Productions’ Cheryl Cecchetto says events make sense.
And she should know, after 25 years of organising some of the highest
profile Hollywood black tie galas.
By BRAD FOSTER
Cheryl Cecchetto was the big international drawcard at the Australian Business Events Expo and Sydney’s Events Showcase seminar series in August, with her session attracting a sell-out crowd.
She spoke of her 25 years organising The Oscars® Governors Ball, her creation of the Emmys® Governors Ball for the past 15, and her decade-long role as event producer of the annual G’Day USA Black Tie Gala which is funded by Tourism Australia, Austrade, Qantas and the Australian Government to promote Australian business and expertise in the United States.
She remains driven to better the 20-odd events she works on annually, finding inspiration and ideas from everything and everywhere she is.
“Outdoing what we’ve done in the past is certainly a driving factor for me,” she says.
Ms Cecchetto believes that when you combine what’s happening in the outside world with a seamless event, they are the most powerful forms of communications available to any marketer.
“They allow the guest to experience the situation. In other mediums you can see it or read it or watch it. In our medium you can utilise all five senses – you see it, you taste it, you hear it, you touch it, and you smell it. You’re actually walking through – physically – THE message.”
That messaging must start from the moment the announcement of the event is communicated to guests.
“Whether that’s with an invitation or a `save the date’ notice, it’s really important that the invitation works with the messaging you’re trying to achieve at the event. Equally important is that the invitation is dropped at the right time, communicated at the right time.
“The event ends months after the event has actually been held where the messages from the event hopefully remain in the memories of your guests.”
Price vs. Professionalism
Ms Cecchetto’s Sequoia Productions organises around 20 events annually, with 15 full-time and five part-time staff, and up to 1000 staff on-site during an event.
She argues against the tendering process for events, and event planners dropping their price to secure a piece of business.
“If it’s a first-time event then I appreciate that there may be a bid [tender] process. However, if I had done an event for a client and in the second year they said they were going to go out to bid this time I’d say absolutely not.
“I would say was everything fantastic? If everything was fantastic then let’s move on. It becomes very expensive when a production company has to go out to bid and we will not do it.”