Questions for Storytellers Series... Caroline Moran.
Meet Caroline Moran, board director for events and communications agency Clear.
What kind of storyteller are you? Live events and creative Communication
Best part of my job? Bringing ideas to life to a live audience. I get such a great feeling from seeing an event built from scratch, delivered successfully and witnessing a room full of people engaged. Working in live events is a brilliant industry to work in. As event producers we get to enable engaging and memorable moments, and that for me is really special. When you get to work on a project from concept to delivery, and see the delight on a persons’ face as they enter the room and say ‘wow’… it really does make you realise what a privilege it is to work in this sector.
Tell us about a project you have worked on that you are proud of…
I had been at Clear about three years when I won the first ever North West Regional Construction Awards. It was the first time the client had ever held an awards ceremony and we were brought in to help them plan, coordinate and tell their story. I led on a project and it was my first time leading on an event of this scale and status. Watching it all come together flawlessly on the night was amazing and made me realise that creating and producing live events was 100% the right career choice for me.
A little secret about being an Event Producer? It is not all glamorous. People think it is and believe that we spend our days meeting celebrities, carrying clipboards and wearing headsets. Yes, this is all part of it which is exciting but it also very hard work. Long days, early starts, late nights. Loading and unloading vans. Getting your hands dirty as and where needed. All levels of hierarchy go out of the window on site as everyone must focus on running an exceptional event. Weirdly, I love all that side of it too.
I suppose the second secret is having a great team and ensure there are some big laughs along the way. Some of my funniest memories of working in events are from 4am de-rigs and loading vans at 5am in the morning.
Biggest stereotype you hate about your role? The assumption that we are always super organised and should therefore plan every party, holiday, hen do, baby shower…
In work I am really organised, list after list, clipboard, timing plans… you name it, I have it.
Outside of work I am the complete opposite. I am generally late for everything, I make last minute plans and generally wing it most of the time. My Dad actually said I was the only person he knew who was late for a family lunch at their own house (true story!)
What’s the biggest change your industry faces in the next year?
I think the Covid-19 crisis has hit the events industry hard and as such there will be changes. We were hit hardest and fastest than any other sector. Early March we spent a week just taking cancellation after cancellation. It was heart breaking and extremely difficult knowing our whole sector was hurting. Everyone we spoke to was in the same boat and in a complete state of shock.
In hindsight, I actually think this helped the whole sector to accept the situation, start to collaborate and focus on the future quicker than everyone else. It will take time to fully bounce back. People will be wary of booking events too early and may even start to look at smaller gatherings for the whole of 2020 as a precaution. This will have an effect on everyone – good and bad - but we have to remain positive, innovative and flexible.
Key things to look out for post Covid-19 for events?
1. Agencies, freelancers and venues will start to re-think their terms and conditions and protect themselves more. A lot of what we do is done on trust and relationships, but people may feel they have been quite vulnerable, and they will learn from this.
2. Unfortunately, not everyone will navigate through to the other side, companies will disappear, and jobs will be lost. This is horribly sad but is the reality of the situation. However, it will mean great people will be on the market when the sector looking for new talent.
3. Live streaming has been around for a long time but is not as widely used day to day as people might think. In the wake of Covid19 I think it will start to be factored in as a key part of all big events – even if just as a back-up precaution. People will be more used to digesting information in different and non-traditional ways which will make us all think differently about events.
News outlet or publication of choice and why? I watch BBC breakfast and then catch BBC News either when I get home from work or at 10.00pm. Online I look for news content I feel will be reliable, local papers like the M.E.N and the broadsheets.
What’s your content guilty pleasure? I am a Twitter addict, it is my favourite of all the social media platforms, although I now like LinkedIn more than ever before.
Favourite news or social media story in the last 12 months? First it was Brexit, now Covid-19, just too much news to stay on top of. As a Twitter addict, I love watching stories or commentary play out in real time. Things like… ‘It was Rebecca Vardy’s account…' proved to be a valid reason to be hooked to Twitter!
What brands do you think tell great stories and why?
When we work with clients on events, the ones who have clear and consistent values tend to tell the better stories. Creating event content is much easier if the company values and messaging is clear, easy to understand and it will allow the event experience to feel completely authentic. We are lucky to work with some amazing clients – Pets at Home, Kellogg’s, Warburtons, M&S – all of which have clear values they are proud to share and shout about at their events, making them great storytellers.
On a personal level, I love hearing the brand stories of smaller, niche businesses. Entrepreneurs, family owned businesses - people who are just doing what they love and what they are passionate about. Restaurateurs, brewers, food producers… doesn’t matter what the business is, I get really inspired by the drive, ambition and commitment behind these stories. I love seeing how creative people can be when they have an idea and a mission to succeed.
What do you want from PR people? Collaboration and a no limits attitude. We work with PR freelancers and agencies to help them bring their concepts and ideas to life and I love their ability to think big. I challenges us to be creative and think big too.
What makes a great story? All events are telling some sort of story. Whether it is about a brand, a business, an industry, a key theme. These stories need to have clear objectives and consistent messaging. People buy authenticity and this is the same at an event. Being clear from the first planning stage of what you want your audience to go away understanding and feeling is the key to any successful event.
Top tip for storytellers…Be clear, consistent and remember people only retain three key facts so don’t overload people with too much messaging as it won’t sink in.
To learn a little more about what Caroline and her team do at Clear, head to http://www.weareclear.co.uk/