Dean Parker: Putting a price on trust

Does trust feature on your budget sheet? Dean Parker, production manager, Wilde Ones, thinks it should

Trust and relationships are two things that go hand in hand in the events industry. I value them both extremely highly, though you can’t necessarily put a price on them.

When clients are a little bit (as it seems, is all too often the case), it is the relationship with your suppliers that ensures that you are not let down.

When something goes wrong on an event site, it is the relationships between companies that ensures that everybody pulls together and helps to resolve it. The trust works both ways, and having strong relationships with both the client and the supplier is vital to an event’s overall success.

When that trust deteriorates it can have dramatic effects.

Until 2009, I used to produce a large charity event. Over a period of more than 10 years relationships were built with the charity, as well as suppliers, partners and concessionaires to turn it into the most prestigious event of its kind in the calendar.

It was an event that all parties were justifiably proud of. It raised awareness, was a great party and raised £20,000 for local charities. Not bad for a free event.

It was staged for a ridiculously small amount, the production costs for 2009 being just over £150,000, and it was the relationships and trust between the various parties involved that kept those costs down.

But several years ago, things started to change. New trustees got involved in the charity and, for whatever reasons, started changing things internally. The charity became very insular, isolating itself from the very businesses that had been instrumental in its success and destroying the relationships that had been built.

A few weeks ago it emerged that the charity now has debts of over £200,000. The future for the event is extremely bleak, with serious doubts over whether an event will be staged this year.

In the two years since that I haven’t been involved, the production costs for the event have risen by over £200,000. At the start of this article I said you couldn’t put a price on trust and relationships. Well, just maybe, you can.