TWENTY-TWO straight work hours. No breaks, eight locations to drive, 5+ hours in a van, 235 total miles, two states and a whole lot of prep…all for a 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. load in window for a mall activation. Now, before we bring up preparation, we were in a holding pattern. Unfortunately, it took the mall’s property management group an extra week to get our renders approved, these unexpected things happen in the event world, forever rolling with the punches. With our load in date of October 15, we had eight business days to pull it all together: graphics, staffing, design, fabrication, event-site and whole slew of other backend objectives. I had secured a week long, pro-rated move in date in case we weren’t ready; a big win in giving us a cushion to get it done the right way. However, it was never about us not being ready, rather, about giving our vendors the appropriate time needed to do their magic. I know someone in the industry who gives an answer of, “We’ll do the best we can” after a drop dead date passes. Writing candidly, I was never a fan of that answer when directed at me or when related to a program I managed. To me, the best we can do means failure is an option and when you’re born competitive, failure is never an option. In this instance, I found myself using the line to the mall’s property management company because we were truly past crunch time. I didn’t believe four different vendors could meet the expedited deadline post drop dead dates. However, this is a near guaranteed law in the experiential marketing field: it always works out and if it doesn’t, you find an acceptable alternative that does…something applicable in all industries. All four vendors were able to deliver on the original move in date eve, October 14. With a full day of running vendor to vendor bringing it all together, we finally walked out of the mall at 5:10 a.m., holiday pop-up shop completed and ready to open at 9 a.m. On top of it all, Victor turned around on three hours of sleep to train our new employee for 11 straight hours, but that’s an entire other post.
Grind. When you’re in the thick of it, it seems like a black hole, when you succeed, appreciate your drive, determination and dedication.