Seasoned Masher St Matthew Stott gives us his intriguing thoughts on life in the field and in the office as a Masher. Matt has been part of the good ship MASH for nearly 6 years now with a mixture of office & field stints so this man is worth listening to...
Seasoned Masher St Matthew Stott gives us his intriguing thoughts on life in the field and in the office as a Masher. Matt has been part of the good ship MASH for nearly 6 years now with a mixture of office & field stints so this man is worth listening to…
Here at MASH Towers, we’re always looking to get a better understanding of what life is like out there in the field for our Mashers. Although I’ve been with MASH for 6 years, around a third of that time has been spent working in the field as Event Manager, so by now I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what it’s like on both sides of the coin. Hopefully I can give you a little insight into that in this blog.
Getting ready for my first EM job after 3 years in the office, I was immediately struck by how much information I had to take in. Brand messaging, sampling instructions, how to rig the stand, how to pack the van to make sure that all the kit survived the journey, PDA uploads, stock collection, reporting, photos, staff appraisal… it’s not a short list!
I quickly realised that one of the key requirements for an Event Manager is organisational skills – the ability to process all of this information, and break it down into daily tasks that I knew I needed to complete. Being organised, staying on top of things, and making sure that I had a list of what I needed to do and when, all made the job so much easier.
The same is true of Brand Ambassadors – I learned that you can’t just turn up and turn it on, you’ve got to be organised beforehand; read the brief thoroughly so you can truly embody the brand and its values, make sure you’ve got the right uniform, plan your journey to make sure you get there on time etc etc.
Likewise, it also made me realise that the way the MASH Account Handler briefs the team in the field is crucial. Understandably, clients want Brand Ambassadors to “live” their brand in the field. To achieve this, they are keen to ensure that the staff know as much about their brand as possible; its history, its journey, its story. There is a danger that this can result in briefing documents that resemble “War and Peace”, with so much information that it is easy to get lost in it all.
So since I’ve been working back at MASH HQ, I’ve made a real effort to ensure that the briefs I send out to staff are as clear and concise as possible – that the information is laid out in a way that is simple and easy to understand, but also leaves our MASHers fully equipped with all the knowledge they need to deliver an amazing activity exactly as the client had envisioned it.
As my first EM campaign went live, once the initial nerves had subsided, I was almost surprised to discover how much fun I was having. Although there was a lot to remember, I really enjoyed getting stuck in and working hard to give people a great experience – I know it’s a cliche, but the smiles from happy consumers as they waved goodbye to us really did make it all worthwhile.
Observing the Brand Ambassadors as they engaged with people, I was struck by the difference positive energy, demeanour and body language makes to the whole consumer experience. Similarly, people are savvy – they quickly lost interest if they suspected that the Brand Ambassador didn’t really know what they were talking about. Consumers engaged far more readily and enthusiastically with Brand Ambassadors who were knowledgeable and made the effort to make them feel special, rather than an unwanted interruption to their day.
With all that said, it’s tiring work! I was exhausted at the end of the first day, and never before or since has a Premier Inn hotel bed felt so comfortable. Although I got used to the pace as the campaign progressed, I was definitely left with a new found appreciation for the amount of energy and enthusiasm it takes to be a great Brand Ambassador.
I thought about this some more as the weeks rolled by; I realised that there has to be a reason why MASH staff are willing to put in so much effort, and go the extra mile to ensure a campaign is successful. As I met and talked to more and more Brand Ambassadors around the country, it became apparent that it works because they feel that they are part of a real community. They enjoyed the personal engagement with the team at MASH HQ through Facebook, Twitter etc, and appreciated that their hard work is generally recognised and rewarded with more work, on higher profile campaigns.
So what’s the conclusion to all this? From an office perspective, I learned how important it is to value each and every one of our staff in the field; to appreciate the hard work and dedication they put in, to respect their professionalism, and to ensure that we give them all the tools they need to excel in their work.
Being an EM also taught me how much the team at MASH HQ rely on the field staff to execute activity according to brief. It was time to practice what I used to preach in the office, and make sure that I followed the brief closely, ensuring the staff were smart, briefed, and on brand, and kept the office informed if there were any difficulties or issues that we encountered.
Ultimately, it’s a partnership. A partnership that can only work if everyone is committed and pulling in the same direction. Here’s to a long and happy marriage…
To find out more about Matt and the rest of the MASH Team – have a look here.