Gregory P. Jenkins and Thomas Neighbors founded Bravo Productions and offer more than 40 years combined experience in event design and planning and prop production. They take a hands-on approach in working with their clients, and hold executive positions in the current structure of the company. Bravo’s full and part-time staff consists of artisans, craftsmen, technical, logistical and support personnel.
Founded in 1987, Bravo Productions is an award-winning, full-service event planning and production company specializing in designing, staging and managing world-class corporate, association, government, military and non-profit functions nationwide to support clients’ strategic marketing campaigns.
MO: What initially drew you to the event planning industry? How has your background and experience contributed to the remarkable success of the company?
Greg: I have always been intrigued by special events. I was the kid who enjoyed watching parades, football half-time shows, special productions, etc. I also enjoyed leaned towards more creative endeavors. I believe it’s not only the vast years of experience that has led to our company’s success, but the greatest factor has to do with passion. It’s that passion for what we do and create on behalf of clients. We put our heart and soul into each project, treating the endeavor as ‘this will be our best work ever. ‘
MO: Can you share a surprising, amusing or little known fact about the event planning industry?
Greg: It’s an industry where anyone can be a part of, one that is not regulated such as the medical, law or teaching profession. It doesn’t require that you earn a MBA (a business background does help), and it’s a career that you can launch in your bedroom. That said, it does take a certain skill level and talent to be successful – whether creative, artistic, salesmanship or marketing expertise.
MO: What types of events do you enjoy planning the most?
Greg: My favorite events are client and customer appreciation, product launches and company commemorative anniversaries. These types of events typically are more measurable in reviewing a ROI – from generating new sales leads, media exposure, higher degree of customer traffic, etc. I also enjoy just doing the theme events that are only about the décor. It’s fun. Award shows are also a favorite, but the logistics, rehearsals, timing and pace of the show is quite stressful.
MO: Can you provide our readers with some tips or suggestions that will make their next party a great one?
Greg: The most effective way to plan a party is to start out with goals, followed by the development of a concept and realistic budget to accomplish those objectives. Even if one is hosting a simple cocktail reception, game night or dessert party, any function requires careful planning. It’s the lack of planning that often leads to party disasters. You have to take every possible consideration in place. An example: Did you remember to re-set the lawn sprinkler system for that outdoor gathering? If it’s an outdoor party, do you have enough shady areas? What’s your plan to handle a bug or insect problem? You can have the best looking décor, but if the logistics don’t work, the party also does not work.
MO: You have received an impressive amount of awards, honors and recognition within your industry. Which has been the most meaningful to receive?
Greg: While we are very proud of our awards and honors, we don’t rest on our laurels. We treat the recognition as an achievement, but realize there is always another company out there who can receive the same recognition. One of the most significant honors is the two Gala Awards by Special Events Magazine. This award is the equivalent to the ‘Oscars’ in the motion picture industry. It’s viewed as top honors..
MO: What are some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned since first starting out back in 1987?
Greg: Expanding our message beyond the walls of the events industry has been a powerful lesson. You never know where or how your customers will hear about or locate your business. Another lesson is to promote the successes of one’s business. For some, it might seem like boasting – for others – it’s a way to separate you from your competitors. Putting together a competent, reliable and professional team of suppliers is key. In addition, we learned that it’s best to work with companies that share your same passion for producing excellence and exceeding your clients’ expectations. Lastly, we learned to take our failures as an opportunity to do things differently and better, learning from our mistakes. At the same time, we’ve learned not to fix things that are not broken.
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