Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Collaborating Around the World

-By Colja Dams

Let's face it. Because of technology, the world has become a much smaller place. And more and more planners are branching out into the international markets. For those of us already working around the world, having offices in a variety of countries makes it easier. But, for those who don't, consider some invaluable elements.

With offices around the globe, I've learned from experience. And, the number one asset to creating successful events is to understand the culture and the business practices of the countries in which you work without sacrificing the global approach of the brands of your clients.

The VOK DAMS Group has been fortunate to have collaborated with a variety of partners to produce a wealth of events world-wide. Our partnerships have involved both local companies as well as those based outside the site city or country. Because we can never afford for an event to go wrong, choosing the right partner is critical to our success. Rules and regulations differ from country to country and sometimes even within the local jurisdiction inside countries and cities. So, having a partner with local know-how is crucial to assure your event even happens.

The number one key to finding the right partner is to look for a company that works quickly, is highly effective but one that provides a "personal touch" to get things done.The company needs to employ a great staff of people. (I know I'm not supposed to make any sort of promotional statement, but the VOK DAMS Group has collaborated with Extraordinary Events for some time now, and I must admit that EE is our favorite partner. We've almost made a specialty of very successful automotive events, with impressive results! But, unfortunately, I can't disclose details due to our contractual agreements with those clients!)

To find quality global partners, we've had a program in place based on DIN EN ISO 9001 certification or a quality management system that defines that we work with qualified partners. It allows us to assess the organizational structure, procedures, processes and resources needed to implement a quality event and determine if our target partners meet those needs. In a nutshell, it is a guideline to make sure that our partners "walk the talk" and assures they can get things done!

Tips for Picking the Right Partner

We use a C-Level Model for what we look for. Here are the guidelines we've found successful for selecting the best partners.

  • Creativity
  • Capability/Credibility (does the partner - and moving forward the partnership - have a proven track record?)
  • Competencies - can the partner provide the tasks requested?
  • Capacity - does the partner have the resources available at the time of the event?
  • Chemistry - does the partner and their team members fit into the project team?
  • CO2- does the partner offer sustainable services and solutions (thus reducing CO2 footprint)?

Finally, the ability to keep deadlines is crucial when working over time zones. If planned correctly, it gives a wonderful opportunity to work around the clock. As one team goes to bed, the other team wakes up!

So, if you are going to work internationally, remember to connect with a local partner and and use the C-Level Model to make sure it's the right one!

Colja Dams has steadily built his company, the VOK DAMS Agency for Events & Live Marketing, into one of the top event powerhouses in the world. Headquartered in Germany, and ranked #2 in the world (source: Special Events Magazine), and with offices in Dubai, Beijing, France, Shanghai, London, New York, Prague, Sao Paulo, and throughout Germany, VOK DAMS has produced award-winning events for leading brands all over the world. Colja Dams may be reached at To learn more about VOK DAMS, visit:

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