Venue Selection Tools That Protect Your Brand
By definition, event marketing happens in the medium of live, in which a brand leverages the “stages” of others—stadiums, clubs, buildings, parks—to tell a message. So protecting the company from lawsuits begins (and largely ends) with venue selection. In order to make sure your venue selections don't end up biting you from behind, it's important to look over your sponsorship contracts.
Initial Venue Screen
Don’t casually approve venue selections without knowing anything about them, even if your agency has “worked with those guys for years.” Demand a list of venues your event campaign will touch, and get background checks, copies of insurance policies, and a description of any other activities (like a concert) taking place at said venue when your event is on-site. Then do background checks on the components of those third-party activities to get a picture of whether security and safety is being compromised.
Venue Selection and Background Check
If a venue seems hinky, marketers can always run a background check via Dun & Bradstreet to see if any judgments are being held against the venue. Or you could go as far as to have a private investigator run a check (price: $800-$1,700).
Attempt to get a “Hold Harmless” agreement from the operator of the venue. The HH can be written in a number of ways, all of which mean the venue cannot sue the brand if problems arise. You’ll also need an “Indemnity” contract, which directs the venue or any other entity involved with the event (like a band) to pay for legal expenses if anybody outside of the venue sues the sponsor. (Confused? Just remember that HH removes fault, and Indemnification deals with suits from third-parties.)
The contract should include representation from all parties tied to the event if they’ve been sued before. If they lie, that later introduces fraud into the contract and voids contractual liability. Most major venues and properties have been sued many times. It shouldn’t scare you off—it’s just a tack to make sure everyone is open and honest. (But check to see if the suit stemmed from a property-damage or personal-injury claim.)
Bottom line: Do whatever you can to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Venue selection matters.
Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker
Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Northeast powder hound. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. SVP Marketing and Business Development, Doodle owner and lover of all things chocolate.