How Trust and Transparency are the Foundation of a Successful Event

How Trust and Transparency are the Foundation of a Successful Event

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I have always believed that information was of very little value if it was not in the hands of the people ultimately doing the work. No matter how great an idea or plan is, if it does not get to the people who can make that plan or idea a reality, then that vision is ultimately lost. With being so open and transparent, you also have to extend and receive trust. When you get right down to it, transparency and trust, are at the foundation of any successful relationship be it personal or business. At Alford, since the start 35 years ago that philosophy has been the foundation of our success both on show site and as a company. While the tools, processes, and speed of information have changed over the years, the philosophy has not.


The exchange of information and trust can be seen in many areas of Alford. For example, all sales, support, and operations can see all the information related to every show…not just their show, or their piece of it. It has been this way since the beginning. When it comes to the engineers and technicians on the road, we also make sure they have all the information they need. In the early 1980s, I would send in the mail, yes, the mail, a “real” list of the gear the client was promised to execute their vision to all the crew, whether full-time or freelance. Then I would get on the phone to each one to see if the list had what they needed to be able to deliver that vision. Of course, many changes happen less than two weeks out, but it was the best we could do with the tools available at the time.

In the 1990’s everyone started getting email. Email allowed us to give more up to date information, but it was still a snapshot in time. However, the process was still the same. Share all the information we had on what the client wanted and what we promised to make it happen, then have each and every tech involved in the event review and let us know what they really needed. They are the ultimate expert and are the front line of making the event a success.

Alford Shows - Dashboard

Fast-forward to the mid 2000’s. We took the sharing of information to real time to our full-time staff. Now that internet and mobile devices were reliable and plentiful, we created Alford Shows. Alford Shows is a real time web-based system. It pulls all the pertinent information from our main database and displays in an easy to read interface for all the crew. They can see not only what is sold to the client, but exactly what gear is pulled, who pulls it and what truck it is on. They also see real time travel and scheduling information, show drawings, and other miscellaneous notes that are important to relay. Not to mention all the conveniences that an online app allows such as one-touch dialing, maps, email links, etc.

Soon after that, we created Alford Hub. This extended the same information to our freelancers. Several years later we added a two-way communication feature where the sales, support, operations and all road staff could comment or ask questions. This helped centralize information and again make sure everyone who needs to see it can. This feature really transformed and streamlined our communication between the road and operations.

Alford Hub

As far as I know, we are the only event technology company in the business to openly share everything we have and take pre-show input from all technicians and engineers; however, I cannot imagine doing a show, or our business, any other way. Not long ago I was speaking with a perspective client on a show site and they shared with me one of their biggest frustrations was giving information to the sales person and that information not getting to the crew. I took out my computer and showed them all the information that was available to our crew on that event. They then quickly asked me if they could have that same information. Great question, I thought. That was where the idea for Alford Access was born. I went back to the office and we got to work.

Alford Access Sample

That brings us to today. By using Alford Shows as a foundation, taking out the operational noise for the client, and adding in features and information that assist and interest clients most we’ve further opened up the dialogue. Alford Access allows clients access into our system and conversations. Now truly everyone involved in the show is working off of the same real time, centralized information. I truly believe that this will be another great step in making sure we all have the best show possible and we look forward to sharing the continued evolution.

Tom Alford

Tom Alford
Executive VP & General Manager
Alford Media

Alford Media