Lee Rubenstein is moving fast. Named president and chief operating officer of Los Angeles-based TBA Global in January, the communications pro is on the road almost constantly, visiting TBA's offices and clients to broaden branding's horizons. For how he plans to do it, read on …
SPECIAL EVENTS MAGAZINE: What attracted you to TBA Global?
LEE RUBENSTEIN: I believe TBA Global is leading the evolution from primarily an “events” agency to a full-service connective communications and marketing agency. This offering addresses critical client demands as now, more than ever, brands must connect with key audiences internally and externally, at more levels and more regularly, with a consistently high-quality experience.
With 19 offices, TBA Global had already assembled tremendous creative and production resources including communications and marketing strategy, event planning, consumer marketing, entertainment and destination management. Our focus now is to connect all these offerings for our clients.
SPECIAL EVENTS: Can you share some of your goals for the company in the next year? In five years?
RUBENSTEIN: Our vision for the company is to connect brands and people, and we will continue to stay focused on what our clients want and need, so our six-month, yearly and five-year plans will always evolve.
Our goal is to build awareness about how we can help them increase the power of the experience they are delivering through TBA as we energize and evolve the industry over time. To that end, we have increased our on-staff expertise to deliver these services to our clients and have added valuable new services. Those additions include our Learning & Performance Improvement group; we design and deliver world-class custom-blended interactive learning programs such as e-learning, classroom and print.
We have expanded our entertainment offering to include a Branded Entertainment group. We still provide corporate entertainment based on our strong relationships in the entertainment industry. However, we also now provide music licensing as well as consumer-focused, integrated, branded entertainment programs, which is an emerging new solution corporate marketers want as part of their brand-building mix.
SPECIAL EVENTS: When I joined Special Events in 1999, the company was TBA Entertainment. In 2004 it was rebranded TBA Global Events, then came the acquisition of big DMC PGI in 2005. How would you describe TBA's evolution?
RUBENSTEIN: Our evolution is based on client demands for a true integrated marketing and communications offering. The leadership of this company, prior even to the PGI acquisition, always had a vision of a full-service, holistic, programmatic solution that could improve both the client and audience experience. Now our clients are saying, “Since you know our audience, can you add some strategic thinking and capability to help us further our business mission with this audience throughout the year?”
SPECIAL EVENTS: What do live events do for brands that nothing else can do?
RUBENSTEIN: Incentive statistics have shown that live events — where individuals are able to create memories together through experiences with their colleagues — always provide a higher return for the brand over cash and/or merchandise rewards.
On the communications and marketing side, when we deliver an experience on behalf of a brand that engages all the senses — and we do our job to make it memorable on an emotional level — you're not going to forget it, maybe ever! It is human nature to crave interaction, to build a culture of personal stories of our own experiences and to share them with others, and to desire “immersive” experiences. Only through live interaction can we really relate the “human-ness” of the brand and how dedicated the brand is to excellence, service, worthy ideals and a connection with its audience.
SPECIAL EVENTS: What else should I ask you?
RUBENSTEIN: Perhaps, what is the future of event marketing? There will be ongoing thought about how to get the most out of the investment made to bring attendees together after an event concludes. Secondly, and this will be really fun for all of us, clients are going to explore the concept of branded entertainment aimed at consumer audiences. These become events that are revisitable and accessible via live, online and broadcast channels, imbued with relevant entertainment value to create loyalty and repeat visits.
TBA Global 21700 Oxnard St., Suite 1430, Woodland Hills, CA 91367; 818/226-2800; www.tbaglobal.com