TAPAUS started operating in New York in April 2022. Its SVP, North America Janne Hakkarainen writes about his experiences in the Big Apple from the perspective of an event professional.
Full steam ahead
Driving across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan is always a special experience. On that rainy Thursday night in October 2021, it felt even more special when we drove from the airport to our new home in Manhattan. It’s hard to believe that we have lived here for over a year already as it has felt like the blink of an eye. Although we haven’t conquered America yet, TAPAUS flag stands tall on its soil.
We reached the first milestone last March when I was granted my personal work permit. After that we have focused on what we do best – organizing events. Below, I’m writing about the differences (or the lack of them?) between Finland and America and about the experiences of one event pro.
We are live – and kicking
The first events here felt quite remarkable. Naturally, that had something to do with the new environment but also with the fact that after the pandemic restrictions the world started opening to live events again. I had simply forgotten about how hectic this job can be at times and how live events are often called “full body experiences”. Luckily, that’s how I like it as I have always been an advocate of larger-than-life experiences.
During the last eight months or so we have already organized a large spectrum of events. We have been assisting in building a tradeshow booth in the legendary Javits Center in New York, organized a customer event in SoHo, conquered yet another country with a personnel event in Toronto and verified the saying “everything is bigger in Texas” in a virtual LED studio in Dallas. And this was only the tip of an iceberg – or should I say the tip of a skyscraper.
TAPAUS is scalable
Even though we have hardly scratched the surface of the US market, I can honestly say that based on our experiences from the first months, TAPAUS can stand the test of international competition. There hasn’t yet been an event that we haven’t been able to handle because of the lack of know-how or resources.
Our model here is the same as it is everywhere – TAPAUS is the one-stop-shop for events – covering the idea, planning, implementation, and success evaluation, based on goals set in cooperation with the client. As we want to prove the value of every event that we help to organize, it is crucial to set up measurable goals. Hence our slogan “We turn moments into momentum”.
Our appraised ideation and concept work is still done in Finland, and when it is time to execute the plan, we use our local production team and partner network. I am personally responsible for project management and recruiting local producers for our US operations.
Are American events bigger?
When we are talking about events in general, I would have to say yes. For example, a regular season New York Rangers’ hockey game at Madison Square Garden on a Tuesday night is far more commercialized and event-like than a regular season hockey game in Finland or in Sweden. This doesn’t mean that events here are necessarily better organized than in the Nordics, but in general they are bigger, more commercial, and thus more expensive – and there are more of them. This huge market is opening again, following Europe, and it looks promising as some have forecasted that we can even expect a post-pandemic golden era for the event industry.
Regardless of the country, organizing an event usually follows a similar process. However, if you want to organize an event in America as a newcomer, it is highly recommended to work closely with a local partner to avoid the most common mistakes in terms of, for example, pricing and budgeting. The culture here can be quite brutal compared to the Nordics, where the industry is smaller, and there are less vendors and therefore more trust between the participants, and you hardly ever have to worry about someone not delivering on their promises.
Exactly this may be one of the learnings or traits that we can export from the Nordic countries. Based on my still somewhat short experience here, it is possible to stand out from the competition with great customer service and can-do attitude, in other words, by simply exceeding the customers’ expectations. For TAPAUS, this means that we serve our customers with equal (and always high) standards, whether we are in Washington or in Vantaa.