Party Reflections is the only special event rental company of their scale and capabilities in Charlotte, NC, where their headquarters are located, with additional locations in Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, NC and Columbia, SC. Since 1958, the family-owned company has provided event essentials such as tents, tables, linens, glassware, china, flatware, dance floors, bars and more, and manages the logistics and production around their product lines for each event.
Maurisa Beaver, Chief Culture Officer, oversees both marketing and human resources for Party Reflections. Thanks in part to the marketing team’s ongoing efforts, the brand has continued to be recognized as Charlotte’s go-to provider for special event rentals.
As a fixture in the Charlotte special event rental industry, Party Reflections focuses their marketing efforts on maintaining their well-known brand via digital and social media marketing.
“Our goal is to be top of mind for people. We’ve been here for over 60 years and have become the leader in the Charlotte market in terms of capability and amount of product. People know who we are and we’re thankful for that, but it means we need to manage our brand well and consistently. People see us as that reliable, knowledgeable source for special event rentals and we’re always trying to be a thought leader and a market leader,” says Maurisa.
In the events industry, visuals speak much, much louder than words. Party Reflections has a leg up with a huge trove of beautiful event photography that shows off the company’s products in action, but it was too difficult to keep track of all of these images from external photographers without a centralized library.
“Our primary reason for finding a DAM was to curate content for social media, which is our primary marketing channel. We work with a lot of photographers who shoot at events that use our products, and we were running into a problem with our photos being scattered in Dropbox or in random places. To be able to put our content somewhere where it could be found quickly, used easily and repurposed was vital,” says Maurisa.
The team evaluated three solutions and chose Canto because it struck the perfect balance between functionality and value.
“For the price and the value, we felt like we were getting something really special, but we also knew it was a really smart decision. One of the people on our team had used Canto before, so that factored in, but we also looked at two other platforms and did our research and felt that Canto was the right fit for us, right now, for where we are,” says Maurisa.
Party Reflections now stores all of their event photography, product images and brand assets in Canto. It’s easy for the team to use these images for the website, social media, partnerships and more.
Streamlining social media workflows
Social media is a vital part of Party Reflection’s marketing strategy. Canto helps simplify the process of curating content for social media, and the metadata capabilities enable the team to track important details, such as the other businesses that work on their events. This both saves time internally and reflects well on the company, strengthening relationships with other businesses in the industry.
“It’s really important for us to build relationships with other businesses because venues, caterers and planners will often bring us on board as part of a production team where we aren’t working directly with the end user. Being able to collaborate and properly give credit on social media helps us maintain the B2B relationship,” says Maurisa.
“In the industry, knowing everyone who worked on an event, from the hairstylist to the planner to the photographer, and tagging them when you post a photo shows our professionalism. Being able to list all of that information in the metadata in Canto is really valuable.”
Sales enablement made easy
Canto has also become the go-to resource for the sales team to find photos. With a searchable library of event photography in Canto, sales reps can quickly pull images to show, not tell, potential clients how the company’s products will look on the big day.
“We got Canto mainly for content management for social media and marketing, but the extra bonus was that the sales team started to use it to share event photos with clients and put presentations together,” says Maurisa.
“Before Canto, a sales rep would ask, ‘Hey, does anybody have a picture of a tent at the Duke Mansion? Or do we have a picture of the driftwood chandelier in a tent?’ And then all the other sales reps would share the photos they had. That takes a bandwidth for people that they could be using to help a client, and it’s time consuming. With Canto, they have a place where they can pull up photos just by searching by keywords. It’s all at their fingertips.”
Keeping the brand experience consistent is key to managing Party Reflections’ long-standing reputation and position as a market leader in their area. The marketing team uses Canto’s Style Guide feature to easily share brand assets with community partners.
“Sometimes, we do in-kind work for nonprofit events in exchange for advertising or logo placement. They can just grab our logo from our Canto style guide and don’t have to ask marketing for that,” says Maurisa.
Flexibility for uncertain times
Party Reflections has quickly adapted to social distancing guidelines and government mandates by serving the healthcare and food and beverage industries. Canto helps the marketing team stay agile in their communications efforts as the industry changes.
“I asked our CEO to do a video message for our employees, because it would be reassuring for them to hear his voice rather than to read a long email. He also had to do a video for the American Rental Association as a member of their executive board. Canto has been helpful for housing and sharing these videos,” says Maurisa.
One look at Party Reflections’ beautiful social media channels is enough to see that the company has a strong and cohesive brand identity. By providing a centralized library of assets, Canto helps the marketing team maintain this consistent visual experience.
“Canto is a great resource for both marketing and sales. It’s easy to go in and find what we’re looking for,” says Maurisa.
As the team navigates a challenging time for the events industry, Canto is there to help them stay agile and adapt quickly. The company is looking forward to making customers’ dream events come to life once the pandemic is over.
“People will want to gather and celebrate together,” says Maurisa. “We’re making the best decisions we can right now, and focusing on the future.”