Article Title:Hero structure proves its worth
Category:Events
Author or Credit:Hero Brand Management Group
Published on:21st March 2005 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:668
Text:The HERO Festival may be over, but the Brand Management Group is already working on next year by reviewing this year's performance. A wind-up meeting of the independent event managers and the BMG was held last Friday at The NZAF's Auckland board room. Discussed was the new structure of HERO, which is only in it's third year of operation, and quite possibly a model for Gay Pride festivals world-wide to emulate. Gay pride festivals have imploded all around the world and HERO was no different. London, New York, Toronto, even Sydney's Mardi Gras, all went through that dangerous spiral of bigger must be better in the 90's, until they became so top-heavy that they could no longer dig themselves out of debt. However, three years ago the first HERO Brand Management Group was formed to change the HERO formula in order to save it. Paul Rose, a member of the first BMG said it was tough going. “That first year was difficult since we had so much of the old HERO baggage to deal with. But that appears to finally be behind us, and well done to this year's BMG for achieving that.” The new structure puts the responsibility of HERO solidly into the hands of the community. No longer is there any “HERO” machine to do things; there is only a brand. The Brand Management Group simply manages how and by whom the HERO name is used, and ensures that private contractors run independent events under the HERO umbrella. According to Jay Bennie, founding member of the first BMG, “Those running the events have sole responsibility for making a profit or taking a loss, which means they must necessarily be professional. They then return something back to the community as per their contract with HERO.” This structure may well be a world-first in terms of making Gay Pride Festivals successful again and, according to Mike Binis, this year's HERO was “Smooth”. “I must absolutely congratulate the gay print media for abandoning the 'take a swipe at the old HERO' approach. That HERO is gone, and each of the publications have outdone each other with the best and most positive coverage I've seen in over eight years. Out! Magazine, express, and even Wellington-based UP magazine helped HERO 2005 to achieve the best 'feel' that it's had in years.” This is in stark contrast to reports from those who attended Sydney's Mardi Gras this year. Visitors reported a mundane feeling to it. Michael Bancroft, of the HERO BMG, witnessed the Mardi Gras parade, and reported that it was “tame.” “Gone were the grand floats, the big spectacles, the special atmosphere. Instead, there were just people marching. Lots of people marching with flags; fabulous, perhaps, but not much else.” Others who had VIP seats in the bleachers grumbled that, for nearly NZ$100, all they saw were signs and costumes. That brought up the subject of a parade returning to HERO, a possibility which has been vigorously pursued ever since the collapse of it's inclusion in AK05, and especially since the flip-flop of support within the new Auckland City hierarchy. A parade was mentioned, but as yet the BMG still has a lot of ground work to do before it embarks on such “Networks and relationship-building for another parade” according to Keir Robertson, a BMG supporter and member for the past three years. The next move for the BMG, with the event managers' feedback, is for scheduling next year's events early so as to prevent conflicts. There is also a Hero 'analysis day' scheduled in April for both agenda-setting and improving support for all HERO events. Anyone wanting information on, or input into, the structural planning for HERO 2006 is invited to e-mail HERO on hero@gaynz.org.nz . Hero Brand Management Group - 21st March 2005    
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