Bravo Productions Celebrates 20 Years - A Reflection on the Company's Roots From Rose Parade Float Builder to Preeminent Event Production Company

From a Rose Parade float builder to becoming one of the most sought after event production companies, Bravo Productions reflects on its successes, learning lessons, trials and tribulation over the company's 20 year journey.

Bravo Productions Celebrates 20 Years - A Reflection on the Company's Roots From Rose Parade Float Builder to Preeminent Event Production Company
Long Beach, CA, April 04, 2007 --( With this company’s 20th anniversary this year, Bravo Productions cannot help but reflect on how events led to its founding. Through the years, the company has experienced many triumphs, successes, learning lessons, and of course -- trials and tribulations.

The journey began in 1987, when both Thom Neighbors and Greg Jenkins were employed at one of the largest manufacturers of floats for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. At the time, Neighbors served as art director & general manager, and Jenkins was employed as the company’s public relations director. While the work was extremely gratifying, in the process they were both exhausting themselves for their employer. "Like many startup companies or new entrepreneurs, we said, if we’re going to work this hard and loose this much weight and sleep, we might as well do it for ourselves,” says Greg Jenkins, partner of Bravo Productions.

Neighbors and Jenkins began preparing for the launch of their company in Pasadena, Calif. in early 1986, conducting research, scouting for an attorney and accountant, developing a business plan, and even just exploring the right name. Bravo Productions was chosen for many reasons. It communicated grand performance, reflected producing a service or product, and alphabetically speaking, the letter ‘B’ crops up early and would be the first company listed on the Tournament’s float builders’ database.

"We knew starting this business would be risky. There were a limited number of float sponsors who participate annually in the Rose Parade and we would need to invest our life savings," says Jenkins. In January 1987, they officially launched Bravo Productions, whose sole mission at the time was the design, construction and decoration of floats for the Rose Parade. They positioned their firm as ‘boutique,’ ‘craftsmanship,’ ‘quality,’ ‘originality’ ‘ethics and integrity,’ and ‘understanding the role of marketing communications.’ When initially launching the company, many of the recurring float sponsors returned to their float builder as months went on. And float construction started for the upcoming year. With a little luck, tireless efforts and preparation, Neighbors and Jenkins secured two float sponsors that year, including the city of Beverly Hills and the now defunct First Interstate Bank. That same year, the city of Beverly Hills entry received a coveted Rose Parade trophy. In succeeding years, Bravo Productions' float client roster grew to include Transamerica, The Vons Companies, Better Homes & Gardens and country of Spain, to name a few. In addition, their sponsors began asking Bravo Productions to create special events in conjunction with the Rose Parade. For example, they built an 80-foot long replica of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria for the country of Spain’s 500th anniversary and staged a reception for 600 guests for the Consul General of Spain as part of the celebration.

In early 1993, both Neighbors and Jenkins got an itch to do something more than flower-festooned floats. It also appeared the Rose Parade’s corporate float sponsors began shrinking in numbers, as more and more companies discovered the need to become bottom line-oriented. The Internet was on the rise, and corporate America looked at other means to reach their customers. In the interim, Neighbors and Jenkins also began receiving more offers to service different industries, including building custom props and scenery, miniature models, event design and production, as well as other projects for the film, television, commercial production and special events industries. Projects included work on the Drew Carey Show, Women In Film, and a Chrysler jeep commercial, to name a few.

In 1994, Neighbors and Jenkins relocated the company to Long Beach, where both company founders reside. Neighbors is a Long Beach native. The partners re-engineered Bravo Productions into an award-winning, full-service event planning, design and production company specializing in staging corporate functions nationwide to support strategic marketing campaigns. "We also separated ourselves by building custom scenery and props that would provide clients with a fresh product and competitive edge in the marketplace," says Thom Neighbors. "One-of-kind fixtures are a great way to emphasize the client's uniqueness, as well as have a photograph that showcases our own originality."

During this time is when other types of learning lessons came into play. For example, the company discovered that direct mail is a complete disaster and waste of money for their target audience. And while the opportunities became much more unlimited, Neighbors and Jenkins found that industries were also a lot more competitive and saturated. Lengthy sales letters didn’t work, but bullet points with strong visuals, sketches and storyboards were successful. "It's a lot of trial and error, but your marketing expertise becomes quite sophisticated and tailored," says Jenkins.

The key for Bravo Productions was to stay true to their company’s core principles and incorporate the power of the Internet to promote and brand the firm. They also became more aggressive and selective with their advertising, publicity and marketing communications campaign. "We embrace our clients like staff and family members and stay in touch with them throughout the year – even if it was a one-time project," says Neighbors. "We even adopted a highway sign to brand our company's name," adds Jenkins.

One of the most exciting experiences for Bravo Productions company was staging the grand opening events for the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Neighbors and Jenkins agree that it was a wonderful experience to work on a project that would help shape the city of Long Beach for decades to come. It also kicked off the recognition and honors in the international special events industry. The work led into projects with the United States Army, conducting product launches, and working throughout the United States, to name a few. "While we received a lot of accolades producing floats, the re-engineering was like starting over. One day you're a big fish in high school, and then when you go off to college, you again start as a small fish in a big pond," says Jenkins. Another wonderful experience was being asked to submit a bid to create décor for the annual Academy Awards ceremony. Although the firm was not awarded the job, it was an extreme honor for them to be invited in the bidding process.

Two horrific experiences that have shaped the company surrounds 9/11 and the changing face in corporate America. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center were a tragic day and period for all Americans. It also represented a period of downturn in the travel, meeting and events industry. "Our industry is greatly impacted by economy, and when consumers pull back spending, corporate America does the same," says Neighbors. Another experience involved being assaulted by a CEO who was apparently under the influence of cocaine at a convention center. "This eye opener demonstrated that drug and alcohol addictions extend to upper management, and depending on the organization, can be a part of its corporate culture," says Jenkins.

In 2004, Bravo Productions reviewed other regions to extend their products and services, and 2005, they launched three regional offices to include Las Vegas, Washington state and Colorado. "They are all within 2-hours flight from our Long Beach headquarters, and fill a niche in the marketplace," says Jenkins. "We’re currently, reviewing the opportunity of opening an office in the Atlanta or South Florida areas."

While these are just a few of the highlights over 20 years, perhaps, one will understand why the company have striven to follow the Bravo Productions philosophy and traditions, roots that are planted in who they are today -- and even more importantly -- where they want to go tomorrow.

Contact: Greg Jenkins
Bravo Productions
110 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 537
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 435-0065
(562) 435-4421 (fax)

Bravo Productions
Greg Jenkins, APR