Red Badge was formed by Gary Wilton in 1998 with the goal of providing a professional level of support to licenced areas in Auckland. Growing substantially over the following years, the business has since become the largest supplier of security and event services in New Zealand, now operating in most of the country’s major business centres, with 3 service divisions dedicated to various client needs.
The company’s core services division, known as Red Badge Security, is built simultaneously around both event security and services, such as event management, planning, consultancy, and the delivery of core event security at stadiums, venues and greenfield festivals. Red Security, the professional services division, provides protective security to large infrastructure sites, as well as building concierge services to the likes of the Auckland Council Building. Red Badge’s third division, Awesome Events, is a non-security, customer-facing event support brand, providing ticketing, ushering, and brand ambassador staff to various venues.
While initially providing services to major stadiums, Red Badge’s involvement in events, such as greenfield festivals, quickly grew. “Our original clientele were largely those who operated inside stadiums,” says Director and CEO Andy Gollings. “That’s now translated to those who own and operate these venues and festivals, as risk management has fallen upon the shoulder of the owners and operators of those venues.”
The importance of events and the customer experience of guests has become critical to organisers, and many have realised the correlation between the quality of the customer’s experience at every touch point experienced by each customer and the value the customer places on their experience. “Given that our services provide the majority of these touch points to the customers, the way that they’re treated at every one of them has become more important,” Andy explains, pointing out that ensuring such quality treatment is carried out both through planning, and the careful selection of the staff themselves. “Engaged, motivated people are the key to our business;” he says, “the more motivated and more engaged our staff are, the more likely they are to engage with our customers and provide the premium experience that we’re offering.”
A key point of effort for Red Badge has been its intimate understanding of all parties who may have a vested interest in any event that the company is involved with, and the outcomes that they each require. Identifying the needs of all stakeholders, Red Badge develops a plan to best deliver on each of those needs, while managing any conflicting interests, wherever this should arise.
Andy feels that while risk and safety management is paramount at venues, some aspects of the task have been known to fall in direct opposition to the customer’s overall experience. “The level of control that needs to be had over safety and, particularly, alcohol management could, at times, detract from the enjoyment a guest might experience. This control needs to be appropriate, and considered, with a view to enabling the customers experience in mind” says Mr Gollings. After its recent implementation, the New Zealand government has now begun to enforce the mandatory licensing and training required to hold a security licence in the country. In conjunction with these changes, the laws surrounding the supply of alcohol at a venue have also received a dramatic update, with the industry’s health and safety laws following suit in the near future. “The level of management now required along with a professional level of understanding of all of these challenges is going to shake up our industry quite significantly over the coming years.”
Andy Gollings took the opportunity to enrol in a management position at Red Badge in 2002, through connections that he made while serving in the military. As the business expanded across the country, Mr Gollings grew along with it, eventually taking the role of CEO. While taking personal pride in the manner in which Red Badge delivers its events, he feels strongly that the company’s ability to consistently deliver appropriate, trained and motivated, management and staff on a national scale has been its greatest achievement. “We have had an outstanding summer, with an incredible Cricket World Cup, and a number of major concerts around the country,” he says. “We’ve done a lot of things well, but our challenge is to try and make sure that we return those successes into our system, so that we can deliver services at our best, every time that we possibly can.“