What makes your event stand out from the rest? What makes people excited to attend your event? What creates that high-level buzz? The answer is pretty simple: it’s event branding.
Event branding is so much more than just sticking your logo on things, it is creating a cohesive experience from the promotional materials all the way through to parting gifts. It is encouraging guests to engage with your event and your brand through carefully planned strategy.
To give you a leg up when establishing a brand for your event, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to event branding. Follow these steps, these branding tips, and these branding ideas, and you will be playing host to the most talked about event in ages!
So, What Is Event Branding?
Event branding means capturing the essence of your brand and event in a way that tells potential guests exactly what sort of experience they can expect from you. When done properly, it creates a connection so that the next time you hold an event, people not only know that it is your event, they are already excited to attend.
Event branding encompasses a range of elements and the more recognizable those elements are, the more memorable the brand, and your event, will be.
The ways you brand your event will differ from ways you brand your organization. They should be similar, but not the same. Consider your event brand to be like your organization’s brand with a different spin. A little something extra, if you will.
What Are The Elements of An Event Brand?
An event brand is not a singular thing but a series of details that work together to make an overarching statement.
It is the details, both large and small, that will make a difference in your branding efforts. From graphic design to decorating, you should take every opportunity you have to establish a specific brand for your event.
- Add your brand logo to the decor. Add it to napkins, balloons, or project it onto a prominent wall.
- Brand take-home items. Consider adding your logo to pens, notepads, stickers, ball caps, t-shirts, and/or tote bags.
- Add your logo to after-dinner mints, chocolates, cakes or cupcakes.
- Create your own tagline and then turn it into a hashtag that can create buzz and spread through social media channels.
Why Event Branding Matters
Branded events are memorable events. Branding gives you the ability to shape the way guests experience your event. Whether you are planning a corporate event or a community fundraiser, you will want to make an impression that lasts.
Building a brand identity doesn’t have to be complicated. Choosing a signature color to use across all materials and design elements can boost brand recognition by as much as 80%, according to a study conducted by the University of Loyola.
Creating a consistent brand identity is something that is important to potential guests. It is so important, in fact, that 60% of millennials in the US expect consistent experiences across all touchpoints when interacting with a brand.
Those numbers are far too large to ignore.
What Makes A Strong Event Brand?
When building your brand, you need to clearly demonstrate what your attendees can expect from your event. This statement needs to connect with people in a real way. Let the brand tell a story. This message should be:
- Authentic — authenticity is essential to forming a connection. It is the foundation on which people build trust with a brand.
- Original — it will do no good to make the same promises as everyone else. Your event must deliver in a way that no other event can. What is it that makes your event unique?
- Meaningful — your brand and your event need to resonate. Start by trying to understand the interests and needs of your target audience.
- Consistent — your branding must be consistent across all touchpoints. From your event website to your parting swag bags and post-event survey.
Now that you know a little more about event branding and why you need it, it’s time to start thinking about your branding strategy.
How To Brand Your Event
Once you have decided on your event details, it is time to begin building brand awareness and create appropriate marketing campaigns.
Design your event website
If you want to attract people to your event, you need an online presence. A great event website is your chance to make a good first impression.
It is important that all the creative assets and content marketing that occurs through your event website are done with the aim of clearly communicating who you are.
From a visual perspective, the key factors to keep in mind are colors, logo, fonts, and theme. Do not be afraid to get creative. Picking the right event ticketing and registration tool will make it easy to keep your brand on point.
Use an event app
Using an event app can do more than just help you create a website, it can help you spread your branding elements across a range of digital assets. The right event app can help you build a branded event agenda, help you design custom branded emails, and encourage ticket buyers or registrants to organically share your event across social media channels.
Event Venue Branding
Your branding materials need to carry through from the digital realm to the event venue. Once your agenda is in place, you can get to deciding on the event venue layout. Remember, just because people are attending the event, it doesn’t mean that your marketing efforts are finished.
Before you complete your venue layout and get started on set up, take a walk through the space. Start at the entrance and follow all the way through to the seating. Examine what will be in the guests’ line of sight and look for opportunities to place your brand there.
Look for places to hang banners or place signage. Make sure the choices you make in this regard fit the image of the brand you are promoting. If you are putting forth a sleek and modern brand, be sleek and modern in your presentation.
All surfaces in the venue can have the potential for branding. Even the event signage used to direct ‘traffic’ can be branded.
The exact ways you choose to brand the venue will depend on the type of event you are holding but never walk away from an opportunity to remind people of who you are and what you are about.
Unique Event Branding Ideas
Branding your event is more than just hanging some banners, color coordinating your napkins, or putting up some event signage, it is about creating an experience. These unique branding ideas are not only useful suggestions but they may also get your creative juices flowing and help you come up with your own interesting branding ideas.
Is there a staircase at your event venue? Why not wrap the stairs? If people need to be funneled up a staircase to get to your event space, you should consider branding the stairs. There are two ways you can do this. You can wrap each individual step so that there is a message that can be read ascending or descending. Or, you can wrap all the stairs with a singular image that can be read from the bottom. This idea is one that will get people talking before the event even begins.
If you want to create a social media buzz, give guests something that is worth photographing and sharing. Using 3-D “lifesize” text, you can display your event or brand name prominently, creating a sense of buzz and encouraging people to interact with it. It can provide a great backdrop or selfie opportunity for excited, shutter happy, guests.
Instead of posting signs or banners on that blank wall, project the live feed for your social pages. This is particularly useful if you have created a hashtag for your event. Guests can make posts and snap pictures using that hashtag and see it appear on the wall in realtime. This pleases guests at the event AND can help spur interest from the public at large, establishing potential marketing strategies that will help promote future events.
This is a visual statement. If you have the space in your budget, reach out to local florists and create a wall made of flowers. Again, this provides a great opportunity for guests to take pictures to share on social media.
As marketers know, influencer marketing has a significant impact. This online branding should be considered as part of your event planning and marketing strategy.
You don’t necessarily need to run out and score a bunch of Instagram celebrities to promote your brand (although, if you can get them, it wouldn’t hurt!), you can leverage people in your own community. Ask and encourage people to share images of themselves participating in activities that relate to your brand or your event. Get permission and then share these images on your social pages and event website as part of your marketing efforts. This promotes word of mouth advertising and generates excitement for your event.
Forget name tags, and go with event badges instead. This is branding your guests will wear all day and take home with them. Put your branding on the lanyard and add your social channels and website to the badge. You can even add a QR code that will enable them to download the event app so they can plan their movements or link it to a special offer from your organization or one of your sponsors.
Work in interactive games stations as part of your event design. Think Scrabble stations, or branded building blocks. Guests can head to these stations and play crafted games that will deepen their connection to your brand or to your event. You can even give out prizes to the winners to encourage greater participation.
Branded Team Uniforms
Have your event management team, staff, and volunteers wear branded clothing. T-shirts are always a good idea. You can include logo, hashtags, or the event tagline. Not only does this present another opportunity for you to brand the event, but it also gives the chance to further build brand awareness. These t-shirts can be worn out in the community long after the event is completed. The staff will become walking marketing campaigns.
Brand Your Food
Aside from branding pens, notepads, conference folders, and other take-home items, you can brand some of the food you will be serving. Maybe brand some cupcakes or put your logo on lollipops. Depending on the type of event, you may consider making a signature cocktail and serving them in branded cups or glasses. One of the things guests often remember most about an event is the food, take advantage of this with a little branding.
A successful event brand will increase attendance, grow revenues, and create a deep connection with your audience. The advice in this article will get you started down the correct path as you build a brand for your event and start promoting the event. Carefully consider who you are and what you have to offer. Once you know these details, you can begin building a branded event that everyone will remember!