Creating an event isn’t only about attracting an audience. Certainly, you want people to attend. However, it’s also an opportunity to draw attention to your brand and enhance your status as an industry leader. Everything you do leading up to the occasion, as well as the event itself, either contributes or detracts from this goal.
Event Planning Branding Do’s
Here are some tips to keep in mind for event branding.
Know Your Brand Identity
It’s important to create a brand identity that’s consistent throughout your marketing, both online and offline. Branding should be evident on your website, social media marketing, and advertising. Your brand identity includes:
- Your logo
- The type of images you display
- The style and tone of your language (e.g., formal vs. casual)
- Colors and fonts
- Knowledge of your audience, which will inform the topics you cover and how you address your readers/viewers
Your brand strategy should be evident in all materials and promotions connected to the event.
Display Your Logo Everywhere
Seize every opportunity to promote your brand by ensuring your logo is in front of people as much as possible. Instead of confining your branding to just your website and advertising, extend it to every aspect of the event. For example:
- Event guide/schedule. The guide isn’t just a useful sheet of paper to help orient attendees but also a prime opportunity for branding. Invest in quality paper and design so people are impressed as they walk in the door. Include your logo, mission statement, contact info, and other promotional content (though not so much to distract from the actual event) in the guide.
- Decor such as banners, signs, and wall hangings. All of these should display your logo.
- Create branded cups, snack packaging, napkins, and other items at the event. Give away branded promotional products such as pens, water bottles, t-shirts, baseball caps, or other items. As a result of these giveaways, hundreds or thousands of people can leave with products displaying your logo and the event branding.
Engage in Consistent Branding Across Platforms
You’ll want to ensure you’re promoting events consistently on all your channels and platforms. This often gets overlooked, particularly when work is shared or split by a team.
- Social media. Discuss the event on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media sites on which you’re active. Post images and video to draw more attention. If you don’t have footage from past events, you could still post images or videos of presenters and photos of relevant books, locations, and so forth. Sponsored social media content can be useful for describing your event (e.g., sponsored Tweets and Facebook posts).
- Content marketing. Your blog and any third-party sites where you post content such as Medium, LinkedIn, or Tumblr, are also good for promoting events. In this case, emphasize information and don’t be overly promotional. You might include a Q & A with one of the presenters or cover a topic that’s relevant to the event. For example, you could write a blog post on a similar topic and then advise readers they can learn more by attending the event.
- Email. Sending messages to your subscribers well in advance to promote your event. Emails are good for advertising early bird discounts. Use a newsletter template that features your logo.
- Offline promotions. Signs, billboards, flyers, and ads in print publications are other options for promoting an event. Such offline tactics can be useful for attracting a local audience. Once again, don’t just list your event but include your logo and information about your company.
The website Marketing Charts reports that social media and email are the most effective event promoting channels. However, cross-promoting across channels helps to reinforce your message and increase awareness.
Highlight Past Events
If you’re holding a recurring event, it’s helpful to showcase highlights from past years. You’ll often see this approach at music festivals, where the website will often feature images and videos of performances from past years. It’s equally helpful to display footage from prior business and other types of events. Letting people see past footage reinforces branding and creates a sense of continuity. It also gives potential attendees (or sponsors) an idea of what to expect.
Event Branding Don’ts…
There are also some practices to avoid in your event branding.
- Promoting the event but not yourself. Remember not to focus on an event as a one-off, isolated happening. It should be presented as part of your brand. Always include your logo, information about your business, and links to more information.
- Promoting too little or too late. People are busy and distracted these days. They need frequent reminders about upcoming events. They also need plenty of advance notice to make plans. Don’t be afraid to bombard your website visitors, social media followers, and email subscribers with multiple reminders about an upcoming event.
- Inconsistent branding. You don’t want to use conflicting branding strategies that will confuse people. For example, writing about an event in a very formal and professional way in your blog while posting lighthearted and humorous images on Instagram isn’t effective for brand building. While each platform demands a slightly different approach, you still want to stay consistent with your overall branding style.
- Neglecting to stay in touch. An event is a brilliant way to begin or strengthen your relationship with attendees. Don’t forget to follow up by staying in touch via email, social media, phone, or direct mail. Capture as much contact information as possible, both before and during events. Afterward, ask attendees for feedback to help you make improvements in the future.
Every Event Is a Chance to Build Your Brand
While you want your event to be successful and profitable, you should also look at it from a long-term point of view. All of your promotions as well as what happens at the actual event, reflect upon your brand. Remember that everyone who sees your promotions, even those who don’t attend your event, will end up forming some type of impression. It’s crucial to stay on-brand with everything you circulate and publish. Start to see events as not simply ends in themselves but as a way to highlight your brand and business.