What separates a good event from the best event of the summer? Some people will say the food; others will say entertainment. When you think about it, it's all about providing an exceptional experience to everyone involved and standing out from the crowd. The perception and reputation of the event all come down to its brand.
Think of what all significant events have in common from Coachella and VidCon to Dreamforce and Relay For Life. While they serve wildly different purposes and appeal to different audiences, they all have expectational event branding.
InitLive has worked with many top event producers, from large festivals and conferences to sports tournaments and fundraising events. We understand what it takes to plan an exceptional event that’s fully branded and optimized to engage the right audiences. This guide will provide you with everything you need to create memorable event branding that drives higher attendance and engagement.
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What is Event Branding?
An event brand is simply a marketing practice in which a company or organization creates a name, symbols, colors, messaging, and imagery that distinguish a unique identity for an event. The event brand should stand out from its competition to make it memorable to its target audience.
All elements should join together to create a cohesive experience across all of the event’s touchpoints, including the onsite look and feel as well as the marketing elements. Overall, an event’s brand tells a story and says a lot about the organization that’s hosting it.
Why Event Branding Matters
An event brand is an incredibly important method for communicating what your event is to your target audience. To make sense of many competing priorities, an event brand should indicate what kind of experience an attendee should expect based on their first impression of your brand.
In addition to revenue, a well-rounded strategy can impact a business or organization in multiple ways. At its core, these are the most common event branding goals:
Communicate the event’s vision
Generate new interest from prospects
Attract sponsors and vendors
Create trust and loyalty
An effective brand will be memorable and have long-term appeal. When it’s all said and done, the experience and underlying message will be what guests remember, and an outstanding event brand will help attendees recall positive emotions related to your event.
The Core Event Branding Elements
Creating an event brand is an exciting opportunity to create a recognizable identity for your event that communicates a cohesive and interesting story to your audience. A brand’s DNA is made up of a number of elements that effectively tell a clear story about your event. This section will explore what elements go into an event brand’s DNA.
Foundational Element of an Event Brand
Your event brand is all about communication. How you communicate information is through a collection of visual elements and messaging that work together to deliver your message. As we touched on, these elements are your logo, slogan, colors, graphics, and fonts; they make up your brand’s DNA. By combining all these elements, you can create a cohesive story and identity that resonates with your audience and makes your brand stand out from the crowd.
Digital Event Branding Elements
Digital marketing channels have become the most important part of any event marketing strategy over the past decade. Most people receive all their information digitally now, which is why investing in exceptional digital event branding and marketing content is so important to your event’s success.
Here are the primary digital marketing channels to consider investing in for your event branding and promotions:
Your Event Website- This is by far the most important channel to invest in. This is where your audience will look first for important information about your event, making it the place to set your event’s brand and tone. Investing in an exceptional event website that utilizes all your branding and makes it easy for customers to buy tickets to your event and volunteers to sign up to work your event. Your website should be a resource for all your stakeholders (including media outlets) to access important information about your event.
Social Media Channels- Your social media platforms are where you can really establish your event brand and voice online. Your social media channels should be used as a place to get your brand out there and get people excited about your event. Social media is the perfect place to flex your unique sales proposition for your event and make a case for why people should attend your event over your competitors.
Event Aggregates/Marketplace- There are many places to promote your event to great audiences. One place is through an event aggregate or event marketplace like Eventbrite. These channels allow you to expand your reach and gain new customers.
Local Media - Craft a brand story that incorporates the local community and includes how it can boost the economy for businesses that get involved. Once you have a good message, you can distribute that messaging to local media outlets to attract locals to your event.
Influencers - Make a list of the top influencers your target audience follows, and offer compensation (money, branded swag, tickets, etc.) to social media influencers to promote your event to their followers. This can really boost your event’s reputation by harnessing the trust influences have built with their communities.
Spending the time to solidify your online event brand allows you to expand to larger audiences and successfully amp up excitement among your community. Spreading your brand across the right digital channels will prove invaluable in the long run, helping you to make meaningful connections that extend beyond the event itself.
Onsite Event Branding Elements
Now that you have created your digital brand identity, it is important to deliver on that brand during your event. People will expect an exceptional experience, and part of that is the look and feel of your event itself.
Your event should bring your brand life and make it an experience in and of itself. That's where print media comes into play during your event. Don’t underestimate the power of beautiful signage and event swag to your brand and event experience.
Here is a list of onsite event brand elements to include in your event:
Branded Signage - Every sign should remind people of what event they are at. That means everything from the entrance to the exit sign and everything in between should be branded.
Branded Map and Agenda - Your event map and agenda should be branded as well. They should get attendees excited to participate in all the amazing experiences and entertainment you have worked so hard to plan.
Food and Drink - Consider taking your brand story to the next level by incorporating it in the food and drinks offered at your event. That could be by offering branded reusable water bottles, cutlery, or cups.
Photo Opportunity Booths - Set up branded photo backgrounds or other experiences to encourage your attendees to take pictures and promote your event out through their social networks.
Your onsite experience is the prime opportunity for showcasing your event’s brand. A cohesive onsite experience that’s fully in line with your vision will be what resonates with attendees and makes a lasting impression.
Tips for Creating a Standout Event Brand
Now that you have a good idea of what goes into creating an event band and how you can leverage it to make your event successful, start considering how you will create a successful strategy. Here are some tips to help you start off on the right foot and create a truly standout event brand.
Tip #1) Create awesome event graphics.
Visuals matter. You want every graphic you use to communicate what type of experience your event is going to deliver to your attendees. If you are planning a tech conference, you may want to communicate that there will be great speakers at the cutting edge of technological innovation and that people will leave having learned a lot. In that case, you will likely want to promote your keynote speakers in your event graphics.
No matter the type of event, your graphics should follow your event’s color pallet and typography. When choosing any stock images, make sure to pick ones that are high quality and that you can use it throughout all your event promotions and advertisements.
Tip #2) Brainstorm memorable event branding ideas.
As an event, you want all your attendees to leave with something that reminds them of the great time they had and to make sure to purchase a ticket again next year. That is when a novel experience captured through a photo or a cool hat can make all the difference. For example, most events provide swag bags and t-shirts to their team of volunteers not only to thank them but to act as a reminder to come back next year. This strategy can be applied to your attendees; you can simply build it into the ticket cost.
Here are a few ideas to spark some inspiration:
An event swag bag or survival kit - This is a collection of items like hats, water bottles, pens, and more that can be used during the event to enhance the attendees’ experience.
Event Experience Passport- Give each attendee an event passport and encourage them to get their passport stamped at various locations and experiences. Once they have completed it, offer a great prize they can take home with them (like a t-shirt).
Social Media Scavenger Hunt - Leave clues on social media and ask people to take pictures with clues once they find them on social media for a chance to win a big prize.
These extra elements can impact engagement tremendously and directly impact your event brand. In turn, this extra effort up front can go a long way in securing long-term engagement and boosting future attendance.
Tip #3) Be consistent with your event branding.
Previously, branding was seen as a novelty, but recent studies indicate just how vital cohesive event branding is for an organization. According to this branding statistics report from Forbes, consistent branding across all channels increases revenue by up to 23%, and delivering a cohesive event brand is rewarding for your audience and your organization.
No matter if it is a sign for parking or a simple social media post, everything your event communicates has to be on-brand. A brand means a consistent look, tone, and style on everything your event communicates.
This is important to maintain a high-quality level of professionalism and brand recognition. The last thing you want to do is make a bad impression on a promotional Instagram post after all the work that went into crafting the perfect event brand.
Additional Event Branding Resources
Now it's time to get out there and start planning your event’s brand. Remember to start by doing a competitive analysis to ensure that the brand you create stands out from your competitors. From here, you’ll have a good sense of what you need to do to refine your branding and create an exceptional experience.
Remember, InitLive is here to help you every step of the way. Our event staff management software takes care of all the backend processes, so you can refocus your energy on strategizing. Explore our features page or get a free demo to see how our platform can empower your team to create an exceptional event.
Looking to learn more prior to planning your event? We have compiled a list of resources to help you embark on your event planning journey:
Event Planning Guide -Navigating The World Health Organization's COVID-19 Recommendations. Event planning is already challenging enough without additional obstacles thrown your way. Check out this eBook for actionable strategies for navigating today’s atmosphere.
Volunteer Engagement | Strategies for Smart Organizations. Are you relying on volunteers to run your event? Learn how to create a standout experience and maximize their engagement with this guide.
The Complete Step-by-Step Festival Planning Guide for 2021. Festivals are one of the most popular types of events that organizations can host. Follow our complete playbook to make your next one stand out.