How To Brand An Event In 5 Easy Ways
Branding is a powerful tool and also a powerful word full of meaning. It has two separate, but closely related definitions.
1. a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.
2. an identifying mark burned on livestock with a branding iron.
A successful brand isn't just a type of product with a particular name, look, and feel - it's something that embeds ideas into your brain. So while I doubt you're a cattle rancher, you'll want to metaphorically leave your mark on your attendee's brains. They should feel certain things whenever they think, attend, or talk about your event. And you want this to happen because great branding makes your event successful in the long run. If you want to know how to brand an event, keep reading.
Wal*Mart shows that you can make more money simply because you have a powerful brand. Go to a cereal aisle and you'll see Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. Sitting next to Kellogg’s, you'll see Great Value frosted flakes. These two cereals offer the same exact thing, however the Kellogg's cereal is higher priced and more commonly bought. This is true even though the Great Value flakes tastes the same and is cheaper. Great Value sells less simply because they lack the brand!
So, how do we not only create a strong brand for events, but create an impression on your attendees? As it turns out, it's much like creating a company.
- Create A Descriptive, Simple Name
Creating a good name can be difficult if you overthink it. At the end of the day what you truly want is just a name that perfectly describes what the event does. The less words, the better. Think of some of the most popular events: Woodstock, Coachella, Burning Man, Live Aid, and Comic-Con. Some of them might describe places, and others describe what they do. But they're all simple and evocative, and you probably got a good idea of what Comic-Con is about just by the name.
- Design A Logo
Designing a logo might seem weird if you're doing a trade show but it's super important. Logos are one of the most important parts of branding. In the case of Starbucks and McDonald's, they don't even have their name on some of their storesThey know that their logos are immediately recognizable. Logos should be simple and generally 2 colors or less. Even 1 color can work since you'll be wanting to have swag with your logo on it. Feel free to do something creative, like with Live Aid's logo being a guitar of Africa. It was a perfect descriptor of the event with music being used to raise money to help out starving and impoverished Africans.
- Create Your Presence
By now, it's pretty well established that people rarely buy something the first time they're exposed to a product or a potential event. Even once they've bought something, companies still have to use channels to keep customers aware of their product. You probably had a Sierra Mist soda before, but if I asked you to name 3 different sodas, would that one first come to mind? Maybe it would, but probably not. You would likely name Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper. Why? Because they do a ton of advertising. So keep this in mind, you need to have an overall presence. This means having not only a website, but having people talk about your event on other websites and blogs. Have branded social media pages and even run ads if you are looking to make a huge impression. keep in constant contact with people once they’ve purchased tickets to your event. Once the event is over, continue contact through postings and emails sent out, especially if this is going to be an annual event. The more you keep your event "top of mind", the more likely you will not only have a lot of return attendees, but a lot of new ones as well.
- Tribal Mentality
From the way some people talk about football teams, you'd think that they owned the team! Overheard:"My Cowboys are going to be so good this year, their offense is totally stacked." You need to make an effort to create this same sort of mark on people attending your event. Make them not only proud to be a part of your event, but also elitist. And I don't mean elitist in the sense that they're walking past a poor person and spitting on them, but in the sense that they feel superior for being a part of it. You can do this through VIP tickets if the opportunity is there.
"Hi, I'm Robert Downey Jr. and when I want to make an event, I use Ticketbud." - Robert Downey Jr.
Okay so RDJ doesn't actually use Ticketbud, but if he talked about it, people would be interested in checking us out. They would look up Ticketbud solely because a popular celebrity (redundant I know) talked about the product. In fact you've probably noticed that a lot of advertisements and products today have a celebrity endorsing the product. This works a lot in part with creating the Tribal mentality, as I mentioned before. I'm totally wearing Levi Jeans right now because a cool action hero in a movie wore them once (okay not really but this stuff does influence you!).
So, in conclusion, you need to have a simple name and logo that combine to create an impression on your attendee. This leads to creating your presence both online and in the real world while continually pushing to make your brand known. You can also easily do this with celebrity appearances and endorsements which will help further your event's appeal.Finally, you need to create a sense of togetherness for your event to help boost numbers and create a following which will help bring in additional attendees down the road.