Today, event branding and experience are more important than ever before. 48% of event attendees find in-person interactions with brands more valuable than 2 years ago, according to a study by Live Marketing. Live experiences – conferences, workshops, and tradeshows and more – help connect brands to their audiences in ways that other marketing channels cannot.
What sets apart average events from events that wow is – branding. According to event experience provider, Freeman, 9 in 10 Marketers agree brand experience delivers more compelling engagement. To achieve an experience that will leave attendees wowed and ready to take action, it’s important to create a strong event brand.
In this guide, we’ll deep dive into event branding and explore everything from what event branding is, through how to create a cohesive brand experience.
What is event branding?
First, let’s look at branding in the most general of terms. Branding is the process of giving meaning to a product – the product can be just about anything, a physical product like an iPhone, a service, a city, an event, etc.
Looking specifically at event branding, it is leveraging your organization’s brand to create a unique brand experience in live events. While your event brand should reflect your organization’s brand, it should also have a brand of its own.
Event branding includes the event logo, colors, and imagery, and also has grown to include larger messaging elements that speak to the objective of an event and what attendees should expect to gain from the event.
To achieve an event brand, these elements should come together in a cohesive experience across all of the event’s touchpoints, including the onsite look and feel, as well as event marketing elements and the event’s digital presence.
Why does event branding matter?
Your branding tells a story and says a lot about your business. In the past, branding was seen as a novelty, recent studies show just how important cohesive branding is for an organization. Today’s largest group in the workforce, millennials, places a value on branding. 60% of millennials, surveyed in a study by SDL, expect a consistent experience from brands whether online, in-store, or across other platforms.
A cohesive brand experience pays off. Consistent branding across all channels increases revenue by 23%, according to Forbes. Delivering a cohesive brand experience is rewarding for your audience and your business.
In addition to revenue, branding can impact a business in multiple ways. According to Branding Mag, branding is important and strong branding helps an organization:
- Get recognition
- Increase business value
- Generate new customers
- Improve employee pride and satisfaction
- Creates trust within the marketplace
- And strong branding supports marketing and advertising
Beyond these important benefits of a brand, there’s a less tangible reason why event branding is more than ever – compelling event branding creates the event experience that we now come to expect.
Let me repeat, brand experience is important. With so many competing priorities, brand and experience play a big role in attracting attendees and keeping their attention once you have it.
Elements of an event brand
Event branding is an exciting opportunity to present a cohesive story and experience across many touchpoints. Let’s look at the common elements.
Logo. While it can incorporate or pull elements from your organization’s logo, it should be unique.
Colors, fonts, and graphics. It’s important to establish these brand elements and stick to them across mediums to create consistency and recognition.
Event theme or tagline. What is your one-line elevator pitch? Now cut that in half, refine it a bit, and you’re creating your event tagline.
Naming conventions. Is your event a conference? A seminar? A symposium? Establish your event and use the naming consistently.
These are the key brand components that will be applied across all of your touchpoints as you promote the event and on the big day.
Online brand and digital brand elements
Event website. All of your brand elements will come together on your event website. This is often the first touchpoint for potential attendees, so it’s key to establish your brand on this platform.
Registration and ticketing. Carry your branding over to your registration platform, even if you’re using an external platform like Eventbrite.
Event app. Guidebook apps, for example, enable a high level of customization to fit your event’s brand.
Event emails. If you’re using email to promote your event to your network, these emails should align with your overall event brand. Use your branding elements, including fonts, colors, and graphics to align your emails with other digital platforms.
Social media. Leading up to your event, use your social media channels to highlight your event. To do this, you can change background images, header images, and profile photo to reflect your upcoming event.
If you’re not using email and social media to promote your event, you could be missing your audience – check out How to Create a Successful Event Marketing and Promotion Plan
Your attendees have interacted with your event virtually, now it’s time to bring your brand into real life.
Signage. From key signage like welcome and on-stage signage to smaller elements like directional signage, every sign is an opportunity to further create a cohesive onsite experience.
Decor. The furniture and decor also play a role in creating an onsite experience. Pay attention to colors, design, and style when picking out decor and consider whether it compliments your branding.
Swag. If you choose to give out swag at your event, take the opportunity to incorporate your branding into your giveaways to leave a lasting impression.
Booth design. For events in which you’re exhibiting or have a booth within a larger event, all of the above elements are important on a smaller scale. Focus on telling a strong brand story within the confines of your booth.
Tips for creating a stand out event brand
Define and understand your audience.
Before you can create your brand elements, it’s important to first understand who your audience is. Think about basic demographics like gender and age, and also consider interests, lifestyles, and more, in order to get a full picture of who you’re engaging.
Lay a brand foundation.
After you know your audience, you should begin to think about how you want your organization to engage with your audience. Brainstorm what your event stands for and how you want it to be perceived. Is your event meant to be educational, fun, technical? The intent behind your event should play a role and help guide your event’s branding. Similarly, think about how this event relates to your organization as a whole.
After brainstorming these topics and messages, developing a brand for your event should flow more naturally.
Develop event brand elements.
With clearly defined audiences and goals, you can connect the dots to develop branding. To do this, pick brand elements that resonate with your audience and speak to your messaging.
For example, if you’re hosting a symposium to bring together HR professionals, you may want to choose calming colors and fonts.
Or, if you’re organizing a hackathon for early-career developers, you’ll want to look at colors, imagery, and fonts that speak to an audience of technical gen-Xers. Think about incorporating bright imagery and technical language.
Make sure your brand elements are cohesive.
As you develop brand elements such as logo or colors, keep in mind that each element should work well with the other elements – both online and live at the event. So, when deciding on colors, you should think about how they will be applied in everything from emails to onsite signage.
Guidebook understands how important event branding is to the success of an event which is why we enable users to fully personalize their apps with brand colors, logos, icons, and more. Our intuitive platform makes it easy for anybody to create a mobile Guide for any occasion. Want to learn more? Request a demo with one of our product experts.