Hosting events like a conference, gala, or trade show is a valuable way to capture audience attention and foster growth. However, it’s important to ensure your organization’s event stands out and leaves a lasting impression. This is where event branding comes into play.
Branding a successful event goes beyond including your business’s color scheme and logo. It requires a holistic combination of strategic planning, creativity, and attention to detail. Through compelling visuals, well-thought-out messaging, and personalized attendee experiences, you can create an event to remember.
From start to finish, here are some important branding steps to take when planning your event.
Define Your Visual Identity
One thing that will immediately make your event both memorable and impactful is a well-defined visual identity. A cohesive and captivating visual identity helps create a unique and recognizable brand experience for attendees.
Start by determining the overall theme or concept of your event. Consider the event’s purpose, target audience, and desired atmosphere. Choose a theme that aligns with your brand and resonates with attendees. This theme will inform the venue, décor, entertainment, and activities.
Next, create a distinctive event logo that both represents your brand and captures the essence of the event. This logo should be able to stand on its own and convey the event name and visuals that symbolize the theme. Ensure the logo is versatile and can be used across various event materials, from large signage to swag items like apparel and drinkware.
Then, develop a design scheme. Select a color palette that reflects your brand and complements the event theme and logo. Use fonts that align with your brand’s and event’s personality and are easily readable. Integrate design elements such as patterns, textures, or graphics that enhance your visual appeal. Consistency is key here—the entire design scheme should be cohesive across all event materials.
Develop Your Messaging
“Messaging” refers to the way you communicate your event’s key value propositions and vision to the audience. Every message an attendee receives should be clear, engaging, and motivating.
First, define the core purpose of your event. What problem does it intend to solve? Craft a concise and compelling statement that articulates the reason for your event and helps attendees understand what to expect and how they should prepare.
Your messaging should also highlight the unique value your event offers. What knowledge, insights, or experiences will attendees gain? Infuse your messaging with the event’s vision and overarching goals. By aligning your messaging with this vision, you’ll create a sense of purpose, inspire your audience, and build excitement about what is to come.
Once you’ve developed your event’s messaging, keep it consistent across all of your marketing channels. Your website, social media, ads, emails, and event collateral should leverage the same tone, value propositions, and vision.
Build a Marketing Plan
Once you have the messaging and visual identity of your event, you can begin to put them into action through an event marketing plan.
To maximize your impact, start by setting realistic goals. Ask yourself what outcomes you’re hoping to achieve through marketing.
How many people do you want to register for the event?
How many people do you want to attend the event?
How much do you hope to fundraise at the event?
How much in sales do you hope to earn as a result of the event?
Then, you can build a marketing plan with your goals in mind. Identify the channels you’ll need to use to reach your target audience. Would they be most responsive to emails, social media ads, mailers, or a combination?
Consider these core marketing methods:
Website landing page: Create a dedicated event website or landing page for prospective attendees. This serves as a one-stop platform where they can register and access essential information like location details, speaker lineup, dress code, registration costs, and more.
Direct mail marketing: Send attendees event information they can hold in their hands. Postcards, brochures, preliminary programs, and formal invitations are tangible and less likely to be skipped over. For easy access to your registration site, include a QR code!
Create a Unique Attendee Experience
The build-up is in motion; now it’s time to prepare for the day of the event. Many elements go into creating an immersive and engaging experience for attendees—from signage to interactive media to swag. Plan ahead to ensure you have all these materials and activities ready.
Large- and small-scale signage is crucial in engaging attendees and reinforcing your brand. Use your event theme, logo, and messaging to design quality signage that transforms your venue.
Wayfinding signage: Directional signs, arrows, and destination markers help your attendees navigate the venue without confusion and get where they need to be.
Photo backdrops: Give attendees something fun to interact with by installing a themed photo backdrop, step-and-repeat, or freestanding display. Guests can take and share their photos to spread the word about your event.
Provide a physical welcome packet to attendees with all the printed materials they’ll need to enjoy your event.
Name badges and menus are useful in helping attendees network and interact with what your event offers.
Programs and brochures help attendees learn about speakers and decide which sessions they’d like to attend.
Handouts and training materials provide space for note-taking, reinforce what attendees have learned and serve as a reminder after the event is over.
Everyone loves swag! Design unique, themed promotional items that you can pass out to attendees throughout the event or in a goodie bag as they head home.
Apparel: Wearable items are practical and help spread the word about your brand with every wear. Consider passing out branded shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, and hats.
agBox: Create an “event in a box” filled with promo that guests can take as they leave your venue. Alongside brochures or printed collateral, send attendees home with custom promotional products like pens, chapstick, notepads, drinkware, or tech items.
Don’t forget to infuse your event with lively entertainment and hospitality! Partner with vendors to make your event a truly enjoyable, comfortable, and memorable experience.
Catering: Provide your guests some food and beverage options that are reasonable for your type of event. A gala might require a sit-down dinner, while a conference might offer grab-and-go snacks or a coffee bar.
Live music: Hire entertainers or musicians to give attendees something to enjoy during downtime or at the end of the evening.
Event app and social: Create your own smartphone app to host event information, schedules, maps, and social forums where attendees can interact. You can also create hashtags to encourage people to post on social media.
Follow Up After the Event
Don’t lose momentum after the last guest departs! Keep your brand top of mind by engaging attendees after your event is over.
Digital marketing: Create a campaign with digital touchpoints for attendees and followers. Send a follow-up email with helpful resources, a response survey or highlights from the event. Share photos on social media to drum up excitement for your next gathering.
Direct mail: Ensure each attendee receives a personalized experience by following up via direct mail. A hand-written thank you note goes a long way with sponsors, donors, and other supporters.
Strong Branding Benefits Your Events
Hosting an event goes beyond booking a venue and putting together an itinerary. By planning ahead, you can infuse your event with cohesive designs and messaging that support your vision and create a truly memorable experience.
Do you need guidance in planning an upcoming event? AlphaGraphics Pittsburgh helps organizations elevate their trade shows, conferences, and other events with large-scale signage, professional printing, custom promotional materials, and much more! Visit our website and contact us to get started.