When you’re lost in the midst of planning every minute detail for your event, chances are you could overlook the most important aspect of all – building a powerful brand that speaks volumes about who you are.
In a nutshell, branding is what your events look and feel like. To brand your event is to inject the personality or heart of your company through primarily a visual medium. If your event were a person, what would their personality be? Friendly, fun, inspirational? By thinking about these kinds of questions you can be sure to create a brand for your event that will connect with your audience – by meeting their needs for entertainment or information.
Why is Event Branding important?
So why does branding matter? Branding your event helps you to build the right kind of relationship with your audience. They’re coming to your event for a particular reason, right? So by creating a brand that promotes who you are, you can gain trust, build loyalty and gain exposure from those who resonate with your message.
By building a strong brand that works across all of your communication channels, you share a cohesive message about the core components of your business – who you are, what your event is about, and the benefits your audience will get by attending.
Here’s some tips that will help you brand your event like a pro:
1. Define your unique brand identity
Your brand identity is important as it’s the identity of your company and it communicates what you are selling. If you can’t define your brand, then how can your customers?
Your brand is made up of the following aspects:
- Tone of voice
Defining these brand elements are important, as they’ll be used as the basis of all your promotional material and help build recognition for your event.
2. Keep it consistent
Inconsistency is a brand killer – it sends out a confused message about who you are as a company and what your event can give your audience. Like The Falls Festival, it’s important to keep your brand consistent throughout all of your communication, as it builds trust. By keeping consistency in your messaging, you’re showing that you are reliable and true to your values.
3. Establish an online presence part 1: Social Media
To bring your brand to life, an easy and cost effective way is to create visual content for the key social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. It’s well known that visual content on these channels creates more engagement than text based content, so to establish your presence and build your brand, Canva is a good place to start.
Perth Fashion Festival have created an online presence across all of their channels by using visual imagery and clear typeface that is consistent across Twitter and Facebook
4. Establish an online presence part 2: Inbound Marketing
As you build your online presence, there’s more that you can do that will help to continue to communicate your brand. Why not write a series of blog posts for a trade magazine, build an email newsletter to keep people up to date with your event, or develop a fun infographic that people will want to share? Creating your online identity is as much about promoting it as it is about developing the event itself.
5. Print isn’t completely dead: Create in house posters and flyers
You know, despite the growth of the online world, print isn’t completely dead. By creating posters and flyers for your event, it will strengthen the message of your brand. But it’s important to get it right.
Try to focus on:
Colour: Getting the colour balance right is important. Use the key colours defined in your brand palette, but only choose two or three to make a stronger visual impact.
Typography: Experiment with typography, keeping consistency with your brand font. You can use the way the words are positioned to draw the eye in to your poster.
Composition: The way the poster is laid out will have an effect on how many people are attracted to it. In the Malaga Festival example (bottom right), you can see crowds of people flocking towards the typography. This draws attention to the event in a clever but subtle way.
6. Name the event
In order to really impress you’ve got to come up with a great name for your event. Try to use just one word, or a couple of words so it’s easy to remember and easy to spell. Rather than making a name too literal (like ‘Summer Food Festival), why not try a play on words, like Jamie Oliver with The Big Feastival.
7. Create a tagline
Creating a tagline for your event can be tricky, but if you have a clear sense of your brand, you’ll be able to create one that follows your mission (why your event was created) and your values (what you’re all about). TED does this excellently with the tagline ‘Ideas worth spreading’. Simple, yet effective. When creating a tagline, think about what you’re offering to your audience, and why they should come to your event.
8. Create a hashtag
Hashtags. Those little things seem so powerful in the world of social media, but the truth is not a lot of people know how to use them. For an event, using a hashtag can really ramp up your exposure, by pulling in more potential customers that are searching around that particular phrase. Smooth FM know that to bring more people to their ‘good food month’ and ‘night noodle markets’, it’s not only beneficial to hashtag those terms, but the areas that people may visit from too.
9. Maximise content
When creating that all important event content, make sure it doesn’t have a shelf life. ‘Evergreen’ content is content that you can continue to use, and repurpose at a later date. Disconnect festival created a graphic that was easily customisable to maximise their content, and created several versions to release news on ticket sales.
10. Run competitions and giveaways
To further gain event exposure, follow the pros and create your own competition. Laneway Festival created a fantastic and unique package to create a buzz around their festival. By creating a competition, you’re more likely to gain maximum exposure, as the more exclusive the competition, the more it will gert shared, liked, and retweeted.
11. Get creative with merchandise
It’s important to ensure brand longevity by making sure your event is held in the minds of the audience for weeks and months afterwards. A great way to do this is to sell a little memento in the form of some cool merchandise. The movement Movember sparked thousands of events all seeking to raise money for charity. Their merchandise included sashes and badges, and used their brand slogan throughout to promote the Movember event.
12. Develop user generated content
Once you’ve created all of your content, why not get your attendees to create some for you? Encouraging your audience to take pictures at your event and share will really help to build your public brand image. Clubbercise is a fast growing company that combines dance music and exercise. Fans share their passion for events by taking photos and sharing. When you can create a fun and exciting event, you’ll get your attendees doing your marketing for you!
13. Create a PR strategy
Sometimes you need a little extra help in making your voice heard and your brand stand out. A PR strategy will help you identify the stories in your business and will help you gain that all-important exposure for your event. Do you have an interesting story of how you came to set up your event? Do you have anyone well known attending or interested in your event? Does your event innovate something new or is it relevant to a current news story? By sharing these stories with the press it may just catapult your event to stardom!
14. Speak, speak, speak
Conducting talks at clubs, universities and societies is a simple but yet often forgotten way to build your brand. Talking about your journey and how your event was created can provide trust from attendees and they are more likely to buy into your vision, and perhaps buy tickets for your event. Try your local Rotary Club or Toastmasters.
15. Don’t forget the freebies
By giving away freebies, you’re much more likely to get your audience to stick around. Student event and lifestyle company Unidays give away a free subscription to a newspaper at their events and on their website, encouraging students to sign up as a member.
16. The value of partnership
It’s important not to forget your network. Who do you know that could help you market your event? Is there anyone that might like to partner with you or sponsor your event? An influential business partner could make all the difference when it comes to elevating your brand. Once on board, a partner could sponsor your event, which could mean more mentions on social media, or more merchandise to sell at your event. Building partnerships for events is ultimately about extending your reach.
17. Ask for endorsements
Don’t be shy, just go and ask! It’s better to ask and get a ‘no’ than to never ask at all. By asking for an endorsement, you’re building trust in your brand if the quote is from a key influencer. If someone your audience trusts and likes endorses your event, then you’ll find it a lot easier to increase ticket sales. Who would your audience listen to and look up to? For example, if you’re a festival owner, a great endorsement would be from a well known DJ, who would help encourage ticket sales by describing your event as a ‘must do’ for the festival season.
18. Day by day reveal
To build momentum about your event, why not do a day by day or segment reveal? This works especially well for events like festivals, as Soundwave demonstrates. Build excitement for attendees by a slow reveal of itinerary or speakers, and you’ll be sure to get everyone talking about your event on social media.
19. Connect with your local network
There’s lots you can do in your local area that are simple and cost effective ways to help build your event branding. You can use the local notice boards to communicate the event, online community forums, and free local newspapers or letters. Most local radio stations will also have you on as a guest to talk about your event, further increasing your exposure.
20. Reward loyalty
Finally, once you’ve put in all that effort to ensure people attend your event, you want to make sure they return! Reward loyalty by offering discounts on future events, and consider offering bigger discounts if several event tickets are purchased.
Inspired? Start branding your next event
In summary, to brand your event like a pro, all aspects of your event need to be communicated in the same way. Be consistent, have a bold and striking visual identity, communicate in a way that’s true to your values, and create content that encourages engagement on social media.
Remember that in order to leverage your event, all bases must be covered – branding your event needs to integrate both online and offline communications. And never forget the power of your network to help build your reputation! If you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to create an event that generates a loyal and consistent fanbase for years to come.