Get Ready for the Big Event
Superior event experiences lead to increased brand loyalty.
Events, whether online or in-person, are a great way to increase brand awareness, develop your pipeline, and build relationships with your current customers. Take the time to make sure you are creating an experience that will have long-lasting benefits to your bottom line.
Branding an event is different than branding an organization but the process is quite the same. Think of your event as a microcosm of your total brand experience. Use these questions to guide your process.
What are your goals?
What do you want to accomplish with your event? Brand recognition, relationship building, fundraising, education, employee enrichment, and personal growth are all possible answers. Think about big picture goals and the small conversions you want to achieve. Do you want to build your database? Grow your membership? Cultivate warm leads? Knowing your goals from the start will help you to build in opportunities to achieve them. If it is about relationship building you need to have an opportunity to socialize. If it is about education, you’ll need qualified experts to lead sessions.
What is the theme?
A theme for your event can help make it memorable by adding an element of emotion. Think about what emotion is right for your brand and for this event specifically. What do you want your attendees to feel when they walk out the door—joy, trust, delight, admiration, awe? Then tie your subject matter to this emotion. Your theme should be tied to your brand’s bigger purpose but it’s not going to live forever so it can be a bit more ephemeral.
What is the attendee journey?
Take the time to map out your attendee journey to establish the touchpoints you’ll have with them along the way—save the date, invitation, reminder, registration, event space or online tool, learning activities, social activities, giveaways, follow-up. For each of these steps you might have several communications that should tie into the overall event theme. Carefully plan each interaction by putting yourself in your attendee’s shoes. Are there too many emails? Not enough? Is the type large enough on nametags? Is the line too long at registration? Are there enough bathrooms? Is the screen sharing software accessible? Is the swag bag too heavy or bulky? Pay attention to the user experience.
And for each interaction, make sure you are building in opportunities to achieve your goals. Are you collecting the right information on the registration form to be used later? Are you asking for opt ins in certain situations so you can judge warm or cold leads?
What is the event’s visual look and tone of voice?
Establishing a clear visual system and tone of voice for your event will ensure participants will find their way to you from the save-the-date postcard to the follow-up survey email. And they won’t wander off into another event being held in the same location. It should be tied to your brand’s visual and verbal system but again, an event doesn’t live forever so you can play a bit more and have some fun.
How are you going to get it done?
Events are complicated and require a lot of upfront planning to find the right venue, get the right technicians involved for AV, shift to an online experience if necessary, coordinate payment systems for fundraising, and have the right refreshments on hand. Each of these elements will reflect on your brand so make sure you have a dedicated team and an event planner on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly. If you don’t have the team on hand, start small. Think about a lunch and learn or a happy hour versus a three-day seminar. You can always grow year over year once you start to gain some traction.
Event branding can be a lot of fun as long as you plan ahead. The stress comes in when you don’t have enough time to pull off that amazing idea. But the right event can gain customer loyalty that will last long after the last balloon has popped.