Build it and They Will Come: Five Characteristics for Branding Your Event

Viktor Nagornyy explores building a brand for your event with five key components.

This is a guest post from Viktor Nagornyy, founder of event planning guide, Viktorix.com. You can connect with him on his personal blog, http://viktorsblog.com.

Imagine that you are going to a pharmacy. There are dozens of generic names for the one drug you need. If you are like many people, however, you will likely pay a premium to get a name that you trust.

Why? The brand.

Pharmaceutical companies know that branding allows them to separate from the competition, build loyalty, and bring in revenue. It is more than just a logo; it’s an opportunity to trigger emotional responses from your audience. Use this mentality for your event, and you will begin to separate yourself from the competition, too.

What’s in a Name?

Which sounds more memorable? The Third Annual Riflemen Convention, or Bullseye 2011? Most people would say the latter.

You can always include a full, official title of the event as a sub-heading, but a punchy and unique title will stand out. If your event name has a cool abbreviation, use it! Just remember to make sure it’s unique.

Once you do have your name, get a domain name with .com extension. A unique brand requires a unique online presence. Plus, it’s easier to remember and give out to people.

Identify with a Pro

“Let’s create a logo and we have ourselves a brand.”

This is what many people think about when they think, “branding”. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Brand identity encompasses several things: logo design, color palette, Web site design and collateral materials.

Once you have a name for your event, spend the money on a professional graphic designer to design a professional brand identity. Work with him or her to come up with a color palette that matches what your brand represents.

People trust good design and it pays off to have it done professionally. The identity will serve as a visual memory trigger, unlike brand personality.

Give it Personality

Personality is one of the most important parts of an event brand. The event’s personality is defined by the event experience. The experience is a combination of the physical, mental, emotional, and social characteristics of your event.

  • Physical characteristics rely on the location and visual impression. What do people see when they are at your event? Is the area clean and well-organized, or are the trash bins overflowing?
  • Mental and emotional characteristics help trigger an emotional connection. Do people have enough time to get a lunch break or will they be hungry through some of your sessions? Does your staff and volunteers treat everyone with respect and friendliness?
  • The social characteristic is about networking, socializing, and talking. Your event should create bridges, not simply boat people from one side of the river to another.

Dive into Dialogue

People love talking, especially when they have questions and you have answers. Be there for them.

Be the social brand, not just “buy this” brand. Engage people on social media platforms by starting conversations. Find industry Twitter chats and participate in them. Let your brand talk. Ask people for feedback about your event, and ask them to submit suggestions when you’re in the planning stages. Reward those with good suggestions that you will implement.

Talk to people and make sure it’s not a monologue; you absolutely have to know how to listen. Engage in a conversation and listen to what your audience is saying, and the dialog will be key to building your brand.

Offer Something

Your brand needs to offer something that your competitors don’t offer. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it needs to be unique.

A few years ago, I implemented a VIP pass for one of my clients. We charged $50 on top of the ticket price. Features (which cost my client nothing) included reserved front row seating, priority check-in, and a pass with VIP on it. What happened? The passes sold out, with people emailing each week asking for availability. People love status and they didn’t mind paying premium for it.

Figure out something unique that you can do that your competitors don’t do. Maybe it’s a fundraiser, maybe it’s an entertainment party, but whatever it is, make it yours!

Properly branding your event will allow your team to make waves in the event industry and within your specific niche. Stop wishing for luck and start creating your own luck by creating a unique brand that will rock people’s socks off.

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