At one point in my career, I found myself planning around 75 events a year for various clients across the U.S. and in Canada. From bar activations to sampling events to hospitality events at the PGA, my clients wanted to differentiate their brand and leave their customers with a positive lasting impression. Along the way, I’ve learned that events are only successful if they are branded and promoted properly—and what some of the best practices are to do just that:
Approach the event like a marketing campaign
Start by setting clear objectives. Are we looking to increase brand awareness? Increase sales of a product? Show appreciation to customers? It’s also important to identify and understand your audience for your event. An event geared towards kids and an event geared towards C-suite executives are very different propositions. This is also the time to set measurable goals.
Name your event (with the brand in mind)
If your brand already has a lot of brand recognition, why fight it? Include it in the name of your event. Use words that are unique to the event, but keep it simple. The Color Run, for example, is a run that involves colored powder being tossed over runners. Finally, always vet the name. Look at similar events and competitor events, say the event name out loud and potentially even involve a trademark attorney.
Create the logo and brand for the event
A logo design adds a sense of professionalism and additional visual brand elements add cohesiveness. (Full disclosure: I even created a logo monogram for my wedding!)
Secure the venue
A venue sets the stage and shapes the experience. Some are a blank canvas, while others have a distinctive style. It’s important to choose one that properly reflects your vision for the events and your brand itself.
Create a sense of exclusivity
As marketing executives, we’re typically concerned with appealing to the masses. We want to generate awareness and reach as many people as possible. But it’s no secret that people like products, services and events that are exclusive. People want what others can’t have and love feeling like they’re one among a select few. So, it’s important to create a sense that they are chosen to attend. Easy ways to accomplish this include sending out invites, stressing that tickets are limited and having an area for VIP guests.
Weave the brand into an experience
Once you have your brand elements, integrate them throughout the event! Use your logo on napkins, project your logo onto the floor, give away your product at the event as a party favor, or introduce a new product or service at your event.
Use technology and social media
Social media is an easy way to further promote your brand. Your imagination is the only limitation here. So encourage guests to post on social media by entering everyone who posts a photo into a drawing. Create a Snapchat filter for your event. Host a live stream of those who post their photos. Include a post to social media option in your photo booth. And don’t forget to pound (#) it and create a unique hashtag!
In our competitive world, using the power of partnerships to gain marketing exposure is essential to the success of your event. Look to form strategic alliances with other strong brands in order to broaden the reach of your event, increase marketing exposure, extend your marketing budget and gain new customers. Leverage partnerships with the venue or your entertainment—and seek out partners who would have a shared interest in the event’s success and promotion.
After the event, send a thank you email to those who attended. It will leave them with a lasting positive impression of your brand. If you’d like to track the success of the event (as well as accompanying sales), a coupon is also a great option to check engagement.
TMG’s work has included branding and promotion of events for the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, The Establishment by MassMutual, 43North – The $5 million startup competition, Sullivan’s Brewing Company, Reddy bikeshare and many others. Learn more about our work.