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Event Branding: Long-Term Value, Short-Term Action

Event Branding: Long-Term Value, Short-Term Action

By Allison Saget

Think of all the events you’ve planned or been to in your lifetime, from industry conferences to client hospitality dinners to kids’ birthday parties. Considering all those examples, I believe kids’ birthday parties do branding right: It starts with a theme (“Shrek”); décor and materials — invitations, plates, napkins, gift bag — all match; and kids often play a theme party game. Do you get the picture? The key in this scenario is consistency, and it’s the fundamental principle to apply in branding events.

When producing an event, always integrate the brand. This could be as simple as the logo or as complicated as the corporate identity, such as the company name, product or positioning statement. Brand recognition is bigger than just events; it is an integral part of the marketing mix. It is a long-term initiative that demands short-term action. The single, most important piece in maintaining a company’s message is the brand.

Event branding emphasizes image. Companies with strong existing brands need to continually maintain dominance and positioning, while firms lacking brand recognition must seek to make a name within their competitive space. When it comes to the event execution, almost everything I create is branded — from the pre-planning phase to onsite to post-event activities. Branding requires a formula, and it affects every touch point throughout the event cycle. Think of the number of corporate events you’ve attended in which thousands of dollars were spent and in which hundreds of targeted prospects were in attendance. But while looking around, you realize you don’t know who is sponsoring and what their message is; nor do you even meet a company representative.

The secret is to leverage and incorporate the brand any place you can, on any budget. The key is in the approach. Event branding can be accomplished simply by presenting your company or product name in a variety of marketing activities throughout the event. For example:

  • “In-Your-Face” branding: Everywhere you look, your company name, your product name or your graphic image representation (conference brochure ads, hotel room keys, lighting, napkins, cocktail stirrers, signage, ice sculptures, table tent cards, hangtags, and more) must be visible.
  • Subliminal branding: What image are you trying to project with your brand? Most people look at branding as one-dimensional “gotta get the name out there.” However, it is much more than the name. It’s also the image. Match the image to the live environment, but remember the detail or logistics because this is where you’ll get snagged.

Branding is something that you can accomplish in one well-thought-out event. Brand awareness is something that you work on for years and is an integral part of a company’s marketing plan.

Allison Saget is president of her own event marketing consulting firm, (http://www.eventblt.com), and author of “The Event Marketing Handbook: Beyond Logistics and Planning.” Allison can be reached at allison@eventblt.com.

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