Why Event Branding is Even More Important For 2012

As our consumer brains generate filters against the over-saturation and anonymity of virtual branding, offline events have never been as important as they are today. Companies who prioritize online advertising might sometimes be missing out on the branding-potential and rewards of live events.  And for the companies that do produce live events, the importance of effectively communicating the brand has dramatically increased.  That’s not accomplished by simply putting your company logo on an event invitation anymore.  Engaging consumers takes more.  An event needs to have a brand of its own that not only communicating the company’s message and goals, but also the message and goals of the event itself.   Events that stand-out on their own are more likely to gain the attention of your target audience. Many successful event planners now leave the logos behind and instead create “experiences and environments” (also see this article on expert tips for event branding).  The same questions that are asked when building a company’s brand should be asked for building an event brand.  How do you want your target audience to view your event?  What emotions and feelings should the event evoke?  How do you want your audience to interact with your brand before, during and after your event?  The automotive industry frequently designs events that promote a specific lifestyle particular to their audience.  Jeep creates events centered on an active, adventurous lifestyle while Bentley produces high-end, luxurious experiences.  In either case, a guest is connecting to the brand consistently and long after the event is over.  This is where you get a large return on your investment. Small mistakes can create a disconnect, and we have seen it happen many times.  It is startling when a technology or media company does not effectively utilize technology in their event process.  If a company is selling cutting edge technology, it should use cutting edge technology during their events. Similarly, we have seen luxury brands distribute gift-bags filled with fliers, or worse, fail at establishing the exclusivity of a guest-list.  A brand can’t sell luxury if the guest experience is not luxurious. Successfully branded events motivate your target audience to future action.  Assuming you have the right people in attendance, you have a large opportunity to create movement among your core demographic.  Take the time to consider the goal of the event, which may be independent of the ultimate goal (i.e. selling more product).  Is the goal to have the guest commit to a meeting?  To go to your website?  To provide you with more information about future needs and feedback?  To create word of mouth?  Evaluate these goals and determine how you will measure success.  Create takeaways for your guests consistent with your brand and your goals to effectively motivate your attendees.   Think of events as opportunities for your audience to more actively engage with your brand.  The Internet has certainly given us the ability to reach more potential customers than ever before and more tools to make our events successful.  In 2012, the smartest companies will be the ones who use online technology, digital and social media in conjunction with live events to complement and enhance their brand identity.  These are the companies that will have the invaluable opportunity to create branded experiences and environments that we simply cannot have online. ************** Stephanie Sullivan is a market manager for Event Farm, an innovative technology company providing a fully branded online guest registration and ticketing platform and mobile check-in apps for the events industry.   Photo Credits: Sami Heiskanen
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