It doesn’t matter if you are planning an 8-person tea party in your backyard, a 200-person wedding by the beach or a 1,000-person trade fair in a convention center, these events all need extensive planning. Event branding has long been a practice in many special events before it even got its name. It could be as simple as the practice of using custom monograms to adorn favors, programs, and decorations, the application of a color motif for the outfits and decorations or the use of a certain type of music to liven up a party. All of these things make up your event brand.
Now I know some of you may say, this concept is overkill for a small children’s party that I’m planning for my 7-year old daughter, but really it’s not. Whether you’re planning a big event or a small event, you always put an effort into the lots of little things that make up the party theme.
Here are 5 simple steps that will help you build an effective event brand:
1 Identify your target audience: Who are your guests?
Before you start making other decisions you should figure out who you hope to appeal to the most. This will be your guiding light.
Consider the demographics. Are you expecting mostly male or female guests? What age group? What kind of lifestyle do they have? Their tastes, personal preferences, and hobbies. What kind of music do they listen to? Understanding your target audience will help you create an event brand that will appeal to them.
2 Define your brand characteristics: What is your event about?
Now that you have identified your guests, the next step is figuring out what your event is about. What do you intend to achieve? What kind of experience do you want to give them? Walking away from this event, what feeling or memory do you want your guests to take with them?
Be precise about your mission and vision, this will define your brand. In application, your brand’s characteristics should be reflected in everything that you will create for the event beginning with written content, collateral design, graphics, and the entire experience.
3 Design your Visual Identity
What is a logo? A symbol or design adopted by an organization to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, etc.. The logotype may also come in the form of a monogram. It represents your event’s identity and allows you to be picked out in a crowd easily.
Your logo should be distinctive, visually appealing and it must represent everything your event is about. The choice of logo, fonts, color palette and other visual elements that you decide to use for your event will define and represent your brand once you start applying them across all your event collateral like invitations, programs, favors, party supplies, decorations, brochures, tickets, etc.
4 Set up your website
Although this might be a little overkill for a 1-year-old’s birthday or a 7-year-old’s backyard tea party, bigger events like weddings, anniversaries, reunions, launch parties, conventions, and other corporate events may require an event website. In these cases, it is essential to establish your brand in all media platforms that you choose to use to establish your visual identity. For smaller scale events, you can apply your logos/ monograms or visual themes to your Facebook page or Instagram and all other social media outlets you choose to engage with people.
5 Shout about it
Event promotion is all about building up the anticipation for your guests. Do not forget that the first point of contact starts with your announcement. For most events, this happens on the day your guests receive their invitations in their mailboxes. This is why it is crucial that the initial contact shocks and awes the receiver. The design of your invitation will say a lot about your event. It is an introduction, a prelude, a preview to what’s coming ahead. At this point, your guests are already deciding whether they will or will not attend. If you make it compelling enough they might just say yes or give it a maybe. But if your message comes across as boring, your invitations might just end up in the trash bin. So do not skimp on your invitations if your budget allows it, hire a professional to create this for you.
Past the point of introduction, you may continue to engage with your guests via your website. Events that require you to communicate more information than the basic what, when and where, should use a website or Social media page to provide more details. Be sure to have the link printed in your invitation that directly takes them to this page. For the tech savvy, a QR code would be very helpful.
Blogging and posting updates on your website or social media page is a way to keep your audience interested and excited. If you haven’t lost their attention yet and have given your invitation a maybe, this might just make them want to go. Be sure to maintain your event brand throughout.
Take the time to write the narrative for your site or page to make sure that it goes along with the style of the event that you are planning. Make it personal. Talk about the various activities you have planned out. Tell them why they absolutely must not miss the event. Be sure to make it personal.
I know for those planning a small children’s party this will seem too much and you’re probably thinking ‘I gotta do all of that???’ but to simplify things, it comes down to knowing who you are doing this for, considering what they like, picking a theme, keeping it in mind as you plan along and sticking with it.