Why should people use their hard-earned money to buy a ticket to your event and spend their valuable time attending that event? What does your event promise to attendees? Your answers to these questions are the essence of your event brand.
In simplest terms, a brand is a promise to consumers. Over time, the visual elements of a brand instantly communicate that promise and set consumers’ expectations for what they’ll get when they buy a brand’s products, services, or experiences.
What does the Apple brand promise to consumers? What does the Disney brand promise to consumers? The logos, packaging, taglines, and experiences associated with these brands consistently deliver on their promises. To create a successful event brand, you need to do the same thing.
A recognizable brand that evokes feelings of trust in consumers’ minds will always sell better than an unknown brand or a brand that doesn’t consistently meet consumers’ expectations for it based on the brand’s promise. In other words, if you create a recognizable event brand that meets consumers’ expectations over time, you’ll sell more tickets.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the first five steps you need to take to begin developing your event brand.
1. Identify Your Event Brand Promise
What is your event’s purpose? What are your goals for your event? With that information in hand, think about what your brand promises to attendees. This includes not just the tangible things they’ll get when they attend, but also the tangible things.
For example, someone who attends an air show might get feelings of excitement and joy from the event. Someone who attends a Renaissance festival might get feelings of camaraderie. Emotions play an important part in identifying your event’s brand promise.
Consider how your event is different than any other event that people could attend. Use that information to develop a brand promise that positions your event as uniquely capable of meeting attendees’ needs and wants.
2. Determine Your Event Brand Image
Your event brand image is your event’s personality. How do you want people to perceive your event? Is it fun or professional? Is it conservative or anything goes? Is it affordable or luxury?
Think about car brands to get an understanding of how your event’s brand image can have far-reaching effects. What image do you associate with the Mercedes brand? How about the Rolls Royce brand? The Hummer brand? The Kia brand? The Mustang brand? Each of these brands has a different brand image that instantly communicates the brand’s promise and sets consumer expectations for it.
What image do you want your brand to convey? Once you determine your event brand image, everything you do and create in support of your event should be consistent with that brand image.
3. Define Your Event Brand Voice
Your event brand voice refers to all of the messaging you create to promote the event and educate people about it. Will you use playful messaging or serious messaging? Will you use a casual or formal style?
For example, a fun, casual event that caters to millennials could use marketing copy that incorporates text message abbreviations, and that copy would be perfectly acceptable to the audience. However the same language used to promote a formal, highly professional event that caters to the same audience would be inappropriate. Why? Because the language is counter to the brand promise and image.
In other words, your language (i.e., brand voice) must match your brand promise and your brand image.
4. Develop Your Event Brand Identity
Your event brand identity includes the visual, auditory, and olfactory elements that are used to communicate your brand promise and set consumer expectations. For event marketing, the most common brand identity elements that you might consider creating include:
- Color palette
Note that imagery in the above list refers to the type of photos and graphics you’ll use to represent your brand. For example, will you use photos of people in casual clothing or suits? Will you use stock photography or clipart drawings? Will you have custom, professional photos taken and only use those in your marketing materials and communications?
Remember, every aspect of your marketing communicates your brand promise, and consistency is essential. Confusion is the number one brand killer, so develop your event brand identity and then use those elements everywhere. Deviation could lead to dreaded confusion and lost ticket sales.
5. Create Tangible Assets for Your Event Brand
With your brand identity elements developed, it’s time to create tangible assets for your event brand. These assets will vary depending on the type of event your holding and your budget, but below is a list of some tangible assets you could create for your event:
- Ads and marketing materials
- Ticket sales page
- Social media profiles and pages
- Lanyards and ID tags
- Email marketing
- Promotional items (swag)
- Event mobile apps
The key is to use your brand identity elements on all of your tangible assets to consistently communicate the brand promise. This includes tangible assets used before, during, and after your event.
Your Next Steps to Create Your Event Brand
Once you’ve completed the five steps discussed above, keep going. Brand building doesn’t happen overnight. Do you think the Apple brand became the powerful brand that it is today quickly? No, it took decades for it to grow to one of the most valuable brands in the world.
For your event brand building, be consistent and persistent. In time, your event brand will become more recognizable and ticket sales will increase. Remember, branding is about setting and meeting consumer expectations based on a promise. That means all of your communications and actions should support that promise.
Just as in life, if you fail to keep your promises and fail to meet people’s expectations, their opinions of you will be tarnished. They might turn away from you in search of someone else who will consistently meet their expectations. Branding works the same way. It’s a relationship, and your brand’s “behavior” is judged by people in the same way that they judge behaviors of the other people in any relationship.
Bottom-line, keep your promises to consumers, and your bond (i.e., relationship) will become stronger, sales will go up, and loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing will increase.