I was recently hired to create a custom brand for a city-wide community visioning workshop. The idea was to create a custom event brand and use effective marketing strategies to create a sense of “newness” and community buy-in and trust in the event.

I decided to write about this experience and branded events to highlight the importance of branding in general and to demonstrate the entangled connection between branding a product and a branding an event.

The purpose of the event was to develop a community agreed upon vision for the future of the City. The City had conducted similar exorcises in the past, but had never gotten enough community input and consensus to really identify the City’s vision.

This where I came in… They wanted to ensure high-level turnout from residents and they needed to create a sense of excitement, a sense that something new was going to happen this time around.

From a marketing stand-point the project was a huge success. Turnout was high, people were excited, and the residents embraced the opportunity to work together like never before.

During the course of the project I developed a custom logo, brand name, slogan, website with public commenting, postcards, t-shirts, custom PowerPoint layouts and handouts, and integrated the event with a local street fair going on during the same weekend. All of which worked together to produce an amazing branded event that people are still talking about a year later.

Brand Name

Ever heard the expression, “what’s in a name?” From a marketing perspective the name is Everything! The brand name is one of the most crucial elements of developing a product’s brand image – and events are no different. Without a good name, you have nothing.

Slogan

A good slogan is critical to helping people commit a brand to memory. Slogans are crucial when developing verbal identity and setting a brand apart from the crowd. When it comes to branded events, a slogan is nearly as important as the event name itself. A good slogan should convey to the audience in a clever way what the event will be focused on, how it will be branded, and what the audience should come to expect.

Logo

A well branded event must have a custom logo. Logos are often overlooked and in their place people use a company logo instead. I believe that it is of critical importance that a custom logo, specific to the event, be developed. This creates a sense of differentiation and promotes the freshness and excitement of the event. I like to incorporate the brand/event name and the slogan into the logo when possible. This adds to the impact of each element and makes all three parts (logo, brand name, slogan) more memorable by presenting them in a cohesive graphical manor.

Here is the logo of the event I recently branded:
Sample Logo

Notice how I have tied together the brand name, slogan, and logo into a cohesive package. If you are really good, you may also notice the playful way in which the brand name mimics the city name through the use of similar letters and sounds… This is no accident!

Experience

Tie it all together! Construct a branded experience by tying everything together and leaving no detail untouched. Everything from your invitations, logo, post cards, venue, decorations, banners, table settings, speakers – has to do with your brand image. It is critical that you use everything to your advantage and keep it all on message. Cohesive marketing and branding go hand-in-hand, everything that a participant encounters during a branded event must be consistent. Your goal is to burn the brand into the audience’s mind at every possible turn.

Next time you plan an event (of any size) take some of these ideas with you. With proper execution you can take your meeting or event to the next level and produce an experience that people will be talking about for years to come. Remember that no event is too small, even a birthday party can be branded!