Event branding offers organizations the unique opportunity to amplify awareness. It is for that reason that it’s unfortunate to see those who address event branding with indifference. Too frequently have event planners been so concerned with getting bodies in the room and having the right speakers that they forget to think about what guests will experience once there.
However, with an increased focus on ‘instagram-able’ moments in marketing (Forbes), more and more companies are placing an emphasis on delivering dynamic and distinctive event design. Design that dares you to take a selfie.
Let’s be honest, a step and repeat is not what people want on their social media pages. They want boomerangs of cheersing glasses and dramatic backgrounds. Guests want to be immersed in an environment that is an experience in itself. That is why it is more important than ever to find clever ways to fit your brand into ‘grammable’ moments.
Branded glasses? Yes, please! Not only does it get your brand into every picture of a guest holding a drink, but you will make it into a few more Instagram stories.
Through the power of distinctive and dynamic design, businesses can harness the massive potential event branding offers. With that said, a full-scale, successful event branding exercise requires an intelligent and detailed oriented approach to every facet of the event.
Last month, we had an opportunity to try our hand at branding our annual summer happy hour. Here’s how we did it:
Event branding is an ongoing process that should begin at the impetus of event planning and carry through the end of the event itself. This summer happy hour wasn’t just any happy hour, but kicked off NJI’s 10th Anniversary. With that in mind, we wanted to find a way to weave our 10 year celebration into a memorable happy hour.
To do so, we began a firm-wide brainstorm activity in which we landed on several ideas that we thought capture the spirit of the event. We kept coming back to the question of what were we doing when we were 10-years-old in the summer? Summer camp, of course! At last, we had our theme: Camp NJI.
When planning an event, it is important to think about the event theme and branding from the onset, as that may influence your venue, your caterer, and how you market the event. In this light, it is important to float as many branding concepts as possible to reach a solution that is not only interesting but practically feasible.
The Lead Up
The success of nearly every event relies heavily on how you execute the lead up. For event branding, it’s important to make a point to create assets early with the purpose of building awareness of the event and setting the tone. One example is save-the-dates which act as a teaser of more to come. Invites and save-the-dates set the tone early; in our case, set the stage for a fun happy hour that will bring you back to summer camp.
Our creative team set out to create invites that had both relevant event information and eye catching designs that depicted Camp NJI.
When setting about creating such collateral, it’s important to keep in mind the role cohesion plays in building up your event. A consistent tagline across your emails, print media and tickets can create a sense of recognition leading up to the event. A core aesthetic theme throughout the design, like a specific color scheme, can have a similar impact. Additionally, smart branding will create flexibility that can be used in follow-ups and on-site branding.
After you’ve spent time and effort leading up, don’t forget to make sure the event itself is well-branded! When designing the event itself, we made sure that everything came back to one core overall aesthetic. Whether it be signage on the walls or case study material on the TV, bringing everything back the the Camp NJI theme. Driving everything back to the Camp NJI theme allowed us to bring the process full circle, and left a lasting impression on event attendees.
We also made the Camp NJI brand interactive with branded lawn games, and immersive with dynamic lighting and imagery to fill up large spaces. Don’t feel like you need to fill every wall with signage if well thought out lighting or gobo will suffice. Clever event branding reminds you that you are at an X-company event without plastering the logo and tagline on every square inch.
Remember: it is about the experience. The experience is what leaves the impression, not how frequently they read your company tagline.