5 Key Steps to Increase Audience Awareness With Event Branding
Brand awareness is something that all companies strive for. Whether it’s to make a name for themselves in their industry sector or to try and grow their customer base, the more people that know about a brand, the more business it is likely to generate.
There are plenty of marketing strategies that help to boost brand awareness, one of which is hosting a branded event. Whilst more budget and planning are required to pull off this kind of marketing approach, it’s one of the most effective ways that a business can get people talking about what they do and sharing branded content that reaches a wide range of people.
If you’ve never organised an event before, the prospect can seem daunting, especially with specific goals in mind. Equally, you may have event planning experience but never have thought much about event branding before and how this ties in with increasing wider brand awareness.
In this article, we explain what event branding is, explain how events can be used to create brand awareness, and share advice on key steps and event branding ideas to pull off an unforgettable experience.
In this article:
What is Event Branding?
Event branding is a kind of branding that focuses specifically on promoting an event. This involves the event logo, marketing material, website, decor, speakers or guests (if relevant) and even the free merchandise offered to attendees.
The event branding approach is an event marketing technique, sometimes requiring a separate team depending on the scale of what is being organised. The intention of this is to create a brand image that is instantly recognisable and associated with the company behind the event, helping to increase awareness and develop a unique image that stands out from competitors.
For stand-alone events, event branding is all about creating a clear and memorable impression that communicates the intentions behind the event and the experience you’re trying to facilitate. In the case of companies organising an event as part of their wider marketing strategy, event branding should be used to create clear links to your business whilst also carving out space for the event as an individual occurrence.
Each aspect of branding an event comes down to how you are going to communicate brand image and values through everything from the colours of your promotional content to the experiences you offer attendees. It can be quite a complex marketing technique, but it’s one that can make a big difference in brand awareness.
Why Events Can Help Create Brand Awareness
One of the key reasons that events help with increased brand awareness is that they are incredibly engaging. Whether helping on-person or online, attending an event puts target audience members in a space where they are directly impacted by branded material and can often tangibly engage with it. This creates a much more memorable experience than simply being exposed to and passively viewing marketing content.
Events are also a successful approach because they often show a more ‘human’ side to your brand. This not only comes from the fact that they allow you to directly engage with attendees, but also that you’re allowing attendees to interact with others at the event within a branded environment. Not only is this likely to engage your attendees emotionally, but this personal aspect will make the event, and therefore the brand behind it, much more memorable.
The scale of events and the different elements involved means that you have a lot more to work with when it comes to how you can apply your branding. Not only can the name, purpose and itinerary of the event be connected to and promote your brand, but you’ve got lots more areas to play with, from the food and the venue to the decor, gifts for attendees, and the experiences on offer. Attendees are therefore exposed to much more branded content than with other marketing approaches, which increases awareness and recognition by immersing them in your brand.
Finally, hosting an event can help to increase brand awareness because of the potential for sharing content inspired by or connected to the event. Not only can you end up with plenty of photos, videos and audio recordings that can be shared and repurposed, but all of your attendees can also document and then share their experiences. You’ve got the potential to reach a massive audience in this way, boosting brand awareness by helping your branded content get in front of audience members you don’t have direct access to.
5 Steps for Planning a Memorable Event
Planning an event that increases brand awareness is all about designing an experience that is memorable and clearly associated with your brand image and values. Here are five key steps to follow that will help you organise a branded event that makes an impact.
1. Set Event Goals
All good event planning begins by setting goals. If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve with your event you won’t have a clear idea of what you need to include, and could end up wasting your efforts on an event that doesn't actually make a difference to your brand.
We’re talking about using events to boost brand awareness here, so one of your main goals will likely be to achieve this. It’s not enough just to have this as an overarching goal of the event however; you need to drill down into precisely what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do this.
First, think about how to measure your goal. With brand awareness, this might be the number of mentions that your brand gets online during and after the event, the number of new followers you gain after the event, or the rate of engagement with your marketing content.
Then, decide on benchmarks that you want to reach for each of these measurements. Be realistic, but make sure that you set yourself a target that indicates positive improvement.
Finally, decide the specific approach you’re going to use to reach each of these targets. For example, if you’re trying to grow your social media audience, could you include QR codes at that event that take attendees straight to your profile and encourage them to follow you
2. Clarify Your Message
Next up, you need to gain more clarity on the kind of brand image you’re trying to create and communicate with the event. Increased awareness is your overall goal, but what kind of message are you trying to share through this awareness?
Perhaps you’re an event planning company that simply wants to encourage more people to attend the things you organise. The message of your event branding should focus on establishing who you are, the audience you cater to and the success and enjoyment of your events.
Alternatively, your brand might be hosting an event that aligns with a particular value. Everything from the tone of voice and messaging in marketing material to the businesses you work with for catering and venue management should link to this value to strengthen the message.
The message you want to send with your event will influence a lot of what it involves, so it’s important to clarify this early on before you get stuck in with planning and designing other elements.
3. Decide on Visual Branding
Visual branding plays a massive part in audience awareness. In some cases, your target market might not yet know your brand name, but they will be able to recognise your distinctive colour scheme, font or graphic style.
There are a lot of different elements involved in visual branding, all of which need their own approach whilst also fitting together aesthetically. This includes:
The event name
The event logo
The colour scheme used in visual marketing and branded content
The font(s) used for content and marketing material
Graphics used to illustrate event content
The event tagline
Your visual marketing and branding elements will be informed by the message and intention of your event. Consider the kind of atmosphere you’re trying to create and how you want attendees to feel, along with the kind of image you want them to have of your brand. Choose colours, designs and wording that emanate this, and ensure that each different element has a similar, recognisable style.
4. Create Digital Elements
Once you’ve got visual branding guidelines, it’s time to take these designs and use them in your digital marketing and event material.
Start with your event website. Even if you’re planning on hosting the event in person, you still need a website where attendees can buy tickets, learn more about your brand, and find information about what’s going to be involved.
For many attendees or potential attendees, an event website is the first touchpoint where a brand image starts to be established. You want to come in strong with the imagery and wording that you use here to immediately establish a recognisable style that the viewer is going to remember.
As well as a website, consider whether you’d benefit from having an event app. This is particularly useful for things like conferences and trade shows like IBTM World which usually last for several days and require quite complex scheduling. An app organises all the information about the event in one place and creates a personal service that attendees can make use of if they need it.
Again, you’ll need to incorporate the visual elements of your brand image into the design of this event app, on top of ensuring that it’s easy to use and free from bugs or glitches. The more you can customise it, the better.
Many event organisers make use of an email marketing campaign to build excitement for their event and keep attendees interested and engaged once they have purchased a ticket. This is another digital element that you can use to strengthen your brand image, especially if it means you can keep in contact with attendees after the event and grow awareness in this way.
Finally, prepare a style guide for the event branding posts you’re going to share on social media. These must be recognisable as belonging to your brand and will ideally also be linked to the event, so use a distinct colour palette, graphics and fonts to achieve this.
5. Make Onsite Branding Plans
If your event is taking place in person, there’s plenty you can do to establish a memorable brand image in the venue you choose and the way that this is decorated. The budget and scale of your event might impact how far you can go, but it’s something that should definitely be considered when planning how to increase brand awareness.
Go back to the message you want to send and the atmosphere you're trying to create for your event, and choose a space that is going to help with this. Then think about how you might decorate or simply just organise the space with this intention in mind, making sure that it works with the event itinerary.
Signage and decoration should be done with visual branding in mind, using the same colours, graphics and fonts that are echoed elsewhere in your marketing material. You should also incorporate this aesthetic into any gifts or freebies that you’re going to be offering attendees, so that when they look at the product after the event they’re instantly reminded of your brand.
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In the events industry, branding is one of the most important things that can influence how recognizable your business is and how many people are aware of what you do. There are plenty of different aspects of event branding that come together to establish a brand image, and the key to making this memorable is ensuring that the same goals, message and visual style run throughout every one of them.
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