DNA is a marvel. This incredible complex blueprint is what makes every human individual genetically unique from everyone else (biological twins excluded). Your genes determine your characteristics, from height to eye color. It is what inherently makes you, you. Why am I talking about genetics when you are here to read about show branding? Here’s why. The very essence (DNA) of what distinguishes your event from the rest needs to be evident in your branding. What characteristics make up the DNA of your show? What makes it quintessentially and unmistakably your event?
The Event Blueprint
How you brand your show communicates expectations to customers. When it comes to branding, first impressions are crucial. It can make or break your message. We don’t like to acknowledge that we are capable of making judgments based on appearance alone, but sometimes instinct takes over; which makes branding a huge deal. Branding is what is left when the event is over. Essentially, it’s your event’s legacy. So, let’s iron out the basics and what it takes to brand your heart out:
Logo and Tagline
Your logo should be, to some extent, what your target customers want and need it to convey without losing your core message. Shows don’t get the kind of logo planning that other brands do simply because of the time factor. It takes a long time to establish a relationship with a brand and logo. That isn’t the case with events. You have a limited time to promote your show and create identity awareness, so relish these tips:
- Creative is what you are aiming for, but if it’s ambiguous, people probably won’t understand your message or your event.
- The logo needs to translate across all kinds of media: social, print and web. How does it look in black and white?
- Once you’ve selected a specific color palette, stick with it.
- Consider incorporating the date(s) into the logo.
- Consistency is key. If you aren’t going to be consistent, don’t bother. Yes, Seriously.
- Research competitive shows, you want to make sure you are different from the rest.
- Keep your tagline simple. Don’t try to say too much. If you communicate with too many words, people are going to miss your vision.
- Make your tagline encompass the best of what your show is.
All The Media
It *should* go without saying that promoting your show on social media is a no-brainer. So, instead of telling you that you are out of your mind to ignore plastering your event on every available social media outlet, I’ll assume that you’re all in. Remembering that consistency is key, you want all of your social media posts/banners/etc to follow these simple rules:
- Your event specific color palette should be the same across all aspects.
- Your event font (or series of fonts) also needs to stay consistent. Please, don’t use Garamond Bold on Facebook and Alternate Gothic on your posters. And for the love, just say no to Papyrus.
- Create a voice and stick with it (humorous, professional, or casual).
Hashtag Like A Boss
Hashtags need to be an integral part of your social media strategy because they are very effective at promoting your event and facilitating online buzz. Here is what you need to know to #HashtagYourEventToAwesome:
- Keep it simple, fun, and easy to remember.
- Be unique. Search your idea first to make sure it hasn’t already been taken so it won’t confuse your event with someone else’s.
- Consider including the location in the hashtag.
- Don’t deviate from the official hashtag.
- Post it on everything relevant to your event. Be shameless.
Once you have all the elements of your branding sorted and finalized, it’s time to put it all together. This means creating a formal document as your “official brand guide” and sending it to relevant parties that will help you implement your strategy. You will also want to get your branding kit into the hands of your exhibitors. This way they can market the fact that they will be attending the show and can use the proper event branding to do so. The kit should provide them with the following:
- Official show logo(s).
- Proper messaging.
- Banners to place in e-mails, with the correct colors and fonts.
- No excuses for inconsistencies.
After you have channeled your inner Don Draper (or Peggy Olson), it’s showtime! Authenticity is everything to attendees, and failure to deliver on the branding promise would be a huge missed opportunity. You have worked hard to build up expectations for your show; confidently stand behind your message and bask in the potential.