What makes an event “must attend”? Is there a well kept secret to persuading your attendees to keep coming back — preferably with a friend or colleague in tow?

If you aren’t prepared to double your budget or hire celebrity keynote speakers, branding is a smart way to stand out — without breaking the bank.

Branding is more than just your logo or catchy tagline. According to Jaleh Bisharat, Eventbrite’s Chief Marketing Officer, a brand is “the mental shortcut we all use — consciously or subconsciously — to simplify the way we think about anything that crosses our path.”

It’s why we think safety for Volvo but not Honda; or how TED Conference came to be known for fresh ideas.

So what makes an event brand great? And how can you create a brand that resonates with attendees? First, let’s examine the essential qualities yours should have.

4 Pillars of a Strong Event Brand

A successful brand can be summed up into a single word or phrase called the brand promise. It’s not enough for your event to promise attendees “the best value” — all events should promise that, regardless of brand. Instead, the brand promise is a statement that articulates what customers — or attendees — can expect from you (and only you).

As you consider your event brand promise, make certain it possess most, if not all, of these qualities.

1. Unique: Above all else, your brand promise must be unique. Potential attendees want to know how your event will compare to others. So, it goes without saying that your event needs to promise something others can’t.

2. Meaningful: In order to resonate with attendees, your brand promise must be relevant to their needs and desires. Developing a deep understanding of the customer is the first step to creating a meaningful brand experience.

3. Authentic: Authenticity is the benchmark all brands are being tested against. To earn trust and credibility, you’ll have to be true to yourself and your brand. “Inauthenticity is one of the main detractors of brand relationships,” Eventbrite Creative Director David Scott says. “Your audience can sense when you’re faking it.”

4. Consistent: Consistency is the last piece of the puzzle. From the first customer touchpoint to the last, every small detail must adhere to your brand promise — from your event website to the post-event survey.

The Brand Pyramid

Distilling your event promise can be challenging. That’s why so many events are clear on their speakers and sponsors but fall short on emotional benefits of attending. Why is that important? A Gallup publication titled, “Customer Satisfaction Doesn’t Count” pointed out that customers who are emotionally engaged with a brand are:

  • 3x more likely to recommend
  • 3x more likely to repurchase
  • Less likely to shop around

Luckily there’s a tool to help you rise above the challenge: the brand pyramid.

Brand Pyramid Level 4

In the example above, you can see how an ordinary athletic apparel company can become something more. To see this tool applied to events (with step-by-step directions), check out this post on How to Create an Event Brand. Or download the worksheet to try it yourself!

The Art of a Brand Experience

A promise is nothing if you can’t keep it. After you’ve carefully crafted and communicated your brand promise to attendees, you’ll be expected to deliver.

Every interaction with an attendee is an opportunity to bring your event’s brand to life. From the speakers and sponsors to the giveaways in your event swag bag, sweating the details will result in long lasting relationships with attendees.

For more in-depth insight on event branding, check out The Conference Organizer’s Guide to Branding or click any of the posts linked in the text above to read the original articles.

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