We all know that branding is the key component to the growth of a successful business. It’s what makes you stand out, and be recognizable to your audience, and it’s what sets you apart from your competition. Most importantly, it’s what makes you, YOU! Branding can go beyond a business identity. As we have seen the rise of influencers on TikTok and Instagram, we know that even a person can be a brand.
One thing that often gets overlooked, though, is the importance of event branding. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of building a brand around your event and some of the elements, ideas, and tips that can help your event branding improve. Let’s start by providing a real-life example of an event brand that our team recently had a hand in.
Introducing: Run the Rails: a half marathon starting in Historic Downtown Union City, TN. The race’s inaugural year was in October 2021, and Twin Oaks was honored with the task of promoting this first-of-its-kind event. Where did we start you may ask? Completely from scratch!
Step 1: We needed a logo. And colors. And an entire branding kit. Whew!
This is THE place to start. Developing your style guide is the first step to developing any brand, and events are no exception. Marketing is largely a visual thing, so it’s important to cross this off the list first and stick with it for brand consistency. You want your audience to quickly recognize your event as it is being promoted across social media, print materials, ads, and any other medium. If you want your event to have a specific tagline, this is the part where you develop that as well. Think of this as your springboard for all the elements you will be developing later on – you want them to look consistent!
Step 2: We needed to develop our WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?)
There are two audiences you are preparing to speak to in this step. One is obviously your potential attendees. Why would they want to come to your event? Is there a specific type of audience you are targeting to invite? In our case, we wanted runners from the local area and beyond, since many travels for races. We also wanted to include other race lengths for those who were not interested in the half marathon. Then, we considered family members traveling to support their speedy loved ones. Adding shopping, music and food trucks rounded out the event to make it welcoming and enjoyable for all.
The second audience you must consider is a very important one: your donors. If this is a fundraising event, can you clearly state your mission and where the proceeds will go? It is important to promote and verbalize the purpose and end goal of what you are trying to achieve. In our case, we clearly stated on the Run the Rails website the mission and where proceeds from the event go. We wanted to make sure we gave credit where credit was due, so we made sure to give our sponsors some love on social media in the lead-up to the event.
Step 3: Invite the people!
Marketing statistics tell us it takes up to 6 different impressions to have a consumer “buy in” to a product or service. Buying in or deciding to attend an event is no different. Determine how you are going to reach your audience and do it in a variety of ways. To promote Run the Rails, we decided to do the following:
- Yard Signs
The more people who see your event represented out in the community and online, the more recognizable it becomes to them, ESPECIALLY when it is branded consistently. We used a variety of media to get the word out to reach a wider audience.
Step 4: Keep that consistency going through the actual event
The big day has finally arrived! Now is the time to pull out all the stops. Make sure your signage, banners, tickets, welcome packets, t-shirts, and everything else are consistent with your event branding. Remember those sponsors and donors we talked about earlier? Find a great place to put them on display at your event to tie in that “WIIFM” so they remember the value of their contribution when you approach them again for future events.
Pro tip: make sure you get tons of pictures the day of to use for future event marketing! You won’t have to start from scratch next year.
Step 5: Don’t forget to promote a job well done after the event is over
You did it! Give yourself a pat on the back and high-five your teammates. One important step that is often overlooked is the follow-up promotion of an event. You want to use this time to again, thank your sponsors, and announce the success of your event to drum up interest for next year. We made sure to post results and pictures on our social media and send thank you letters to our sponsors. You may consider sending in a press release to tout the success of the event. All of this will help in continuing the momentum of your event brand for the following year.
- 143 Runners signed up
- Runners from 7 states
- We were able to give a check to the historic Masquerade Theater for $10,000
We know event planning is a labor of love, but when you see the fruits of a successful event, it makes the next year even more exciting. Of course, Twin Oaks is always here for backup if you need assistance! Take it from our community partners:
Take it from our Community Partners
Marketing Director, Twin Oaks Technology