By Annie Ratcliffe, and Jenny Faucher
As a reader of Corporate Meetings Network, you know how to run an event and make it fabulous — a welcoming atmosphere, stunning audio/visual, delicious catering, and technology that work together to ensure happy attendees. However, there are components to an event that too often are overlooked – for example, eye-catching, informative, branded design materials.
From the start to finish of your event, whether it is a three-hour cocktail networking event or a three-day international conference, having an array of creative, exciting, branded content can elevate your event in every way imaginable. Some of your events may be done year after year, but no two events should ever be the same. If you find yourself falling back on the “same old,” consider some of these pointers to help you elevate your event brand and take it to the next level.
Attention and anticipation
There’s no doubt that the easiest way to raise attendance at an event is to spread the word through save-the-dates and invitations, whether in print or in digital form. Studies show that, as discovered in McKinsey & Company’s Why Marketers Should Keep Sending You Emails, email is 40 times more likely to bring in new clients than a post on a social media account.
E-blasts are there for a reason — they’re direct, personal, and, if they stand out, they can help to bring in more attendees. According to the Social Media Examiner, even Twitter posts with images receive 200 per cent more engagement and 150 per cent more retweets! Clearly, there is no better way to spread the word than in an image.
Sending out a text-based email is a sure-fire way to communicate event information, but it’s easily lost among the mass amounts of emails most people receive in a day. Having a unique branded image that contains all relevant information is an easy way to make your e-blast stand out of a crowded inbox, and into a recipient’s attention, as well as increasing anticipation about your event.
“Save the dates and Invitations are typically the first point of awareness that guests have leading up to an event,” says Daniella Bustamante, an event coordinator at Managing Matters. “With first impressions being extremely important, those initial promotional pieces are crucial in shaping guest expectations and ultimately getting them interested enough to register.”
Atmosphere and experience
A designer’s job is not just to make things look nice, but also to consider how the materials will be used to play into the overall event brand. Sometimes even the small touches can really make a difference, for example having a golf program that folds nicely and sits well on the cart to promote the upcoming silent auction.
Creating a brand around events that evolves over the years can contribute to the event’s prestige as it becomes more familiar within its industry and gains recognition. Having solid, interesting and appropriate graphic design is central to building this recognition.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Graphic designers might guff at their work just being called “pictures” but attendees will remember your event from its visual components. Details on table settings, menu design, name badges, PowerPoint backgrounds, programs, signs, apps and other graphic materials (including video) help to convey the meaning of the event, and create lasting memories.
Elevating your brand
Graphic design is also about creative problem solving. Designers love to come up with interesting and innovative ways for you to activate your brand at events or during the pre-event promotional stage. Sometimes the old sign on an easel is great, but the sky is the limit – why not ask them if they can recommend something new? Branding for events can happen with any budget and can be applied to almost anything with events.
Graphic design can be dramatic and eye catching. It brings more opportunities for people to want to look at materials that have your branding, or information about your event, group or organization. Having branding that is consistent and displaying materials that can be easily identified as belonging to you helps attendees remember who you are based on simple elements like shapes or colours.
Attending events is a sensory experience. With people listening and talking to others, or smelling and tasting of fabulous food and beverage, what will be the feast for the eyes?
About the authors
Annie Ratcliffe is Creative, Graphic and Web Designer, and Jenny Faucher is President, at Managing Matters. For more information, visit www.managingmatters.com.