What propels you forward in your respective industry? Is your brand inspiring? Does it tell a great story? Will it turn customers into evangelists?
In part three of our creative blog series, we’ll follow our Pre-Event Communication and Virtual Platform Design posts to weave the Virtual-as-a-Service web of solutions that help brands create meaningful experiences that reach a broad audience.
Welcome to the Stage…Event Identity and Branding
What is Event Identity?
Isn’t this the same thing as event branding? No.
Event identity is often smushed under the heading event branding. In reality it’s a feature of branding. It includes a company’s name, logo, colors, graphic design assets, and the style, appearance and arrangement of these elements. These run throughout, in this case, an event.
Once you decide on an event logo, use existing brand themes for the visuals of your virtual event. Be mindful not to overlook what are sometimes considered trivial aspects of event identity. Let’s take a deeper look at why event identity is in a category of its own.
The Beginning and the End
In the multimedia project, Brain Rules, by John J. Medina, the molecular biologist says people are likely to remember only 10% of the information they hear. However, “if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.” That is to say the event identity made up of your logo, colors, font, and tone of voice will certainly impact the recognition and trust of your brand throughout the customer journey. Let’s look at what makes up your virtual event identity.
Elements of Virtual Event Identity
The great ones evoke a memory or emotion from your audience, based on their relationship with your brand. It should be simple, easily recognizable and create an immediate visual connection. Audiences respond best to images and logos laid out in a clean and simple way, according to Psychology of Design. Simple designs cut through the noise, making it easier for your virtual event guests to process information.
The psychological effects colors have on your attendees will influence audience opinion and emotion throughout the event. For example, using certain shades of blue instills feelings of loyalty, calm, and serenity. Using yellow in the right way conveys a sense of creativity, happiness, and intellect. Be inspired to create the right mood with color at your event using Pantone’s Guide to Communicating with Color. View the Color Theory Guide here.
There’s a reason hundreds of font styles appear in the drop down menu for writing emails or word copy. In the same vein as colors, different fonts evoke different emotions. By using the right one you encourage decision making and inspire people to share your stuff. How does the below comparison make you feel? Which one inspires action?
Here are the top 10 most loathed fonts according to graphic designers: The Werd from The Marketing Machine.
Tone of Voice:
Anyone ever tell you it’s not what you say, but how you say it? As a result, we consider changing how we say things to make sure our words convey the right message. Likewise, bad things can happen when a company’s event identity and brand have a tone of voice that comes across as anything but inclusive.
Will your current tone of voice drive certain behaviors? You might have heard these numbers before from the Mehrabian theory — 55% of communication is body language, 38% is tone of voice, and 7% is spoken words. If this is true, tone of voice is the personality of your event. It tells audiences who you are and what you stand for. If you’re targeting teenagers, then using an authoritative tone might turn them off. But if you aren’t a “fun” brand, don’t try to be. Cater to who you want to attract to your brand.
Event Branding – Why It’s Different than Event Identity
Event branding is the foundation of your brand, whereas event identity is the visual execution of your event brand strategy. Or think of it this way. Event brand is how you visually communicate the look of your brand based on how your event strategy was developed.
Make Sure You Nail the Basics
Attendee experience is a basic thing to consider when developing a brand for your event. Especially when its virtual. Quiz yourself on these questions about your virtual audience?
- What’s important to your audience?
- Does your virtual event brand communicate why the audience matters?
- Does your brand tell a story that communicates beliefs shared across the organization?
Let’s look at how to build a powerful, on target branding experience for all types of virtual and hybrid events.
What’s Important to Your Audience?
Are they looking to buy something? Do they want education and collaboration with like minded groups? Are industry trends critical to their job function?
It’s really important to assess the wants and needs of your audience and how you’ll deliver on what they want in a virtual environment. Try asking these questions in a pre-event poll:
- What is the ideal balance of networking and content they want?
- What challenges or problems are they facing?
- Do they prefer active participation or passive listening?
Once you know what your audience’s hopes and desires are for attending your virtual event, you can adapt your messaging to align with the overall company brand. Plus you can create specific branded experiences or stories for each event you host.
How To Align Your Brand To Communicate Why Your Audience Matters
The story your event branding tells needs to resonate with them. For instance, paint a picture of why they matter to your organization by way of brand messaging. This is not as easy as it sounds, consequently, we are seeing the rise of “Brand Storytelling” companies entering the market. This is in direct response to the demand for big and small brands to align their messages to what their audience wants to hear and feel.
Aligning your brand with your event isn’t about what you are hoping to communicate, however, it is the story your brand tells to your audience. Using elements of your event identity and crafting a great story brand will subsequently draw audiences to your event. Sharing rich content that feels like it speaks directly to them is one example.
Interview stakeholders, customers, and partners about what they think of when they see your event identity and brand working together. Then evaluate how similar or different that is compared to what you think. Create an outline for this, because you really can’t work through it without one. Do all the thinking beforehand and then fill in your story based on the feedback and interviews obtained from your “community”.
Finally consider an outside agency like Woden to help craft the perfect version of your story. Communicate every big and little way in which your organization can help your customers and event audiences while at the same time boosting your competitive edge.
Does Your Event Brand Compliment Your Belief System?
Communicating your company culture and belief system across the organization is the secret sauce to events being successful. Make sure you know the story behind the organizational culture, for example, what makes your company unique and appealing? This will make all your events resonate back to your brand story.
Experiential marketers already live this concept. Engage your event audience with your brand. It’s a must do to make them feel like a necessary part of your success. At events, weave in immersive storytelling that share your culture’s story. Then, naturally acknowledge the community around your company. This will bolster your brand identity and the event experience, leaving a lasting impression with your internal culture and external community of clients, prospects, and partners.
Albeit the global health crisis is still forcing us to remain socially distant, live events, for the moment, are still a thing of the past. In short, when it comes to event identify and branding, the virtual space may provide greater branding and marketing opportunities as you can reach a much larger audience of attendees.
I hope we’ve provided you with the framework to begin forming your own unique event identity and branding event strategy.