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Cost – Effective Event Branding Strategies

By Marcia Bent, Chief Executive Officer Think Premium!

Broadbent, A. (2015) posits one of the main purposes for a brand to participate in or be involved in events is to “to reach people on multiple levels (emotional, rational, psychological) so that they walk away from event remembering what is was like to touch, taste, and feel the product rather than just reading about it.” However, that goal will not be achieved if the branding materials are not positioned effectively or the booth is unattractive.

I have seen companies work very hard to book a space in events and waste it by failing to make their branding material or their booth appealing to their target market. Unfortunately, many of these companies either execute it themselves and fail to get the desired results or hire consultants that fail to allow their brand to capture the attention of the target audience. Thus, wasting precious resources by squandering them on a poorly executed attempt at a potentially great opportunity to gain valuable exposure and prospective customers for their company. Oddly enough, these are the same companies that say that they do not see the value of participating in events
Do not leave the appearance of your booth or arrangement of your branding materials to chance! You are doing your company’s brand and image a huge disservice by doing that. Instead ensure that your booth is decorated and or your branding materials are arranged in such a way that it is visible, neat, eye-catching, and functional. This is because branding and even the booth can give the audience an image to remember, a phone number to call, even a name or motto to type into Google later (ExpandaSign, 2017).

Not every company in Jamaica has a $1.5 million dollar budget to create and elaborate booth and as a matter of fact, a booth like that may not be practical for every event. This article will discuss the following points to make your booth stand out: define the term ‘event branding materials’, achieve visibility, make it neat, grab the audience’s attention and keep it functional.

What are Event Branding Materials?

Event Branding Materials refer to items that bear the company’s colours, logo, images, and slogan. ExpandaSign (2017) explains that branding materials include banner walls and backdrops, hanging and boulevard banners, bunting, flags, tablecloths and much more.

Achieve Visibility

You want to ensure that your branding, displays and booth are clearly visible to patrons attending the event. Here are some points that you can use to ensure that your booth and branding gets the attention that it deserves during the event:

– Perform the relevant Site Visits to know where your booth will be located to:

-Assess if you will need to provide your own additional lighting (especially if it will be for an event that will be taking place outdoors during the night). After all, if your branding materials cannot be seen then it does not make sense.
– Determine proximity to entrance and central gathering areas like a stage, refreshment area, etc. so that it can have a better chance of being noticed by your target audience as they partake in the event’s activities.
– Ascertain what branding items you will need to carry based on the available space for your booth, what items will be provided for you at the event and what you will be allowed to do to the space to construct your booth.
–  Discuss the allowance that you will be given to erect branding material and or your booth at the event. For instance, you can discuss if you will be allowed to erect feather banners at the outside entrance of the event or staple anything on the walls to erect your fabric work designs, etc.

– Ensure that the branding materials and booth can be clearly seen by persons who are at least 6 feet away from the left and right side of your booth. To do so, ensure that the branding material is positioned as close to the entrance (s) for the booth as possible without blocking movement to and from the booth. Ensure that each large branding element like feather banners, pull up banners, booth tables or booth counters, etc. are given an opportunity to be seen clearly by giving each large element around 1 – 3 feet of space. Try to establish a balance around the booth and the overall space by ensuring that:

–   You have more than one large branding items like Lit Columns, Pull-up banners, etc. and placing one of each on either side of the booth, at the entrance of the event and central points where persons gather depending on how much allowance you will be given to use your branding items at the event.

–   If you have one big branding item (for example a life-sized pull-out model or a wall banner), ensure that it is not blocking foot traffic to or around your booth and the branded areas that are branded are clearly visible to patrons passing by your booth.

Make it neat

Ensure that the desk and booth space is clean and only has the following items visible to patrons passing by:

– Branding materials like flyers, pull-up banners, models, or your product, self- standing desk posters, images on the booth, etc. If any of the branding items that you will be using should be placed on a desk, try to use the sides of the desk to place the items from the side and close to the center. If the branding items have various sides, then try to place the larger items towards the back and the smaller items towards the front of the table.

– The relevant writing materials (such as pens, registration sheets on clip boards, etc.) Should be placed in center of the table or counter and at a point that it closest to the edge so that patrons can assess it easily and have enough room to write on it comfortably. If that is not possible then place it at a point that is closest to it.

– Samples or free gifts can also be used for this purpose. However, do not put the full quantities of the free gifts or samples that you brought on your table or counter. Only put out the amount that you are expecting to give out in two hours. For instance, you can put out 20 pens, or one basket or no more than two units of the products that you will be sampling depending on the size of the items, how many of the products you had brought to be displayed or sampled. Excess samples or free gifts should be placed under the table if has a long table cloth or in a compartment or where it is not noticeable to persons standing or passing by the booth and the items are not going to be damaged.

– Ensure that your personal handbags, laptop bags, cases of the products, flyers, etc. to be displayed in such a way that they are out of sight from persons who will be visiting your booth. Not only does it make your booth look very untidy, it is also this practice may reveal the contents of those items and pose a security risk. These should be kept out of sight in the same manner that you would treat excess samples or free gifts.

Grab the audiences’ attention

Would you visit a booth at an event that looked boring or unattractive? I can imagine that you would not go to it even if it probably had a product or service that would have been beneficial for you. This is because that both would have failed to grab your interests.

Here are some suggestions to decorate your booth in such a way that it encourages your target audience to visit your booth by grabbing making their attention:

– You can grab their attention by utilizing the company colours to decorate your booth, especially along the areas that your target audience will see first. It can be done through the colours used to create your custom booth, colours of the fabric work, colour of the uplifting used, colours in your centerpiece and table cloth, etc.

– Free gifts or samples can also be used to grab the attention of the target audience by arranging it in such a way that the arrangement is neat and the branding is clearly visible to persons passing by. Those gifts can be a package containing some of your products, a branded item, or an item that your target audience would like. For example: a pair of shot glasses for adults who drink alcoholic beverages.

– Live models, distribution of samples, or demonstrations can be used to engage the audience. As the statement seeing is believing suggests, people are more inclined to buy in things that they can experience and see in action.

Keep it functional

A booth or use of branding material needs to effectively serve an intended need or function. If not, then it would not be practical to use it. You can keep your booth functional by:

– Ensuring that your whole presence at the event is geared towards attracting your target audience and the nature of the event. The design of the booth, the items placed in the booth (such as bistro stools, tables, etc.) and the use of branding materials in an around the booth need to be geared towards the persons that you are trying to attract and the nature of the event. For example: it would not be practical to have lounge seating at your booth if it will be at a Cocktail Party nor would it be practical not to have soft furniture, a nice centerpiece and romantic lighting if you will be executing a booth at a Bridal Expo.

– The Branding materials should complement each other, working effectively together to create an overall visual concept that’s tight and harmonious (Atkinson, 2015). For example, you avoid using lighting colours that clash with the colours of your logo. Another example of how to achieve cohesiveness is to avoid using branding material or use a set of colours at one area of the venue that has absolutely no relation to the colours used at another end of the venue with branding items.

– Chose the right events to participate in and prepare how you will execute it thoroughly based on the goals that you would like to achieve before the event. Do not participate in events that have no relation to your brand or the target audience you are trying to reach. Particularly, as Ilcin (2017) phrases it, “go with some goals and a clear message, or dont go at all.” This will prevent you from wasting precious resources in participating in events that will not help you to connect with your target audience.

To bring it all together, participating in events are a great opportunity to gain exposure, increase awareness for your brand and to interact with your target audience. However, proper preparation, decoration of your booth and arrangement of your branding materials can entice your target audience to visit your booth and save you some of the hassle in approaching them during the event. Making the booth and branding materials visible, making the space and or branding materials look very neat, finding creative measures to grab your target audiences attention and keeping the entire execution as functional as possible are just some of the main ways to get the most from participating in events as a company. I hope that this will make your next execution at a trade show, sorts match, expo, etc. successful regardless of your budget.
References

Atkinson, T. (2015). Event branding: the importance of a cohesive approach. Howdesign.com. Retrieved from: http://www.howdesign.com/articles/event-branding-importance-cohesive-approach/

Broadbent, A. (2015). Brand activation and its role in driving customer engagement and awareness. eConsultancy.com. Retrieved from: https://econsultancy.com/blog/66013-brand-activation-and-its-role-in-driving-consumer-engagement-and-awareness/

ExpandaSign (2017). The importance of event branding. ExpandaSign.com. Retrieved from: http://www.expandasign.com/The-importance-of-event-branding/

Ilcin, C. (2017).Hands-on marketing or boring booth. You decide. Sonnhalter. Retrieved from: https://www.sonnhalter.com/2017/02/15/hands-on-marketing-or-boring-booth-you-decide/

 

 

Marcia Bent is the Chief Executive Officer of Think Premium! Think Premium! is a Marketing company that provides Premium Promotional Hostesses, Promotional Hosts and Brand Ambassadors for companies that has or participates in events or field marketing activities. They also offer Mystery Shopping, Guerilla Marketing, Event Planning and Execution, Booth Planning and Execution, Event Support, Brand Positioning, Social Media Marketing, etc. She can be reached at 359-6158 or at thinkpremiumja@gmail.com for further information about these services.

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