In the world of meetings and events you see branding played out in a number of ways. An event might be presented as a brand in and of itself. Or, as if often the case, an event is designed to “sell” the products, services, or ideas of the brand behind the event. And then there’s the ultimate event-branding trifecta: An organization develops such a strong event brand, backed by an even stronger brand owner, that the event is able to attract equally strong sponsors and partners. The result is profound synergies that propel each associated brand to even higher levels.
Let’s look at each of these scenarios in turn:
A well-executed brand can enable an event to withstand competition from on-par alternatives. Big sporting events, like the Ironman Triathlon or even the Olympics, are great examples of the “event as a brand.” Smaller events, such as the Online Marketing Summit or unGEEKed also recognize that a strong brand can allow for easier recognition and preference when promoting it to a target audience.
Notice that strong event brands tend to have a unique and well-positioned name, logo, color scheme, personality, and messaging to differentiate it from competing events and make it more meaningful to the target audience. All of this helps to put an event on the “must-attend” list on the calendars of busy attendees.
Events and meetings are almost always designed to sell something—a product, service, idea, or cause. Through events, people and brands can meet in ways that aren’t possible in traditional one-way communications and this is certainly part of the allure. The fact that companies invest in meetings and events to the tune of $263 billion per year (according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study) is testament to the important role of these engagements.
Companies turn to events to strengthen their corporate brands. Yet they still go through the effort of building a branded event. The “big daddy” of tech events, Dreamforce, the event by Salesforce.com, brought in an estimated 70,000 attendees. And the sometimes controversial SXSW Festival has grown to 20,000 participants. The common thread? Branding. And while these big brand events are a far cry from what many smaller brands expect to achieve, the lesson for events small and large is that branded events can pay off for both the success of an event and for the company behind the event.
Brand synergy is the third prong that results in the event-branding trifecta. With a strong event brand and a strong brand behind the event, event owners are able to attract high-profile sponsors and exhibitors (with equal or greater brand strength) to create a sum greater than its individual parts.
To illustrate the value of branding, note that Dreamforce commands $500,000 for a platinum sponsor. IBM’s annual “Pulse” event garners up to $85,000 for a diamond-level sponsor. These strong brands are able to command a premium price and the net effect propels all associated brands to a higher level.
Even you haven’t started developing your own method for brand strategy, or if the branding trifecta is what you’re after, our latest guide will help. Download your copy of The Event Professional’s Guide to Branding.