Why Event Branding Matters

Custom cocktail napkins for before and after dinner

What is it about planning an event that throws even the most confident entrepreneur right back to childhood fears?

All of our insecurities tend to pop up. What if no one comes? Or worse yet, what if no one has any fun? What if they don’t like the food, or the theme, or the venue?

A way to conquer this is to take the time to start with establishing your Event Branding. Whether you are planning an event on your own or working with an event planner, this will help you ensure your event will be one to remember.

Event branding is really no different than branding for a business. It’s basically “how the event makes people feel.”

When I work with clients and when I teach my online course called Brand Camp, I talk about the fact that branding is every touchpoint people have with your brand. Event branding helps bring your brand alive, whether it’s for a personal event or for a business.

When planning an event for a business, your biggest objective is to create an event brand that fits the personality of your company. It needs to follow your brand guidelines, but at the same time push the creative envelope.

When you understand and establish your brand, the event planning process is no longer something to dread.

Here are the first things I ask a corporate client before starting the event design process:

  1. What is the purpose of your event?
    (for example: grand opening, milestone celebration, product launch)
  2. What is your ROI objective?
    (Return on investment: brand awareness, more clients, media attention, client appreciation)
  3. What are your brand guidelines?
  4. How would you describe the personality of your business?
    (essential to your visual brand design and helps you understand/attract your client base)
  5. How do you want your guests to feel?

Just as brand chemistry is a powerful combination of your story and design, your event must deliver a consistent, yet memorable, message.

With a personal event like a wedding, birthday or any other kind of social event, the sky’s the limit in terms of the style, theme, colours and personality. Having an event brand ensures your friends and family will feel comfortable, have an amazing time celebrating with you, and talk about how much fun they had for years to come.

Here are a few key things I ask my social event clients to when we start the design process:

  1. Describe your personality.
  2. What is/are your backgrounds? Cultural, religious etc
  3. If you have a venue chosen, describe it.
  4. Tell me about your job, life, travels, family.
  5. How do you want your guests to feel?

A couple of years ago I was asked to design the invitations and stationery for an amazing event here in Toronto for Mike Caringi, owner of 5ive 15ifteen and his partner, Michael, planning the event of a lifetime — their wedding!

I worked with the Michael’s and their planner Melissa Haggerty from Spectacular Spectacular. 

They decided they wanted to host a winter wedding — something fun and happy for their friends and family to look forward to during the long, cold Canadian winter.

Michaels winter wonderland wedding invitations
Their wedding theme was a winter wonderland “Nordic chic” — and they even threw elements of each of their cultures (Italian and Jewish) into the mix!

Their impressive location, the historic John Street Roundhouse in Toronto, became the basis for everything to follow. We understood what they enjoyed, what their friends and family would enjoy, and we were able to create a brand through printed materials and event planning that everyone would look forward to.

Their event evoked the perfect balance of Expectation + Excitement + Anticipation for their guests and is fondly remembered by all who attended for all the small, personal details, for the love and for being anything but traditional.

Incorporateing event elements into brandingThe Michaels share the same initials “MC”. We were able to capitalize on that and incorporate their Roundhouse location with a custom monogram that reflected their personalities, brand, and the event itself.

See how the second “C” looks like the top view of the round house?

Do you get a sense of the style of the wedding based on the design?
The personalities of the couple?  If you got this invitation in the mail, would you be excited to go to the wedding?

The wood grain, bronze & turquoise colours would be a thread that would carry throughout in both stationery and décor such as food trays, tables, signage, and favours at the wedding. We worked closely with Melissa on all of these details!

Gift bags for each guest
Gift bags for each guest with delicious cannolis wrapped in custom printed food safe paper that said “thank you for coming to our big gay Jewish Italian wedding!”

More than two years later, people are still talking about this wedding. That’s successful event branding at its finest.

The next time planning an event is on your to-do list, before you book a venue or call the caterer, take a few moments to get a clear picture of the Event Brand.

Ask yourself the following five questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the event? (celebration, sales, launch)
  2. What do you want to gain from the event? (memories, clients, media)
  3. What is the mood and style you want to convey?
  4. What is the personality of the business/person/people hosting the event and what is the personality of those attending the event?
  5. How do you want your guests to feel?

Ultimately, successful event branding comes down to just three, simple things. Purpose + Feeling + Personality. Your Event Branding helps create memories that have the power to last a lifetime.

Learn more in Lab Creative’s FREE summer session of Brand Camp on July 10, 2017 and view their free video series “Branding 101: The Entrepreneurs Guide to Branding”.

Credits: Photography: 5ive 15ifteen photo company, Event Design: Spectacular Spectacular, Flowers Stemz, Catering: Daniel et Daniel, Donuts: Jelly Modern
Cake: Nadia & Co.

About Laura Beauparlant, Creative Director + Owner at Lab Creative:
In her 18 years of being a designer and entrepreneur, Laura has learned that aligning passion with brand design is the key to success in business. She prides herself in finding fun and creative solutions to help aspiring and established entrepreneurs become happy, fulfilled and prosperous business owners. Her business is built on the solid relationships she has created and fostered with clients and suppliers.  The most important element in fostering those relationships is communication. She listens attentively, coaches directly, and understands profoundly.
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