Branding is what your events look and feel like. To brand your race is to inject the personality or heart of your company through primarily a visual medium. If your event were a person, what would their personality be? Friendly, fun, inspirational? By thinking about these kinds of questions you can be sure to create a brand for your event that will connect with your audience – by meeting their needs for entertainment or information.
Why is Event Branding important?
So why does branding matter? Branding your event helps you to build the right kind of relationship with your audience. They’re coming to your race for a particular reason, right? So by creating a brand that promotes who you are, you can gain trust, build loyalty and gain exposure from those who resonate with your message.
Having a well branded event can bring some great benefits to your day and really bring to life your brand and company amidst the action of endorphin fuelled racers. Here are a couple of benefits to reap if you get branding right at your event:
- Showcase Key Sponsors and partners. In doing this you will also create opportunity spots for future sponsors by showing what you can do with the space available at your event. Areas that attract large flows of people are perfect to offer a brand activation zone, for people to engage with a sponsor.
- Make it memorable by having your branding across the event, for people to have images to think back to when remembering good experiences at your event.
- Photo experiences can be created with different types of brand placements and designs across your event. This can be used as social currency when people post photos and talk about your event!
- Create loyalty amongst those who have been to your race. People need to see things around 5 times before they can commit to what ever is on offer. So cut the chase and increase your visibility to get up the loyalty ranks with your runners.
- Become relatable. If you create branded signs with quotes that are relatable to your audience, this can be a great opportunity for people to feel closer to your event and your brand, and double up as social currency.
Define your unique brand identity
Your brand identity is important as it’s the identity of you as a race organiser, and it communicates the experience you are selling. If you can’t define your brand, then how can your participants?
Your brand is made up of the following aspects:
- Tone of voice in your messaging
Defining these brand elements are important, as they’ll be used as the basis of all your promotional material and help build recognition for your race.
Keep it consistent
Inconsistency is a brand killer – it sends out a confused message at best, and an unorganised and unprofessional one at worst, about who you are as a company and what your event can give your audience. If we compare Tough Mudder and the London Marathon for example, they are both very different but both achieve consistency very well. Both with a swatch of colours that link to their logo and brand, but both with very different tones on humour and training. By keeping consistency in your messaging, you’re showing that you are reliable and true to your values.
Establish a presence BEFORE your race
To bring your brand to life before the event to give people a chance to get to know it, an easy and cost effective way is to create visual content for the key social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. It’s well known that visual content on these channels creates more engagement than text based content, so to establish your presence and build your brand, Canva is a good place to start.
As you build your online presence, there’s more that you can do that will help to continue to communicate your brand. Why not write a series of training blog posts, build an email newsletter to keep people up to date with your race prep, or develop a fun infographic that people will want to share? Creating your online identity is as much about promoting it as it is about developing the event itself.
Flyers and posters can also help in the run-up to your event… yep, print doesn’t have to be dead. Despite the growth of the online world, print isn’t completely gone. By creating posters and flyers for your event, it will strengthen the message of your brand. But it’s important to get it right.
Try to focus on:
- Colour: Getting the colour balance right is important. Use the key colours defined in your brand palette, but only choose two or three to make a stronger visual impact.
- Typography: Experiment with typography, keeping consistency with your brand font. You can use the way the words are positioned to draw the eye in to your poster.
- Composition: The way the poster is laid out will have an effect on how many people are attracted to it.
- Maximise content: Make sure your createions don’t have a strict shelf life. ‘Evergreen’ content is content that you can continue to use, and repurpose at a later date. If you can create a graphic that is easily customisable, you can maximise the content you create with it. For example, create several versions of a graphic with your logo and a memorable image to release news on your ticket sales.
Establish your presence AT your event
It’s important to ensure brand longevity by making sure your event is held in the minds of the audience for weeks and months afterwards. So what do you need at your event to ensure this? Here are a couple of things that can help make sure your brand stands out, but are also considered race essentials.
- Start and Finish arch. This is obviously a pretty large part of your race and you want to maximise its use. There are different types of arches you could go for, depending on budget, customization available and set up. Inflatable arches elicit some of the strongest opinions, both pro and con, of all the major elements of event infrastructure. You can choose to print or paint permanent signage onto an inflatable arch, or you can add Velcro, D-rings or webbed loops to accommodate replaceable signage in the form of banners. Solid vinyl or mesh vinyl banners work equally well, although you may have fewer problems with wrinkles and creases if you use mesh. You’ll get the most use out of your arch with all-replaceable signage, using sewn Velcro on the balloon to accommodate matching Velcro sewn onto the back of vinyl banners. This allows you to switch branding and messaging on either or both sides of the top and vertical tubes. (For instance, START on one side and FINISH on the other.) Sponsor-change-outs, logo revisions, even different events can all be accommodated easily, quickly and at minimal expense. (Velcro should always be stitched securely into the arch. Self-adhesive Velcro stuck onto the surface is not an acceptable alternative.) If, on the other hand, you know for sure that the arch has one purpose and one purpose only, by all means go ahead and paint or print. We have a lot of clients with permanent signage on the top tube and interchangeable signage on the verticals.
- Banners. A more low-maintenance solution to branding your event is the ever-reliable banner. Strategically place them at your entrances and exits to remind your attendees (and accidental passerby) of where they are. Poster in particular are great for also promoting your event at other exhibitions or promotion opportunities.
- Flags are a great addition to your start line where you can create an atmospheric few metres for runners to get buzzed at. Depending on how many you get, they vary from £30-90 each so they should be looked after.
- Deck Chairs are another great way to create a ‘chill out zone’ for runners to hang out in after your event. By having your logo or a sponsor logo on these you can create an engagement area for your participants to flock to.
- Cups are a great place to have sponsor logos and your own logo. This will cost more money than just getting plain ones, but if you can find a willing sponsor, having their logo on 1000’s of cups is a great way of showcasing their brand. For more on
- Social Media props. Having a prop, such as a custom Instagram frame, is a great way to encourage your attendees to take more photos, whilst ensuring that your logo and event details are shared to their networks when they share to social media. Expect to pay between £10 and £30 for design and printing of a small frame. If you have a photographer on site or if a member of your team is happy to take pictures these can be shared on your Facebook page to encourage people to like your page and tag themselves in the photo.
- Lanyards and badges for your staff. Printing coloured logos onto every staff badge is a simple fix. If you shop around lanyards can also be an option. Consider plain coloured lanyards if you don’t have the time or budget for custom printing. If you can have bespoke lanyards printed a single colour custom print is cheaper than a 2 colour or full colour designs. If you have the budget or are able to partner with a sponsor, creating these for your runners can also be a great addition, in festival style. This can be created with a number of branded printed attachments, playing card sized, with a hole punched at the top to attach to the lanyard. The key event information such as the hashtag, agenda, key sponsors and layout plan can be included and accessed easily for quick reference.
- Tyvek wristbands are another practical branding option and an alternative to badges. They are a low-cost option available in a variety of colours, which can be printed in a single colour or full colour print process. As well as logos, why not include the event hashtag as an easy prompt for your attendees.
- Branded bunting can be printed to your exact specification in terms of colours, logos and length required. For £150 upwards this is a cool option you may want to investigate further.
So there you have it. All of our best suggestions to make your event stand out and get your brand the best recognition possible. And finally, here is a list of onsite branding to ask yourself to kickstart your event branding journey:
- Do you have a solid plan for your event design?
- How do you plan on making your start line stand out?
- How can you leverage social media to get the most out of your onsite branding strategy?
- How are you rewarding attendees for engaging at your events?
From the internet to the race start line, there are so many opportunities for communicating your brand at events. The challenge is communicating your brand correctly. But don't let that keep you from taking action.
Your name matters. Get it out there!