Counting Down to 0 Day: The Cycle of Event Branding: Introduction

It seems the last number of years I’ve been surrounded by event culture. Not just becoming increasingly involved in branding them as a business function, but also at home as I try and find entertainment for my young daughters on weekends. While I don’t doubt that both of those things suggest I have a heightened awareness of events in our region, statistics do support an increase in event activity. Raleigh, NCs downtown alone has seen over 1 million attendees for outdoor festivals in 2015, and 190+ outdoor events in 2015. These events are partly attributed to the compounded growth in population (133% since 2000), an increase of 33% in tourism since 2007 and being rated in the top 10 cities for economic growth in the US*. One could say that there is a “growing” enthusiasm to get out and be among each other.


I’ve seen it for myself. If you had been downtown Raleigh, NC back in 1995 when I first moved my business to the City Market, there were no events to be found anywhere in that area. Anything of any size was generally held at our beloved fairgrounds. I remember one 4th of July, maybe 1997, I had to work and wandered all around downtown looking for an open place for lunch, and I’d swear I was the only person for blocks. That is not an exaggeration. This experience is a far cry from the annual mega events like the Bluegrass Festival, Bikefest or even Sparkcon (just to name a few) that now speckle our calendar.


In addition to the rise of event culture, a part of me has been theorizing that the digital revolution, while making us able to communicate more often, but at a distance, is actually making us crave wanting to get together. Though we don’t need a specific purpose just to get together, having an event to attend can help bridge the gap of lost time and the awkwardness distance can bring, while creating a common experience to share for years to come. And for the industrious, provide some good posting fodder.


Whether it is a positive or negative experience to share, may not have much impact on the bonds built, it will have an effect on whether you attend if the event returns or if the organizers are seeking some benefit from you post event. As such, that same positive or negative experience also holds true for the organizers, vendors and sponsors involved in the creation and success of any event.


Brand development and deployment is only one cog in the process of organizing and holding an event, but depending on the perceived results of the final brand, it can have a disproportionate impact on how the event is viewed and attended. This short series lets you in on some aspects of the organic process involved in creating brand for most events. Whether the event is fairly large or somewhat small, I am seeking to describe some practices and processes that if plied correctly could help create a positive and organized experience for everyone involved.


While much of this series is geared towards fellow design professionals, my secondary audience is definitely the organizers themselves. I have huge respect for this madly organized crew. While much of this is process you live and breath, my goal is to offer an additional perspective and perhaps some fresh details that will simplify and streamline your next event.


* State of Downtown Raleigh 2016 – Raleigh Downtown Alliance