There’s a real artistry to creating a well-balanced environment for your audience. So it’s important to get involved as early in the process as possible in understanding where brand has been designated and ensuring the best place for key elements for the on site experience. I constantly find myself using the “element fatigue” reasoning to help organizers understand why they shouldn’t use the same images over and over again in close proximity. Seeing the overall branded system played out in an environment can really show whether you created enough elements to keep the audience interested while still being memorable.
While it is really up to the organizers to designate what goes where, there will often be a number of places that brand is used sensibly:
1) Name badges
2) Promotional items – Such as T-shirts and hats
3) Co-sponsor promotion
4) Directional signage
5) Informational signage and center
6) Points-of-entry to the event
Always keep an eye for the opportunity within the listed places for a key hub where you can focus a strong branding structure. Though it is often the most obvious place, it can also serve as a jumping point for several key placements for brand that your audience may register without being overwhelmed. After all, the event brand is meant to be unifying not distracting.
Also look to innovate your brand elements with physical ideas that fit in context with the event. One good example that was not mine, but I have always thought worked perfectly with the event environment, was seeing a PR client using a stencil they had made of the event logos for a downtown bike show and placing impressions strategically throughout the event site. They walked around before the event and using removable paint, sprayed the stencils in the streets and on walls. In the end this idea fit with both the culture of the event as well as the outdoor setting.
Another strong way to bring brand into play is to make it part of the event’s agenda or program. A few year’s ago, I became heavily involved in the development of an anniversary video for a non-profit that I had just finished re-branding. While the video itself was only roughly 10 minutes of the program, it was a perfect opportunity to tie brand to the history of the organization. So showcasing the new brand within this context made it appropriate and memorable.
One last thing worth mentioning that I always stress to any organizer, is the effectiveness of co-branding with your sponsors. This form of promotion tends to lift both parties and creates a unique and natural opportunity for synergy on site. So often I’ll see sponsors as islands in events. While both event and sponsor brands are naturally designed to work independently, the associated emphasis on sponsorship is partially lost and perhaps a valuable memory hook for either parties. Keeping this need at the forefront of the effort to design the space at the event should also yield a positive response from the sponsors themselves and invigorate them to sponsor the event again.