Building More Effective Events
When it comes to managing your brand, and your events that surround it, the customization of the online component of your event is critical. Your online event should look similar to your existing marketing efforts, corporate branding and any in-person events you may be holding in parallel to avoid confusion for your attendees, sponsors and exhibitors as well as potential new customers.
It’s important to think through the various options you have for branding – these will drive your choices when it comes to making the event environment do and be what you need. Some of the most crucial include:
- Colors to match your branding
- Logos and company identity look and feel
- Overall graphical look and feel of the environment
- Sponsor/stakeholder branding and visibility
Logos and Branding
It’s critical to make sure you apply logos for the event throughout the event environment.
This seems logical, but there are too many cases where an opening message features the show organizers and perhaps the show name, but then that logo isn’t carried throughout.
It’s important to re-establish your brand throughout. It’s also important to have consistent information about your company, the event, and who you are. You may want to consider having a booth about your company, or even the event. You can always offer pre-sale tickets for future events in the booth as well as other great incentives and information to event participants.
If you have a theme or overall approach you’re applying to the event, consider having a consistently themed environment as well – from background images to the language used to describe sessions and other resources in the event.
These will re-enforce the overall event strategy and authority.
Colors should be adjustable on several different levels. These include the registration pages. On the registration pages the menuing, form colors and other important elements should be representative and drive people to want to view more information about your event.
Colors inside the event should be customizable as well. From menu colors to backgrounds, from title bars in windows to buttons and such – these should all incorporate your corporate/event colors to make the event feel cohesive. We’ve seen people have great success using tinted image backgrounds as a way to re-enforce their branding colors.
Think about how you’ll incorporate these changes in your email campaigns, in your own website and marketing materials so the attendee or other participant doesn’t receive a surprise when coming to the event and site. The materials should complement and take into account the colors used throughout the experiences.
Sponsor/Exhibitor Customization Options
Many people approach virtual events separately from their in-person events. It’s easy to forget that exhibitors are there for a couple of distinct reasons.
First, hopefully, to support the show’s objectives and to connect with your audience.
But second, and perhaps truly most importantly, to connect with new contacts, new leads, new business or drive new awareness.
Branding, leads, all of those things that they are getting involved in your event in order to capitalize on. To that end, be sure to consider the many branding areas and other ways you can provide publicity to the sponsors for your event.
You can provide a standardized slide deck for your presenters, and include logos or other information on the opening and closing slides.
In the videos that play between sessions (filler videos), consider promoting your sponsor’s logos and information.
Run advertisements for your sponsors – let attendees know they can contact the sponsor in the exhibit hall, tell them about any specials they may have.
Make sure during the opening and closing talks that you promote your sponsors.
As you would at your in-person events, make sure you are talking up those who support your event work. Host sponsored chats, have sponsored sessions, have contests for booth and download participation.
Have “early access hours” sponsored by a specific sponsor. Those things that you can do for your in-person event are likely possible for the online portions of your event.
You can and should also have banners in the lobbies, use graphical prompts to show logos and such. In addition, you can include their logos on the communications associated with the event, make sure it’s easy to learn about the sponsor, their offerings and messaging.
How Do You Personalize a Virtual Event?
If you’re holding a hybrid online/offline event, consider using imagery in your event that shows the physical venue. You can have images of the conference center lobby, the session room halls, etc.
You can even use floorplans for the areas if images aren’t yet available. By sharing the visual aspects of your event between the two venues, you can bring the audiences together, even if they’re sharing online and offline access.
Keep in mind too that you can customize those images and look and feel in real-time on the conference setup. Some will want to update the conference lobby with images from the physical location showing people registering, then update it for cocktail hour.
Others like to use intermittent refreshes of the exhibit hall floor as the background for the exhibit hall lobby in the online event.
The goal is to have the event be clearly YOUR event, and in the case of a hybrid event, you want to make especially certain that your branding flows from one to the other.