Last Updated on October 7, 2021
No matter what business you’re running, a strong brand is integral to your success. That applies to event management just like any other industry – albeit with a caveat or two. See, event planners occupy something of a strange space where branding’s concerned.
I should explain.
It’s incredibly rare for an event management firm to be noticed in any meaningful way by their guests. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve no concept of who ran the last few conferences I attended. I only recall the business they were running it for; the brand whose reputation that event was designed to cultivate.
See, here’s the thing. From a branding standpoint, your guests are a secondary customer. While it’s imperative that they enjoy the events you run, they aren’t the ones you’re ultimately trying to impress – they’re not the ones with whom you need to foster a positive brand identity.
That honor goes to your clients. It goes to your vendors, event partners, guest speakers, and volunteers. They’re the ones who make your career possible – the ones you absolutely cannot afford to alienate.
So, aside from just running awesome events, how can you make sure your firm’s got a positive reputation in the field of event management?
Nailing Down Your Event Firm’s Brand Identity
The first – and perhaps most important – step in branding your event management business is to determine how you want people to view it. What do you want people to say when your firm’s name comes up? What do you want them to think, do, and feel?
“The first step in building your brand is to actually know what your brand equals or what you want it to equal,” explains Lou Imbriano of American Express. “Write down all the characteristics that describe who you are and how you would like to be perceived. Once you compile that list, fine-tune it and make sure you have full command of your brand in order to reach your customers, and, more importantly, your potential customers.”
In the case of event management, you’re going to want to take stock of the following:
Your Market: A firm devoted to wedding planning is going to have a very different identity from one that handles corporate conferences. You thus need to determine what niche you intend to serve – this includes your industry, the type of event you primarily run, and your targeted region.
Your Mission: Basically, your firm’s mission is the goal you set out to accomplish when you founded the firm. What exactly is it that you want to do with your business? Where do you want it to go in the future?
Your Target Clientele: Next up…what sort of client will you ideally sign on with? Do you want to run conferences for young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs or experienced CEOs? Are you looking to plan charity events for massive enterprises or fundraisers for small businesses? Who you serve is every bit as important as the industry you work in – make no mistake.
Your Unique Selling Point: Now, here’s the tough part. You need to form a concept of what makes your event firm unique. Event planning is a highly competitive market, after all – what is it that makes you stand out from countless scores of competitors? Why would people want to work with you over that other firm down the road?
Getting The Word Out About Your Brand
With an idea of what you want your brand to represent firmly established in your mind, your next step is to market that brand. To that end, says Entrepreneur’s Sujan Patel, you’ll want to lay out a set of clearly-established guidelines as to how your brand looks, feels, and “acts.” Consistency is extremely important here; your event firm’s logo, taglines, voice, and website all have to form a cohesive whole.
If you don’t make sure everything fits perfectly together, then prospective clients are going to pick up on that disconnect – and they’ll probably choose a different firm as a result.
Conduct Is Everything
Look, here’s the thing. Brand identity is important, but it’s not as vital as everyone seems to think. Ultimately, what makes or breaks an event management firm is how it conducts itself when doing business. Every event you run, every vendor you sign a contract, every volunteer you schedule to help you run things, every post you make on Facebook; all these together shape how people are going to see you.
If you lose sight of any of those – if you aren’t constantly striving to offer clients and partners a perfect experience – then it doesn’t really matter how clearly-established or well-marketed your brand identity ends up being. That’s the ultimate trick to strong branding. Just be good at your job, and everything else should more or less naturally fall into place.
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