How to Use Merchandise and Branding to Bring Cohesion to Your Event in 5 Stages

Why hold events? Regardless of your event type, the main purpose of holding an event is to bring awareness to your brand, or an element thereof. No matter who or what the brand, events are held to present that brand in a positive light, to make stakeholders become more emotionally invested, and to give consumers a stronger understanding of the brand’s positive aspects.

Your brand could be something as large as a multi-national corporation, or something as small as a child. The event, in turn, could be a global awards ceremony for staff from all around the world, for example, or little Emily’s birthday party. The purpose of the events in these cases is the same, even though the scope varies. Both events, in order to succeed, have a requirement that the attendees view their host in a positive light and feel some emotional connection. They also need to be clearly defined as events that are designed to fulfill a particular need.

This is where branding, and by necessary extension, marketing, becomes involved. The event host needs to have a cohesive brand. This brand gives a point of focus for any recognition that comes as a result of the event, and is also the rallying point around which the event itself is built. In the case of the child’s birthday, the brand and the event host are one and the same, with Emily being both the host and the focus of her event. For larger events, however, the brand/host definition can be less distinct, with event organisers rarely being the organisation’s figureheads, and clarity is only achieved through effective branding, marketing and promotion.

Promotional products and branded merchandise offer an exceptional platform for building brand awareness, recognition, and emotional connection. There are five broad stages during the event management timeline where branding and merchandising are important, and if utilised effectively as part of a strong branding strategy, promotional products have the capacity to create unsurpassed visual cohesion for an event.

The five promotional stages are:

1. Invitation;
2. Set-up;
3. Event day;
4. Giveaways, and
5. Follow-up.

This is obviously an extremely simple breakdown of the event timeline, but these stages serve to show that there are different product strategies required throughout the event planning calendar.

1. Invitation

The purpose for your promotional products at the invitation stage is simply advertising. The focus is to attract attendees to your event. At this point, you should not expect your promotional products to be 100% effective in this task. Ideal promotional products at this stage would be low-cost, high volume items that are easy to distribute. They are products designed to get your brand in front of as many people as possible, while giving them some perceived value.

2. Set-up

Set-up also provides an excellent opportunity for advertising. Through the use of promotional apparel, all staff associated can be effectively uniformed, and will present a cohesive face of your brand. The focus here is to establish recognition of your brand’s positive aspects, such as professionalism and organisation. You can also use easily distributable products to raise brand awareness in the vicinity of the event. You may not be inviting people in at this stage, especially if it your event is a members only, or invitation only, kind of event, but you can still display your brand in a positive light.

3. Event day

On event day, promotion is paramount. You will want to have your brand seen subtly or overtly on almost every surface throughout your event. By showing your colours, logos, or brand name everywhere, you keep your brand, and not the event organiser, front of mind. Your promotional products that are focused around the smooth running of your event day should reflect the ethos of your brand, and should be planned well in advance. If you have a high perceived value brand, for instance, you should use high perceived value promotional products for your event.

4. Giveaways

Giveaways should be an essential part of your promotional strategy. The dual purpose of giveaways is to reward the attendee for being present at your event, while offering them something labelled with your brand for ongoing brand awareness. High perceived value items are excellent for this stage, such as technology or apparel, as they are likely to be kept for a long period, thus giving your brand greater exposure. By giving these valuable items away on the day of the event, you help to attain a feeling of goodwill towards your brand from the attendees.

5. Follow-up

Follow-up is a stage often missed by event organisers, but one that is of immense value. The purpose is similar to the giveaway stage, in that you are effectively rewarding your attendees for their presence at your event. The difference here, however, is that you are showing your attendees that you remember and value them after the event. By using high perceived value items at this stage, you are keeping your brand front of mind, and have the potential to create a strong feeling of gratitude from your attendees. This is an excellent way to encourage a high return rate from past attendees, and to create word of mouth advertising for future events.

By using promotional products across all stages of your event, you will be building a cohesive brand awareness campaign that will work to promote your organisation long after the event has finished.

Featured imagejatenipit licensed under CC0 1.0

Guest author:

Kane is a writer who’s passionate about branding and marketing. He works with Promotive, a specialist promotional products company that aims to change how you feel about branded merchandise. Find out more at www.bepromotive.com.au.