September 15, 2014 by Wendy Holliday
Ok, you get it – Your Conference is a Brand.
You’ve moved beyond the “annual meeting” into something more meaningful to your attendees. You’ve got your conference mission. You know how your conference will advance the profession and what’s in it for your participants.
Now it is time to put your hard work into action. Design your conference logo. Adopt a repeatable look and feel (visuals) for communicating the benefits of attending.
Why take the time to create visuals and a logo for your conference? How will it translate to improved results?
A conference logo will help keep your event from getting lost in the clutter of daily life. It makes you more recognizable. Strong conference brand visuals get noticed, communicate value more powerfully and succinctly, and ultimately, tip more decisions to attend. You are creating a memorable visual presence that sets you apart from your competition.
You’ve worked hard to design and deliver rich attendee experiences at your conference. Your attendees crave the networking and learning experiences your conference provides. A recognizable brand is like a photo. It communicates your brand promise in an instant and at the highest level.
Here’s a quick three-step plan to help you get started.
You know what we’re talking about. Your conference is going to Texas and a designer shows you a logo with a cowboy wielding a lariat.Or you’re heading to New Orleans, so your logo features a Mardi Gras mask with beads. While fun and playful, this type of theming doesn’t tip decisions to attend. In fact, sometimes it pushes attendees away.
Save these types of theming activities for your opening event, closing event, lounges or commemorative pin.
Your conference should stand for more than a cartoon cowboy.
Move your conference theming to attendee solutions.
What challenges will be solved by attending your conference? Instead of altering your logo, use a headline or tag line to emphasize solutions your conference provides.
What do you want your attendees to think of when they see your logo? The many talented and helpful people they’ll meet at your conference? The breakthrough ideas and helpful solutions they’ll discover? The business improvements that will follow?
A strong brand voice tells a powerful story and creates a movie in the minds of your attendees on the wealth of benefits they’ll receive at your conference. It builds anticipation.
Your logo and color palette will serve to reinforce the brand voice for your conference. Work with your staff, partners, volunteers, and speakers to ensure everyone’s in lockstep with your brand voice. Make sure the core message that comes to mind for attendees is one that’s valued and exactly what you intended. Learn more on developing your brand voice from MarketingProfs.
Consistent branding can be in the logo, the font choice and the colors. Here are a few in the B to B conference business with consistent branding:
Take a cue from Fashion Police. Aim for consistency.
It’s tempting to create something new and different each year. When you run with the same logo year after year, fatigue sets in – especially with staff and volunteers. They’re usually the ones who push hardest for a new logo that’s fun and different.
Fun and different won’t help you cut through the messaging clutter. You need a consistent logo and color palette that resonates with your audience. Yes, year after year, the same logo and same colors. Consistency drives momentum.
Logo and color consistency also make it easier for attendees to spot news about your conference and pass it along to others. Especially for alumni attendees and member based conferences.
Alumni and members have already chosen you as something worthwhile. Random logo changes slow down word-of-mouth referrals. Loyalists start to wonder if this is the same conference they’ve grown to know, like and trust.
One exception to the consistency rule: If you’re coming off a rough patch with attendance dips and less than stellar feedback, a new logo will help distance yourself from these legacy experiences. It gives you a fresh slate to build a new and improved conference product. Keep in mind; you can only play this conference makeover card once over a span of years, so make it count.
Which conference logos or brands have earned your attention and why? How can your conference and organization brands best complement one another?
Filed Under: Attendance Marketing
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