“The future of branding is marketing WITH people and not AT them.”
– John Morgan, Brand Against the Machine: How to Build Your Brand, Cut Through the Marketing Noise, and Stand Out from the Competition

We all hear about Digital Branding and how we need to utilize this in our marketing to not only get our audience in the door and constantly keep them informed, but to make sure our brand communication is consistent. Then this is where the information stops. Before I started writing this post I went online and looked up ‘digital branding for events’. To my surprise I found very little actual information on the subject and more companies trying to sell you on the concept. While I am not an expert on this subject, the information I do know can hopefully fill in the gaps of information and guide you on how you can start incorporating this into your event.

What

When I think of branding I think of graphics, product, and information. When I think of digital in this context I see cohesive looks across all online products. Put these together and I see digital branding in regards to events as being everything from your product site, marketing event site, social media outlets, email communication, registration site, onsite event communication, applications for phones and after event follow up. Basically your digital branding is everything you do online top to bottom. This means keeping your communication, look and information consistent, interactive and updated is the core of digital branding.

Why

With the rapid pace of technology if you aren’t offering online solutions, customer care, communications or detailed information online for your event, you are going to be left behind. Over the past few years I have seen a shift from phone and email support to now twitter and Facebook as means of resolving customer issues. I also find myself looking solely for information on the web and email. I don’t want paper or to talk with someone, I want information at my fingertips and that’s why I have an outrageously expensive data plan. While not everyone is this technology driven I can guarantee I am not alone in this and this expectation is only going to keep growing. Digital branding is also a great way to communicate with your audience before, during and after the event. They can help you drive your content and keep the conversation going long after the event is concluded. By engaging this vast community you can only make your brand and event stronger.

How

Well now this is a tricky one. How do you take this little information and apply it to your event? Well for starters you do not go out and “Get the twitter”, as I had a client once say. This is a strategy that does need to be thought out and planned prior to getting the twitter and goes beyond social media. This is about communication between you and your audience, so how do you start that process? Well the best advice I have come across is to first understand and know your audience. Once you know who they are you can start working on how to engage them and that will drive your entire digital branding strategy. Start with what you are already using (i.e. website & registration site) and add additional digital items piece by piece as they fit within your event. Not everything will work with every event so don’t feel that you have to add a phone app just because everyone else does. If it makes sense do it, if not put your resources towards a better digital aspect.

This is a fairly new and growing area in the event industry – don’t be afraid to try new things, but do keep in mind who you are trying to engage. For anyone who is interested in learning more about branding in general I highly recommend the book I used the quote from at the start of this post. John Morgan clearly has an eye on the future and his sarcastic wit really makes this an easy and informative read!

Shannon

Shannon Anderson has been an active member in the event industry for over 15 years trying out every job she could from banquet server to Director of Events. Taking on challenges from the screens at the Sundance Film Festival, the exotic locations of destination weddings and the slightly scary convention centers in Cartagena, Columbia, she has been there, done that and made small children and clients happy.

Currently she can be found traveling the globe, providing an educational experience about her job in creative production and spreading her wisdom to anyone within earshot. As a person who spends equal time on two different continents she chronicles her explorations on her daily lifestyle blog for sanity and admiration.

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