Brand your event

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Waypoint Exhibition and Event Group has announced the launch of a new national exhibition to support the marketing sector. Incentives & Promotional Marketing Live! is set to co-locate at Birmingham’s NEC, alongside established trade events Call Centre Expo, Event UK and Service Management Expo. But that’s not all. The new event, which will take place from September 21-22, will also co-locate with the Independent Print Industries Association (IPIA) annual autumn trade exhibition – the renamed Print for Business – LIVE!

Stephen Richards, a director of Waypoint Exhibitions and event director of both shows, suggests Print for Business – LIVE! is set to benefit from a broader promotional campaign in tandem with IP&M – LIVE!, extending its reach to marketing decision makers. But how does a company such as Waypoint, jointly owned by Richards and Philip Soar, brand the events and create new identities?

Explains Richards: “The starting point for the branding was choosing ‘LIVE!’ as part of the titles. It was a deliberate choice, a number of consumer events, and now quite a few B2B events, use the tag, Top Gear Live and Grand Designs Live for example. It is to emphasise to the visitors, as if it really needs to be said, that it is a live, interactive event. Live interaction is what we sell – it’s our USP. We deliver a live audience to the exhibitors, as opposed to faceless clicks on a graph, and a live experience for the visitors, as opposed to a two dimensional web or print experience.

“Our creative agency felt that ‘LIVE’ was important enough to give it prominence on the design work and right from the initial brief it was given a list of likely applications, covering print, online and on-site. It had to work as a two-metre square banner or a postage stamp-sized ‘endorsement’ – which I think it does.”

Incentives & Promotional Marketing Live! branding will be evident on lanyards, badges, front of house signage, pens at show entrance, show bags, exhibitor catalogue, organiser team clothing, seminar theatre fascias, lecterns within the theatres, banners hanging from the ceiling in the halls, on the floor plan inside the event, on all directional signage, on each exhibitor’s fascia board, on the carpet, on pocket floorplans for visitors, on traffic signs within NEC area and possibly on flags at the NEC. Yet this last point, as Stand Out writes, is still to be negotiated.

Continues Richards: “We also encourage exhibitors to use it [branding] on ads and web links. Having organised many, many exhibitions, I know that
for use on a quarter or half page advert some event logo designers have created important elements too small. For all print and pre-show applications the venue, NEC, and dates are vital – the logo will never be seen without them prior to the event. Logos have also been designed in portrait and landscape versions for versatility. On-site the dates can be dropped and logo will still look

complete. The strong colours and the icon block are also good for print and on-site simplification when the time comes.”

The large “LIVE” word has featured on all event collateral so far: HTML flyers, a printed flyer, website, pop ups, business cards and all press releases.

“We also simultaneously developed the Print for Business branding on the same lines in a complementary, yet contrasting colours of the two shows, vibrant pink
for I&PM –LIVE! and vibrant blue for Print for Business – LIVE!, so they can live together in certain copy applications and on-site. The two colours used in the two separate show areas, occupying the same hall, will give make each show instantly recognisable.”

Interrogate and involve

Chris Clarke, director of events at P&MM, exclaims that he “loves” clients that allow the agency an open remit, with regards to creativity.

While some clients have strict brand policies that give a steer as to what can and can’t be done, it is still possible to be creative, Clarke says. Yet, the most fun is when you know what the event objective is but you don’t know how you are going to reach a conclusion. This is when it’s time to pool ideas and put the meat on the bones of a skeletal branding concept.

“You should interrogate the brief to within an inch of its life. Ask the client, the means of communication at their disposal and find out what has been done before.
Is the measure of success the number of bums on seats, in which case the type of communication is important, or is the activity incentivised, in which case the length of communication comes into play?

“Invariably, during these conversations, you will always come up with a load of rubbish stuff and in the last 10 minutes come up with a good idea,” Clarke laughs. “At which point, you need to go back to the client and ask more questions.

“Theming is always fun and the chances are that the ideas will be enhanced by the client. Some clients will buy your idea lock, stock and barrel but that doesn’t happen very often, as people like to feel involved.”

Currently, Bodies Revealed, an anatomical exhibition that inspects the complexities of the human body with real human specimens, is displaying in Birmingham at Custard Factory’s Space 2. Nick Morgan, managing director of Big Cat Group, says that it is responsible for the exhibition’s on-site branding, which is hoped will generate transient footfall. The event, which takes place until

January 30, sees a fully branded ticket office with stretched scrims, branded AA wayfinding signage, up-lit Corex at the show’s entrance, perforated banners flown across the street upon which Custard Factory is located, 30 billboards across the city centre, 72 telephone boxes covered in a transparency portraying an exhibit, six sandwich boards and three specially- commissioned “muscle” suits that depict the body’s muscle structure. All these forms of media are being utilised to place the Bodies brand in the public domain.

Morgan explains that the campaign is particularly extended and aggressive as the subject matter of the exhibition is more controversial. The Bodies Revealed marketing campaign began on October 1, with the show opening on October 28, and it ran until the end of December.

“If the event lasted one-day then the campaign would economically not make sense. We want to see 100,000 people through the Custard Factory’s doors and so the campaign and amount of branding has to reflect that goal. In comparison, we also work with Business Link’s Innovation Service, which organises 185 events each year. Eighty per cent of its marketing is carried out online, as it’s highly targeted.”

Absorb the brand

According to Andy Dixon, creative director at Scene2, nowadays everyone claims to be able to offer a branded experiential event. But what does it really mean to offer a truly branded experience? How subtle can an experience be to create a long lasting memory in the mind of the consumer and can a branded event be too branded?

“Consumers demand to be immersed in a 3Dimensional world in order to
be affected,” continues Dixon. “For a branded experiential event to be successful it must mix the subtle with blatant. Blending these will create a 3Dimensional world within which the consumer can absorb the brand and be left with a long- lasting memory.”

In September, Frank PR asked Scene2 to create an interactive touring set to promote Drench to 18-25 year old students.

Retro and interactive fairground fun was employed as a concept to pull in the crowds to promote the drinks brand. The set incorporated toy pheasants to tie in with an above the line advertising campaign. Scene2 presented a scamp, which then went straight into full production.

“Pheasant Hoopla” was turned around in 10 days from phone call to delivery. The Hoopla unit was fully branded with Drench logo, printed vinyls and pantone matched-to-branding paint. The accompanying branded leader-board was a giant chalkboard, which could be easily re-used for each venue. This quirky, fun, experiential set provided the perfect, interactive, small scale touring solution that could be easily managed – by a team of three and a transit van – for a highly successful tour of the UK’s student unions.