Events provide you with one of the few physical expressions of your brand. It is your golden opportunity to reinforce the experience you want attendees to have when they interact with you.
So what can you do when hosting an event in a space that is not your own? Short of recreating your entire office. Here are five path-less-trodden ideas:
1. Pre-Event Meet-Ups. Why wait until you’re onsite to build brand awareness? Thanks to more robust event apps and social media, you can help foster a community and connect people to your brand by having special meet-ups in certain geographies. Depending on your event theme, you can suggest an activity that corresponds – a street clean-up, a book drive, a BBQ or a happy hour. Bonus: At SXSW, participation in a meet-up not only guarantees an instant network but also garners some discounts
2. Interactive, Interactive, Interactive. Your brand isn’t just your logo. It’s the experience of your culture, and you want your community to participate in that. Activities that help attendees document their experience are very popular and serve two purposes – they get a keepsake and you get exposure through sharing. Photo booths are good, but how about a .gif photo booth to change things up? Or better yet, a giant photo frame that everyone can get inside and Tweet or Instagram?
3. Local, local, local. Whether your event is in your home city or abroad, bring the local culture into your event while giving it your own touch. Local brews (coffee or beer) in branded thermoses or steins that your attendees can keep are popular options – and (depending on their drinking habits), they’ll be thanking you (possibly) daily.
4.Embrace the Venue’s Existing Infrastructure. Having your event in a cruise ship terminal? Don’t fight it, use it! All those Customs & Immigration signs are a good opportunity for branding and messaging. Stairs also provide a good visual surface for messaging.
5. Change the Meeting Room Vibe. We’re all programmed to enter an event space expecting a sea of chairs, stage in front, a couple of content screens … but changing up the seating to deck chairs, cubes, yoga balls, stadium seating, or having live music on stage are simple change-ups that can instantly set your brand apart without breaking the bank.