Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual conferences are becoming more common. With restrictions of physical distancing, companies have had to adapt and move their events online. Learn how to brand and promote your virtual events to maximise attendance and engage your audience.
How do you brand a virtual event?
Several elements will go into branding your event to make it solid and memorable. These elements work together and make a statement about your virtual event and company.
Brand consistency is a critical part of marketing success. Incorporate your brand’s colours, logos, and fonts into the online event to promote your brand. Send speaker kits to your presenters that include digital files to ensure uniformity across all your presentations. You can have these files on a branded USB key and include other items for more branding exposure.
Ask why people would want to attend your event. What sets your virtual event apart from other events? Highlight what your company does that no one else can.
Be authentic and genuine with the messages in your event. Your virtual event is an opportunity to build trust in your brand with participants.
Doing a virtual event is different from an in-person event. Make sure that you account for the fact that what may work physically may not be practical digitally. Even simple things like consistent colour schemes throughout all aspects of the event will improve the recognition of your brand.
Brand your virtual event with a common theme
Using a common theme will create a unifying feel for your virtual event. You can use many different sources of information to help you determine what your theme should be:
- Customers: At the end of the day, this is all about your customers. Find out what problems they are having and how your company can help them.
- Sales Staff:Your sales staff will have significant insights on topics that are on your customers’ minds due to their direct interaction.
- Social Media Trends: Go onto social media or talk to your marketing team about what is currently trending that is relevant to your business. Social listening tools are available to see what people are searching for which can reveal topics and issues of interest.
- Competition: As always, know your competition. Look into what your competitors are offering and how you can differentiate your brand from them.
Make your brand identity more consistent
Consistency in your brand is one of the most effective ways to increase brand recognition. Too much variation in styles and colours can lead to confusion and people being unable to recognise your brand. Less is more. Millions around the world will immediately recognise the Nike Swoosh despite no words associated with it. Here are three ways to make your brand identity more consistent:
Create a brand guide:
Your organisation should already have a brand guide, and you should have a section for any virtual events that you host. The following are just a few of the guidelines you should have:
- Colour scheme – include the RGB values to ensure the colours are identical from speaker to speaker.
- Presentation templates – incorporate directions and examples in these templates for your speakers to use to build their presentation.
- Fonts and sizing – identify what company font should be used and sizes for headings.
- Logo usage – Include examples of company logos and how presenters should use them.
- Brand mission or statements – ensure everyone is on the same page with the mission of your brand and uses consistent statements
Check and update existing materials
When you have made your guidelines, it is essential to stick to them. Use your virtual event as an opportunity to go and check all your existing media to ensure they are conforming to your brand guide. Common resources include:
- Social media profiles and posts
- Business cards
- Company e-mail footers
- Document templates and letterheads
Create a plan for the future
Just because you have a brand guide in place does not mean it should stay stagnant. The famous Guinness harp has undergone a number of changes over the decades but has not lost that iconic shape everyone recognises. Schedule regular reviews of your brand identity and make sure it aligns with current styles and trends.
How do you market virtually?
After deciding on the theme of your virtual event, you will need to promote it and create a buzz. Here are four strategies you can use to market and promote your virtual event:
- Create a webpage: Make an eye-catching page on your website for your event to put information on the times and dates, sign up links, speaker bios, topics, and the agenda.
- Give registrants a preview: You can increase interest in the event with short interviews with your speakers or highlighting what people can expect. Gradually release these as you lead up to the event to drive traffic to the website.
- Use Social Media: Utilise hashtags and social media to get the word out on all the major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Send out registration packs: Use the time leading up to the event to send registrants a gift pack with some branded merchandise. Include things they can wear during the virtual event.
How to incentivise virtual event interaction
It can be more challenging to encourage interaction in a virtual event. To overcome this, create a sense of excitement for the event. Consider sending gift boxes with branded apparel or adult colouring books to the first 25 registrants. Have prizes for people who wear clothing during the event that promotes your company. Prizes could include additional branded items, a refund of the registration fee, or a free registration for the next event.
Give your guests breaks, but also use this as an additional opportunity for brand connection. If you sent out registration packs, you could send social media posts to remind everyone to relax and use some of the items in their packs. Have them post a photo on your social media page to further engage your participants with your brand.
Use the virtual event agenda to your advantage
An agenda is crucial for having a well run virtual event. It will avoid wasting time and will keep the event engaging and exciting for the participants. You can use the event to your advantage to build brand recognition and build in opportunities for participant engagement and interaction. Here are four tips for leveraging your virtual event agenda:
- Clearly state your event goals: It is important to know what the purpose of your event is as this will dictate what types of talks and events you will have and guest speakers to invite. Approve all the presentations to ensure they are aligned with your brand image and event objectives.
- Include all your speakers in the planning: Don’t forget to include all your speakers in planning out your schedule. You want to keep your participants engaged, and the order in which your presentations are given can make or break the event. Have a flow that makes sense to create a positive and memorable event.
- Take advantage of breaks to promote your brand: Everyone will need a rest to stretch their legs or get some food and beverages. Make sure you schedule moments in the agenda for this. Use this opportunity to promote your brand. Have your guests use items from their registration pack and have them post it on social media for some valuable user-generated content. Encourage this by entering those who post into a draw for a prize!
- Schedule polls and prize draws to create engagement: Make sure your audience stays engaged throughout the event by having polls and prize draws. You can use polls to gauge audience interest in specific topics and collect feedback for future events. Prize draws will keep people in the event and can be used as an opportunity to distribute even more branded items to promote your brand.
Leverage social media for virtual events
Social media is a powerful tool for branding and should be incorporated into all aspects of your virtual event and general marketing strategy. The first thing to do is create a branded hashtag for your event. Hashtags with your company name or abbreviation and the year are often used, such as #XYZConference2021. But don’t stop at just having a hashtag for the event. Create hashtags for your gift boxes or prizes and encourage participants to post photos of their swag online with the hashtag to create even more brand exposure.
Create an area on your social media for your participants to post their own content. User-generated content has been shown to give much more impact to livening up your brand. Speakers at your events can post up previews of their talk or poll registrants on topics they would like to hear discussed. Have participants post photos of their gifts and create a random draw for a prize. Use the full potential of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to bring attention and build a community around your brand and event.
Consider Packs and Kits
An exciting aspect of going to networking events is receiving branded items that are useful or fun. Pens, bags, shirts, note books, and mugs are just a few of the branded items often given out during events. But just because the event is virtual doesn’t mean you can’t promote your brand with some physical swag.
Registration Packs: When participants in the event register, send them a registration pack that includes branded items such as hats, shirts, water bottles or other valuable items. Incorporate these gifts into the event itself for more brand promotion.
Speaker Kits: You could include your speakers with items they might need to make your event look professional and consistent. Branded company clothing, backdrops, or a branded USB key that contains company logos they can incorporate into their presentation can all be used to create a consistent and exceptional event.
VIP Appreciation Gifts: You may have some keynote speakers or important clients attending your event. Consider giving these select VIPs premium custom products that uniquely reflect your brand.
Virtual events contest prize giveaways
Having strong interaction with the audience can be more challenging with virtual events. You can incentivise engagement and participation through branded prizes and giveaways throughout your virtual event. Begin by sending participants a branded mug or t-shirt, and have them post photos of themselves on social media with the item. Those who post can be entered into a draw for a prize that will be announced during your virtual event. You can also have quizzes or contests throughout the event and give away prizes to your guests.
Tara Slevin Group was founded in 1982, initially supplying office stationery, but eventually diversified to include various promotional marketing products, Diaries and Calendars. Our commitment to our customers has helped make us the most reliable promotional and branded clothing and product supplier in Ireland. We are proud members of Guaranteed Irish and are well-positioned to serve the needs of large and small companies alike.