Every brand is the brainchild of an entrepreneur. For this brand to grow, right branding is extremely crucial.
“Branding is the art of becoming knowable, likeable and trustable”
It is necessary for the brand to reach out to its target audience and nurture them to establish the desired image of the brand.
An event is a perfect platform to project your brand and influence the audience. Be it the exhibitors, sponsors or the event itself, it is the best way to reach out to people. There are various online and offline ways in which entrepreneurs can use this platform for brand promotion. Apart from social media promotions and e-mail marketing for online promotions, event merchandising is a good option for offline promotion.
Here are a few ways in which you can effectively use merchandising at events to create a buzz and reach out to prospective foot-fall:
#1 Brand Outreach:
Brand promotion through event merchandising when done right has no upper limit when it comes to outreach. You can reach out to a huge number of people and get them interested in your brand.
But, to do that, you need to meticulously plan in terms of how to gain maximum attention. Think out of the box and get creative. Right from the entry till the exit, you should have the visibility at various points across the venue.
For e.g. a brand chose to mount a large sized red balloon on top of one of the outlets of the venue. It definitely stood out at the event, grabbing everyone’s attention as soon as they entered the hall.
#2 Grab maximum attention:
Every attendee at an event has different purposes, notions & intentions of attending the event. People navigate the venue and explore at their own pace. You win when you grab the attention of even the one who walks by too briskly.
Use bright colours and unique creatives that stand out to catch the eye of even those attendees who have the shortest span of attention. Playing catchy music at your stall can also help.
Here’s an anecdote to help you out. One brand had put up a funny banner with a prominent logo and a large sized convoluted mirror on it stating, “This guy is awesome”. Whoever crossed it paused for a while and smirked and went looking at the logo. The brand won.
#3 Get the right set of the audience come to you.
The beauty about events is that instead of you reaching out to your audience, they reach out to you. It is analogous to having your favourite native delicacy getting delivered to your home. Who doesn’t love it?
Having an event merchandise stall with the right kind of merchandise will attract the target audience that you want. For e.g. A tech brand can use merchandises such as laptop stickers or mouse-pads. Brand it your way and let the right set of customers come to you.
#4 Dynamic brand promotion:
An event need not be stationary. You can make it dynamic. Make your brand to travel far and beyond. The correct set of merchandise can promote your brand within as well as outside the premises of the event location.
Here’s an example. At one of its events, one brand created goodie bags with the best prominent logos on both the sides and gave the purchased goods in these goodie bags. These bags are something that the attendees will use even after the completion of the event.
#5 What you give is what you get:
Like the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors that you use in Gmail, Facebook and other CMS editors, events are WYGIWYG — What you give is what you get. Whatever you give away, matters.
Something like a gift merchandise kit with customized logo and designs ranging from pens, notebooks, goodie badges, standees, banners, caps, t-shirts, packing boxes, poly bags, etc. can help. It is just not a call/invite. It stands out as an eternal ‘re-call’.
#6 Free giveaways are not free!
You heard it right. Free give-aways are not free. They are invites to your customers for them to know more about you. It helps them to understand how well your brand treats its customers.
For e.g., a brand at one of its events, planned a cap + balloon with the logo printed and gave it away free to every kid that entered. Their parents felt special and the brand won their hearts, not just purchases.
#7 Gaining loyal customers
Repeat customers are the soul of every business. So, make compelling merchandise in order for your customers to come back to you. Yes, re-marketing works in the offline world too. You can also create offers, contests and hand them gift vouchers and schedule a time for them to come back.
For e.g. conducting a lucky draw requesting the walk-in customers to drop in their business cards is a good strategy for re-call . One brand did the same and declared the winner for every 4 hours. The attendees did ‘come back’.
#8 Transparency in Promotion:
Transparency is the most expected quality from any brand. Be open and transparent. Showcase and display all that you have got ‘beautifully.’
Here’s something that worked. One event printed the entire event agenda in a folded brochure with directions to every venue, name of volunteers, terms and conditions and handed it out to every person who entered. When people opened the brochure, they instinctively understood how much they valued openness and transparency.
#9 Personalization is key:
Tony Hsieh of Zappos wrote beautifully,
“People will forget what you said and what you did. But, they will never forget how you made the feel”
It’s upon the brand to make every attendee to feel special. Personalization is the key to engagement.
For e.g. an event printed out cardboard crowns for event winners along with certificates, button badges, wrist-bands and lanyards and ID cards with their photos. All of the merchandize had a personalized touch.
#10 Whatever they see should talk about your brand:
When a participant enters the event hall, all that they see, feel and hear should only be about you. Every place and object is a wonderful real estate space to leverage on.
Analyze every aspect carefully and pay attention to even the smallest details. Plan what every event organizer should wear, hold and hand out.
Even the banners above every stall have to be selected accordingly. This will in turn decide what every participant will take away from the event when it comes to your brand.
Think from every possible perspective and put the merchandising to the best possible use.
Remember, it’s your brand, your way.