Why do events and organizations rebrand? Over time things become stale, you want to stay fresh with your business and event. Maybe you had a name that you wanted to shake or maybe you wanted to attract a new audience. Whatever the case, rebranding is a mammoth task that takes time and a team of people to work closely together to get the result that you are hoping for.
With a new look, message, and mission, many events and organizations are able to make a fresh start in their space with new clients and attendees, while also still finding ways to maintain their current ones. Most of the time a rebrand comes because you feel like you are falling behind with your target audience. Their needs and interests are growing and evolving and you need to with them as well. It's important to really understand your audience if you are going to move forward with a rebrand because you want to make sure you are not missing out on key messaging that is going to grab their interest and attention.
Getting started on a rebrand is tough. You need to have the right people involved, know what boxes you need to check off and still keep up with your day to day projects. If you are thinking about rebranding your event or organization, we want to give you the tips to make it successful. But how do we know what we’re talking about? Today, etouches announced that it is now Aventri. Same event management software company, with a total rebrand from the look to the messaging. This process took months of planning and from it, we think we learned a little something that we want to pass on to the industry!
To get started, we are going to give you the check-list of items that you need to cross off in order to have a successful launch of your rebranded event or organization.
Tell a Brand Story
A brand story is one of the key elements that will put your rebrand on the right path. The first thing you need to realize is that yes, your event is a brand. It has its own following, logo, messaging, audience, etc. Deciding to change your current event means that you are going to need a whole new story and message to go with it. To start on this path you need to take a journey of discovery to find out what you are missing from your event and that you want to get.
Look at Companies You Admire
At Aventri, we kicked this off with a “safari in the city.” That involved key team members taking a day to visit New York City and visit large, established organizations that are disruptors in their market. The reason that we did this is because we knew that in a sea of event technology companies we needed to stand out from competitors and offer our clients something different. At the end of the day, the team came back with their perception on how certain stores made them feel, what they got right for their clientele, what they didn’t and finally what we could learn from them and take into our own brand. And from there we started to develop what we wanted our story to be.
For an event, you don’t need to simply look at other events and see what yours is missing. You should be stepping outside of the industry and learning from brands that you admire. What are they offering their clients or what feeling do they give their clients that you want your attendees to have when they visit your event? Once you have that figured out you can start to develop your brand promise. The one thing that you want to make sure your story conveys.
Keep Your Audience in Mind
Most importantly when developing your story is to keep your key audience in mind or attendee personas in mind. This is your ideal audience, and you may have multiple key personas. Your goal is to ensure that your brand promise and brand story resonates with them. Understand what their needs are and how you can help solve them is a start on connecting your story.
Don’t Lose Brand Equity
If you have an established event or organization that is particularly recognizable by clients/attendees or is memorable you don’t want to lose that. While rebranding is important to move forward within your industry or to keep up with competing events, you don’t want to alienate your current target audience.
To make sure that you don’t lose your brand equity you should bring some of your audience into the mix when developing your new brand. An organization is always going to have key clients or external ambassadors that they go to when shopping around a new idea or product. The same can be said for your events. You most likely have influencers that attend your events year over year or maybe a few speakers that you can rely on to give you feedback and perception of your event.
It’s important to bring these people into some of your discussions around the rebrand and you don’t necessarily need to tell them right away that you are rebranding your event. Start by getting general feedback from them on what they like and dislike about your current branding. Ask them about your website, logo, content, colors and what they feel when they see them. That brings us back to that “brand safari” idea where you try to figure out what feelings certain brands make your evoke. You can take that into consideration when thinking about what your new brand idea and promise is meant to convey to clients. Does it fit with what they said should change and not change? There are ways to rebrand and seem fresh, without losing what your current audience loves and trusts about you.
Refresh to Expand your Appeal
Again, one of the reasons that you are thinking of a rebrand is because you want to keep up with the evolution of your audience. If you have been hosting the same event for years with the same format, logos, audience, speakers, etc. It may be time to become a little more exciting. With new teams entering the workforce and new events sprouting up across the world, what makes yours better than the rest? Do you have that appeal that will create buzz and attract a new audience?
In order to figure out how to do this, you need to go back to your attendee personas. You may not be marketing to the right audience. If your event is a technology-focused event, you may be marketing to the more advanced techy person who wants to take in everything there is to know about advanced technology. However, it could be the opposite. In your attendee persona discovery, you could find out that, in fact, many of the people who actually attend your event are more novice and looking to become educated on new technology. That means you might benefit from refreshing your voice to speak more to continuing education, instead of seeing what is hot and new.
Once you understand your audience better, you will be able to craft a new event brand that not only excites your current audience but attracts a whole new one that you didn’t even know that you had!
You have your brand story down, new logo – name – colors, etc. Now how do you drive interest and get people to care about what you are doing? You need to build excitement through marketing, PR, and social media. This doesn’t just start on the day you go live, you need to start this a few weeks in advance so when the day comes and you have a new name people aren’t taken aback. As a company that has many loyal clients for years, it is important that you give them time to digest a change is coming and not just flip the switch overnight.
Marketing Your Rebrand to Ensure a Warm Reception
Over communicate. Over communicate. Over communicate. This cannot be said enough! It is important to start an email campaign to your current audience, members, or attendees that teases out something big is coming. You don’t want to scare them but rather make them comfortable with the change. Some cheeky messaging always drives interest but it’s important to have them know that you aren’t going anywhere you are just getting better!
A fun way to tease this without giving much away is to start using your new colors or tagline/messaging in these teaser emails. It gives a subtle hint of the brand so that the day you give the big announcement they can go back and see the little Easter eggs you have been dropping all along. This also gets your team comfortable with your new style.
PR Expertise to Share Your Story
With a large rebrand, it is advised to bring in someone who knows how to drive interest from media and the public. Working with a PR professional will help you better tell your story of change, but still keeping that brand equity that your current audience knows today. More than just creating a press release, they can give you tips on what extra things you can be doing to make sure you hit your audience in every place where they live online.
When they work to get interviews for your head of the rebrand or executive they are helping to get your new brand story out there. That then drives views back to your event website, which gains new interest and hopefully attendees. Additionally, they can work with select media on an embargoed release so that you will get an article out on a big website simultaneously when you go live with the news.
Social Media Messaging for a Wider Reach
You can’t forget about social media! Those emails that you are designing to tease your rebrand, make sure you have them duplicated for your social media audience as well. You want to streamline your messages on all your social channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Build interest where you know your target audience is, day in and day out. Not everyone is going to look at your emails or be on your list but if people they know start seeing your ads or posts on social media and engaging with them they will start to show up on more people’s feeds. The power of reach!
Social media is also a great way to tell your rebrand story first hand to your new audience on your go-live day. This can be done a few ways: Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Snapchat, YouTube. Pick the one that makes the most sense for your audience or re-post to other sites after. By taking the approach of speaking to your audience first-hand about the changes you are helping to build credibility, but also comfort those who may have been nervous that a change was coming.
Live streaming also offers an opportunity of interest for the press. If you let them know you are going to hear from your executive live on xx date with the news, it can garner excitement and even get you a few new followers to your new event page!
A rebrand is not going to be easy. It will take a lot of work and involve a lot of people to get it right. However, if in the end you achieved your goal of invigorating your brand while attracting a new audience then you have succeeded. Just remember how to tell your story, don’t lose what makes your event special, make sure you are targeting the right audience, and when all is said and done promote the heck out of your newly branded event!