It takes a deft hand to handle a brand.
Corporate event experts use many tools to share their client's message at events. But they caution against the impulse simply to plaster the brand all over the event.
"I think it is important that a brand be incorporated into an event in an organic way and not staged," says Gary Levitt, vice president of Los Angeles-based Sequoia Productions. "Otherwise, it will feel like a ‘paid’ advertisement."
Powerful branding can be as simple as a color choice, Levitt says. "There are instances, mostly with private events, where the ‘brand’ is simply a color palette or design that will be incorporated into the invite and be carried throughout the elements of the event," he explains.
Sequoia created an elegant branded event for client Revlon with the "Revlon Ice Cream Bar and Lounge." Custom ice cream names--inspired by the latest Revlon spokeswomen and lip-gloss flavor--were served in cones topped with a branded chocolate medallion, "perfect for a late summer party," Levitt says. “Cigarette” girls tray-passed Revlon's latest lipsticks in the lounge, which was branded with pillows and oversized photographic backdrops.
LIGHT ON LOGOS
Jodi Wolf recommends using a light touch with logos.
A common branding mistake is "overexposure and saturation" of the client logo, says the president of Chicago's Paulette Wolf Events & Entertainment. "Putting your logo on a wall is not branding. PWEE does not like to do themed events--we create environments instead--and over-saturating your logo is to branding the way a theme party is to creating an exciting event. It simply isn’t the most effective, interesting way to do things."
In a chic spin on branding, PWEE stressed the high-end designs of faucet-maker Brizo by commissioning fashion designers including Michael Kors and Tory Burch to create garments made from special fabric printed with subtle patterns of the faucets. "The one-of-a-kind collection was then presented across the country to industry and media audiences, and got national media attention in publications like Vogue, Elle and In Style," Wolf says.
Kristjan Gavin, CMP, president of San Ramon, Calif.-based In Good Company, urges event designers to push their imaginations when creating branded events.
Designers can do more if they "think of the brand experience at a subconscious level," Gavin says, "such as integrating the client product in a new and innovative way." Also, "Go big!" he says, adding, "We always create a brand for the event itself."
For an event series for client Microsoft Ltd. (U.K.) at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference last month in Los Angeles, In Good Company not only used a wide array of standard branding tools—step-and-repeats, 15-foot feather banners, gobos and the like. Further, "Every vendor was asked to work from Microsoft Windows 7 platforms, and to make all technology visible," Gavin explains. "This included our CGI 3D mapping—by Ernie Ernstrom from DaVinci Fusion--done to the stage backdrop wall of the cathedral [venue Vibiana in Los Angeles] that integrated pictures taken on-site and driven through a product developed by Shoothill of the United Kingdom using Microsoft Deep Zoom technology."
See the full story in the September-October issue of Special Events.