Blog to support the book "Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs" by Kristen Fischer

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

5 Ways to Brand Your Meetings
By Catherine Kaputa, founder of SelfBrand (www.selfbrand.com), a brand strategy company that works with people, products and companies.

"All the world's a stage," goes the Bard's familiar refrain. And in the business world, meetings and events are the primary stage on which you perform. How you put together a big meeting or event can make or break the corporate brand, just as how you perform giving a talk or presentation will brand you as either a star or an understudy.

So how do you create a strong meeting or event that enhances both your organization's and your reputation? And that everyone enjoys attending to boot? Here are some ideas from my book, U R a Brand:

Name the event. Does your big meeting or event have a great name? It's important because a good name is a valuable asset. A name can create interest and excitement as well as position the event. (Examples: World Economic Forum, the State of the Union Address, The Academy Awards)

Create a theme. Compelling slogans are like memory magnets. That's why advertisers are so fond of them, and why you'll want to create a punchy expression or theme for the meeting or event that sticks in the mind and connects emotionally with the audience. The slogan for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing is "One world. One dream" to convey the idea of uniting the world around the Rings. Some other successful Olympic slogans were "Light the Fire Within" for the 2002 Salt Lake City games and "Welcome Home" for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Create a logo for the event. Most companies and causes have a logo, and many big meetings and events do, too. The Olympic's interlocking rings are as familiar as the event and help it to raise funds by letting sponsors use the Rings in their advertising. Use the visual mark , the graphic of the logo, to convey an important idea about the event.

Develop a trademark element. Think about developing a format for your meeting or event that has a signature element that will be talked about and become a trademark of the meeting. At the State of the Union Address, for example, the President acknowledges everyday American heroes near the end of the speech. That ritual has become a branded part of the State of the Union address, and is highly anticipated.

Create a sense of exclusivity. Just as there is a hierarchy of brands, there is a hierarchy of events. The most successful events and meetings have some element of exclusivity. At the pinnacle of meetings in the business world is the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and CEOs and heads of state vie to be on the invitation list. Securing some high level executives or leaders to speak or introduce another speaker can help create an air of exclusivity and attract interest in your event, too. Even at the Academy Awards, it's not just the glamour of who receives the award that we look for, but the star power of the celeb duo who present the award.

link | posted by Kristen at 4:07 PM |

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