Employee engagement
Cassy Aite
January 17, 2020
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The Virtual Event Branding Cheatsheet for 2021

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The Virtual Event Branding Cheatsheet for 2021

Cassy Aite
November 18, 2020
The Virtual Event Branding Cheatsheet for 2021

“Let’s host a virtual event!”

Chances are, you’ve uttered these five words more in 2020 than ever before. COVID-19 has disrupted the global events calendar, and it feels like the early months of 2021 will be more of the same. Creating memorable event branding is more important than ever.

It’s becoming increasingly challenging for organizations to engage audiences, customers, employees, and stakeholders through the tried-and-tested virtual events formula. 

To create successful events, you need to build a reliable event brand, one that is widely recognized across the industry. For instance, when you hear SXSW, you instantly think of music, films, and the latest technology. There is a reason why SXSW had approximately 280,000 attendees in 2019.

You need to brand your events strategically to make them memorable. This article explores the basics of event branding and offers tips on succeeding with this year and the next.

What Is Event Branding?

Event branding is the process of managing and influencing the reputation of an event to attract attendees and sponsors to increase event revenue. Event branding applies the basic principles of branding to the event, assigning an identity through a name, color(s), logo, font, imagery, positioning, and more. Event branding is also conveyed through the  tone, voice, brand messaging, and communication. Let’s look at Dreamforce, for example, if the cloud logo is the first thing you think of, you’re not alone. Next, brand mascots like Sassy, Einstein, Codey, and Appy might come to mind. Our association of Dreamforce with these elements is the outcome of its event branding strategy that Salesforce has executed to perfection through its event, venues, shows, promotions, and memorable opening acts.

While Dreamforce is a great aspirational benchmark, not all businesses can afford to host events like that. 

A photo of Dreamforce with event mascots Einstein, Codey, Cloudy, and Trailblazer
Dreamforce event branding example of memorable event mascots

How to Build  Great Event Branding?

Your event branding needs to be consistent across all platforms and channels to build a strong recall and coherent event experience. Here is how you can build a strong brand recall for your virtual events, conferences, or webinars.

1. Create an Event Website or Landing Page

Depending on the scope of your event, you can choose either a standalone website or a dedicated landing page. A standalone website is best used for recurring events like annual conferences, whereas landing pages are better suited for one-time webinars. Make sure that the event name, logo, colors, and fonts remain consistent on other event properties as well (ex. LinkedIn, Facebook, emails, etc.).

Here’s a cool example we found of a webinar landing page done right. Note the unique voice and tone that PandaDoc uses to grab the prospect’s attention:

A screenshot of PandaDoc's webinar landing age that features a witty title
How to design a killer webinar landing page with great event branding

The website, microsite, or landing page should contain all the necessary information, including the speaker line-up, topics, blog articles, interviews, and an easy-to-fill registration form. 

If you plan to scale your event in the coming years, buy the domain name, which you can redirect to the current landing page.

2. Build Event Branded Email Campaigns

Emails and  outbound communication channels are essential to your event branding strategy. Whether you are reaching out to registered or potential attendees, sponsors, or media partners, be sure to personalize the message as much as possible.

Craft your email campaigns with your audience in mind and share the most relevant offers, content, interviews, industry news, and newsletters.

It is important to create value that is aligned with the brand you are creating. For example; hosting an event for HR executives? Why not include a popular blog post for them to check out in the days leading to the virtual event.

3. Use Social Media

Whether your event is aimed at a B2B or B2C audience, social media is vital. Of course, you may have to switch between channels but designing a social media content strategy is crucial. First of all, a dedicated event hashtag encourages users to start a conversation with you and allows you to streamline your event messaging.

For B2B events, you can plan content with event speakers to provide audiences a glimpse of the event. Stay active on social media so that you can address the attendees’ queries. With videos being a potent content format, create lots of visual content to attract eyeballs.

After the event, as you plan the thank you email campaign, use native social media features like Twitter Moments to showcase event-related tweets.

4. Increase Awareness with Paid Advertising

It’s unlikely that people will register for your event on the first interaction. So, you need to stay top of mind through advertising. Email and social media are effective, but digital advertising lets you reach them at the most opportune moments, thanks to effective targeting methods.

Using techniques like retargeting, you can promote your event to users who visited your website but forgot to register for it. You can also tailor your message based on the pages they visited to promote registration. Similarly, the lookalike audience feature helps you expand your audience based on your existing users’ characteristics.

5. Use an Event App to Brand the Entire Experience

As more events become virtual, introducing an event app (if you haven’t already) is a great move. Right from registration to networking, everything is consolidated into a single app. Rather than having your attendees hunt for event information across different pages, an event app acts as a single source of information. You can broadcast changes to the line-up, new additions, updates, content, etc., within the app.

Also,  built-in messaging tools, polling options, and live-tweeting make for an immersive virtual experience. During live sessions, moderators can also facilitate Q&A sessions, conduct surveys, and ask for feedback through the app.

A photo of a TedX event displaying the event hastag on screens to boost brand recall
Using a hashtag at a TEDx event to increase engagement and event branding

3 Bonus Tips for Great Virtual Event Branding

Despite the best technology, strategy, and speaker line-up, screen fatigue is real and breaking through this can be challenging. Adding unique experiential elements to your virtual event can help you stand out to design a memorable event brand. Here are our three top tips: 

1. Add Physical Experiential Elements to your Virtual Events

Whether you’re hosting an internal event for your employees or a business event for your customers and users, adding experiences such as lunches, social drinks, prizes or NGO support can help you provide that extra touch of authenticity and originality. Your attendees will love it. It’ll make the event feel more personal and engaging. 

At a time when most events are indistinguishable from one another, providing unique physical event-like experiences will position you as the event of choice for your attendees. You’ll also be able to benefit from the word-of-mouth and bag bigger sponsors and significantly increase engagement rates.

2. Personalize Your Event Offering

You can provide your attendees with greater control of their event experience by sharing virtual cards and vouchers they can cash for experiences during the event. By giving them more choice, you can also gather valuable data around their likes and preferences, which can optimize experiences for future events. 

For instance, Hoppier lets you share virtual cards with attendees who can use it to buy coffee, lunch, gifts from sponsors, and more during the event. You can also customize your event outreach to drive registrations and attendance. 

3. Choose Your Event Partners Carefully

Your event is as good as the experiences you deliver. When choosing your virtual event experience platform, ensure that your vendor services the locations you need, provides round-the-clock support, and offer customized branding options most relevant to your event goals. 

Closing Thoughts on Event Branding

The chances of physical events resuming in 2021 are thin, and it’s looking like virtual events will be here to stay.

Event branding will play a pivotal role for businesses as we head into the new year. How you brand your events will determine whether your attendees will come back for seconds 😊

We hope this article helps you kickstart your event branding strategy and achieve virtual event zen this year and the next! 

Until next time! 


Get 20% off on your first virtual event with Hoppier. Speak to our team today. 

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