From music festivals to conferences, events of all kinds thrive on memorable branding. In this episode of the Event Promoter Podcast, we spoke with Jason Gierl, an expert in design and branding for events.
As the owner of Insect Hobby Design Co, Jason has worked on branding projects for major venues like Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater Group, music festivals, and organizations in the events industry. Most recently, he led the branding and creative direction for the National Independent Venue Association’s (NIVA) national conference in Washington DC.
I was blown away by the quality of the designs at the event. Through my career I’ve worked on thousands of events and sometimes great design just pops. Luckily, I ran into Jason while there and we got this podcast scheduled to talk all about design and branding for events.
In our conversation, Jason shares invaluable insights on developing cohesive branding for events. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to elevate your existing brand, implementing his strategies can help your event stand out.
We discuss tips like defining your target audience, building a consistent visual identity and voice, and extending branding through the full event experience. Jason also talks about leveraging limited-edition merch and collectibles to increase perceived value and exclusivity.
If you’re an event organizer looking to create more memorable experiences through strategic branding for events, this episode is for you. Read on or watch the interview to learn from Jason’s decades of expertise in event branding and design.
Table of Contents
- Full Podcast Interview with Jason Gierl on Branding for Events
- Developing a Distinct Brand Identity
- Elevating the Event Experience Through Design
- Leveraging Limited Edition Collectibles
- Should You Hire In-House or Use an Agency To Do Branding for Events?
Full Podcast Interview with Jason Gierl on Branding for Events
Strong, cohesive branding is critical for event venues and promoters to stand out and create memorable experiences for attendees. After seeing the incredible branding Jason and his team developed for NIVA’s national conference, it became clear just how much of an impact thoughtful design and branding can have. By consistently applying a defined visual identity and voice across all touchpoints, events can craft a holistic experience that wows guests and forges lasting impressions.
In today’s oversaturated media landscape, establishing a unique brand identity is key to resonating with your target demographic.
As Jason explains in our discussion, branding for events goes far beyond just logos and posters. It involves understanding your audience, differentiating from competitors, and extending your visual and tonal brand through the full attendee journey. For indie venues and promoters struggling to compete with corporate players, cultivating an authentic personality through strategic branding can be the competitive edge.
Developing a Distinct Brand Identity
Creating a clearly defined and consistent brand identity is the foundation for impactful event branding. This involves establishing visual styles, branding voices, identifying target audiences, analyzing competitors, and ensuring consistency. Here are some tips for developing a unique identity:
- Define your visual style – Consider your logo, color palette, typography, graphic elements, etc. Having visual brand guidelines creates cohesion across all touchpoints.
- Craft your brand voice and tone – Beyond visuals, think about how you communicate verbally with customers. Define the terminology, language, humor or other elements that embody your brand voice.
- Understand your target audience – Research the demographics, values, interests and pain points of who you want to serve. Design your brand identity to resonate with their preferences.
- Analyze competitors – Study what other industry players are doing well or poorly with their branding. Use this intel to differentiate yourself.
- Maintain consistency – From social media to signage and branded merchandise, ensure branding is applied consistently everywhere. This boosts recognition and recall.
Developing a distinct identity establishes your event as a unique experience worth remembering in an oversaturated market. Work with designers to build creative that feels authentic and distinctly you. Consistency strengthens familiarity over time. Stand out by crafting branding tailored to your attendees.
Elevating the Event Experience Through Design
Thoughtful design elements can take your event branding from something attendees briefly notice to an immersive experience they’ll never forget. Here are some ways to elevate events through branding design:
- Custom branding unifies the event and makes it more immersive – Develop branding exclusively for the event vs slapping a generic logo on a template. This makes the event feel cohesive and unique.
- Well-designed stage/venue decor creates a wow factor – Invest in set pieces, signage, lighting or decor that wows attendees and gets branded social media mentions.
- Match branding collateral to the venue aesthetic – Ensure branded merchandise, signage, menus or other collateral feel cohesive with the venue design itself.
- Use projection mapping to transform spaces – Project custom animations and moving imagery onto walls or floors to delight crowds.
- Develop engaging photo ops – Design Instagram-worthy photo ops featuring the event branding attendees will proudly share on social media.
Thoughtful design elevates branding from a passive background element to an interactive part of the experience.
Interestingly, Heidi Luerra, Co-Founder of RAW natural born artists emphasized the same things when talking about what she thinks makes events successful.
Well-executed decor and collateral create WOW moments, while cohesive designs unify and enhance the space. Design should do more than look pretty – it should shape a memorable experience.
Leveraging Limited Edition Collectibles
Offering exclusive, limited-edition collateral is an impactful way to engage attendees.
Here’s how scarce collectible merch can boost branding:
- Special posters, shirts increase perceived value and exclusivity – Creating tour-specific shirts or unique autographed posters makes merch feel rare and special.
- Fans love collecting location-specific merch – Numbered venue-exclusive posters or date-specific shirts excite hardcore fans.
- Scarcity principle builds demand – Listing quantities available taps into the scarcity principle. People assign more value to things with limited availability.
- Consider special packages – Bundling collectibles into VIP packages increases their perceived worth and gives fans a memento.
- Collaborate with local artists – Supporting local creatives provides authenticity and goodwill. Fans appreciate regional flair.
Limited edition branding collectibles cater to dedicated fans who want physical mementos of their experience. Scarce merch can incentivize higher ticket tiers too. Create VIP-only offerings to tap into the power of exclusivity through your branding.
Should You Hire In-House or Use an Agency To Do Branding for Events?
When it comes to executing branding for your events, you have two main options – building an in-house team or hiring an external agency. There are pros and cons to each approach:
In-House Branding Team
- Deep knowledge of your brand and audience
- Ability to maintain consistency
- Cost savings long-term by avoiding agency fees
- Significant upfront investment in salaried staff
- Creativity can suffer without outside perspective
- Limited skillsets within a small team
Using a Branding Agency
- Specialized expertise across design, digital, etc.
- Fresh external perspective on your brand
- Scalability and flexibility
- Higher cost than in-house staff
- Potential lack of industry/audience knowledge
- Can be difficult managing many agency partners
The ideal solution is often a hybrid approach, tapping into the strengths of both.
For initial brand development or a rebrand, bringing on an agency makes sense to provide an outside perspective. An in-house team can then execute on the established creative direction. Periodic checks from the agency helps keep branding current and prevents stagnation.
Evaluate your budget, goals and growth trajectory when deciding between in-house and agency support for maximizing your event branding.
Memorable branding is what elevates good events into unforgettable experiences. A cohesive identity and thoughtful design creates impressions that last long after the event ends.
By developing consistent branding tailored to resonate with your attendees, you transform a venue into an immersive environment. Strategic merchandising and collectibles boost engagement and satisfaction.
Whether you’re ready to level up your existing brand or start fresh, Jason and the team at Insect Hobby Design Co. have the expertise to make your vision a reality.
Want help crafting branding strategies to set your event apart? Get in touch with Jason at over at their website to connect with him. Now is the time to define your unique identity and wow attendees through cohesive, creative branding.
The investment in thoughtful branding yields exponential returns in the impressions and memories forged. Follow Jason’s tips to develop branding that creates experiences worth remembering for years to come.
Check out some of our other podcasts and resources for event promoters below.