Effective branding is important to carve out a strong identity for your event and to showcase your key sponsors and partners. The possibilities are endless but many ideas can come with a hefty price tag. Here are 13 low cost ideas that won’t blow your event budget, but can still make a great impact.
Developing a strong event brand or identity can help build credibility, loyalty, recognition and support. As an event planner it is also important to ensure your supporters are centre stage, to thank them for their financial contribution. At the same time you need to balance the budget and more often than not you need to pull the rabbit out of the hat and create magic from what seems like a puff of smoke.
Not only are these ideas cost-effective, they generally also can have a fast turnaround for when the event date is looming or lead times are tight. These are not all new ideas but by changing the materials used or how they are created they can save a significant amount of money. One or several of these suggestions combined may work well for your next event.
1. Lectern Branding
If you have speakers presenting from a lectern all eyes will be on the stage and the audience will most likely be taking photos and sharing these pictures online, therefore having branding on the podium is a must. Over the years we have spent a small fortune on lectern boards and experimented with many different materials and fixings. Eventually though we realised that for most events, simply printing logos onto a PVC banner material, ordered to the bespoke size measurements of the lectern is the best option. This can be attached with tack, tape or velcro and is so light you don’t need to worry about it dropping off. You can have a square or rectangular shape to fit your logo, or perhaps consider a design which runs vertically down to the floor. The best part is that this only costs a few pounds or dollars. Bargain!
2. Social Media Prop
Having a prop, such as a custom Instagram frame, is a great way to encourage your attendees to take more photos, whilst ensuring that your logo and event details are shared to their networks when they share to social media. Expect to pay between $10 and $30 for design and printing of a small frame. If you have a photographer on site or if a member of your team is happy to take pictures these can be shared on your Facebook page to encourage people to like your page and tag themselves in the photo. Mr Holland often uses this idea and runs various photo competitions to win a holiday in return for getting the most likes on the photo. The most recent competition at IMEX Frankfurt 2016 used a #orangetwist photo board.
Cake, cupcakes, cookies, marshmallows, rock, flapjack; today you can brand up just about anything edible. Sweet treats are often a popular novelty for taking pictures but with the added bonus that attendees can eat them too! If you are looking for a slightly healthier alternative go for something like a carrot or banana cake. Dietary requirements such as gluten free can also be catered for. For something more daring how about a chilli chocolate cake?
4. Conference Folders
If budget is tight an event app, or other eventtech, probably isn’t available to you but you still have a need to share information with your delegates. Bespoke conference folders or bags are expensive so a cheap but effective option is to simply use clear polyfiles with a printed cover sheet at the front. The sheet should be full colour, ideally printed with bleed and cut down to size. Printing on card or paper is fine. The file can also be recycled by the attendee after the event too.
Adding some coloured uplighters to your audio visual order is a low cost way to add in your logo colours around the event. This can tie together all of the different branding ideas and is a subtle way to draw focus back to the event logo, particularly in the stage area of the main room.
6. Lanyards and Badges
Printing coloured logos onto every attendee badge is a simple fix that almost all event planners use. If you shop around lanyards can also be an option. Consider plain coloured lanyards if you don’t have the time or budget for custom printing. If you can have bespoke lanyards printed a single colour custom print is cheaper than a 2 colour or full colour designs.
You might also want to consider producing a festival lanyard type idea. This can be created with a number of branded printed attachments, playing card sized, with a hole punched at the top to attach to the lanyard. The key event information such as the hashtag, agenda, key sponsors and layout plan can be included and accessed easily for quick reference.
7. Paper Bags
Catering options are changing and convenience is a key consideration. More and more lunches are being served in grab bags at events. If this is the case consider purchasing branded paper bags for extra visibility.
The paper bags can also be used to collect in feedback forms and badges at the end of the event and for gifts for speakers and so forth.
8. Sponsor Backdrop
Sponsor backdrops can be expensive if you choose a traditional exhibition style pop up or need something to be specially hung at the venue. A cheaper, sturdier alternative is to go for an extra wide banner stand. These can be found in widths of up to 3.2m wide and provide the perfect photo back drop for a fraction of the cost.
Banners in general can be a cheap and easy way to give some extra branding or interest to your event. A standard 1m pull up banner stand can even be used as signage wayfinders around the venue.
9. Holding Screen and Digital Signage
If speakers are presenting at your event you will have at least one screen available to you. Create a “holding slide” which can be inserted between each presentation and prominently feature logos, plus key information like the hashtag and WiFi network details. Ensure the technician freezes this image and can cut to show it as required throughout the event to give a more streamlined and professional image, even if the speaker hasn’t advanced their last slide.
Some event organizers insist that all speakers use a custom event slide template when building their presentations, for consistent messaging throughout the event.
The same image can also be used on the venue digital screens and signage if they offer this. If not, go old school and print out signs onto paper to be used in wayfinders and ensure a consistent, recognisable brand is displayed throughout the event.
Branded t-shirts are a great way to identify event staff and brand the event. The costs may be insurmountable for a small event though, as the price per unit decreases drastically based on the order volume. If customized t-shirts are out of the question you can still suggest a colour theme for all of your staff to match the event or main sponsor logo colours. Alternatively ask all staff to wear black business wear and white shirts and provide scarves or ties in your brand colour to produce a uniform look for the team without breaking the budget.
Tyvek wristbands are another practical branding option and an alternative to badges. They are a low cost option available in a variety of colours, which can be printed in a single colour or full colour print process. As well as logos, why not include the event hashtag as an easy prompt for your attendees.
Branded bunting can be printed to your exact specification in terms of colours, logos and length required. For $200 upwards this is a cool option you may want to investigate further.
A gobo is a cut out stencil of a logo or similar design. Light shines through the cut out shape and projects an image onto a wall, ceiling or other surface. Gobos can be moving or static. Prices are dependent on the design but can start from $30 upwards. You also need to hire or buy the light source too.
Even if you are working with a small event budget, one or more of these ideas should hopefully be achievable for easy, affordable branding options for your event. To make your budget stretch even further make sure that you don’t have the year printed on any of these ideas, with the view that they can then be used again at future events.
What are your favourite low cost event branding ideas? Please share details in the comments below.
Photo Credits: Events Northern Ltd and Andy Whitehead Photography.