Eva Talk

Developing Effective Event Branding and Marketing Strategy With Shawn Cheng

Event branding and marketing are critical components of hosting a successful event. An event can provide a unique opportunity for businesses to showcase their products or services, engage with their target audience, and create a memorable experience that resonates with attendees long after the event. By creating a unique and compelling brand identity and marketing it effectively, you can attract more attendees and make your events more memorable. 

An effective strategy requires a deep understanding of your target audience, an impactful brand identity, and the right marketing channels to promote your event. This includes designing a logo, color scheme, and overall aesthetic that captures the essence of the event and reflects the brand’s personality. A well-designed event brand can increase visibility, generate excitement, and create a sense of anticipation that draws people in.

It also involves developing a plan to reach out to potential attendees and convince them to attend the event. This can include tactics such as email marketing, social media promotion, and paid advertising. A successful marketing strategy can increase attendance and generate buzz around the event, leading to increased brand awareness and, ultimately, increased sales.

In this events industry expert series, Shawn Cheng shared key tips for developing a successful branding and marketing strategy to help event organizers stand out and achieve their event goals. In addition, he shared his insights on what it takes to create a winning event branding and marketing strategy.

Shawn (Yih-Hsiang) Cheng, CMP CED DES, is a seasoned business event strategist with extensive experience in creating successful event branding and marketing strategies for his clients. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Shawn has developed a keen eye for what it takes to create successful events that engage, inspire and delight audiences.

* Could you walk us through your professional journey and what inspired you to pursue a career in the events sector?

My journey into the events industry began during my undergraduate studies, where I got involved in organizing events for various student groups. I realized how much I enjoyed the process of creating memorable experiences for attendees and the satisfaction of seeing people leave an event feeling inspired and engaged. After graduation, I pursued a career in the events industry, working my way up from entry-level to senior management positions.

Over the years, I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in event marketing and branding, which has allowed me to work with a wide range of clients, from small startups to international associations. I’m passionate about what I do and love the challenge of creating events that stand out and make a lasting impact.

* What are the key components of a successful event branding and marketing strategy?

The key components of a successful event marketing strategy is understanding who are your target audience. 

Knowing who your target audience is and what motivates them to attend an event is critical. You need to know their preferences, interests, and expectations, and craft a message that resonates with them. In another word, you need to develop your audience personas first before dive into any specific marketing decisions. 

Secondly, instead of try to be on every marketing channels, knowing which channels your target audience uses and tailoring your efforts accordingly. From social media to email marketing, focus on the channels that will reach your audience most effectively. 

Last but not least, leveraging partnerships and influencers. Collaborating with partners, your speakers, board members, and even registered attendees to amplify your message, and help you reach a broader network. 

* Can you share any tips or best practices for event professionals looking to improve their event branding and marketing efforts?

The most important task is spending time to research, and understand your target audience thoroughly. This research phase can help you understand which marketing channels are most effective in reaching your target audience, and craft better messages that speak to them.

Typically, these types of research are conducted through surveys or focus groups. However, they are not always the most effective way, especially if you want to learn your audience more deeply.

Consider introducing the “social listening” practice to your next event by creating an area that naturally entices people to spend time there. The setting can just be a lounge with a whiteboard or sticky notes for people to freely share their thoughts. Or an empowerment zone where your audience can come and share their most pressing challenges, and get practical advice and tools recommendations that will improve their lives instantly. 

Think creatively about how you can design an experience that will help you better understand your audience.

* What advice do you have for organizers trying to maximize their event marketing budget?

To maximize your event marketing budget, you need to be strategic in your approach. 

Here are some tips:

  • Identify your marketing priorities and allocate your budget accordingly. Focus on the marketing channels and tactics that are most effective in reaching your target audience.
  • Use data and analytics to measure the ROI of your marketing efforts and adjust your strategy accordingly. When testing new marketing channels or tactics, always start with small amount of investment. If you see tractions, then add more.
  • Build partnerships with sponsors and exhibitors to leverage their networks and reach a broader audience. Create a promotional kit includes copies and graphics that your partner can use easily.

* What do you see as the biggest trends defining the events landscape right now?

Several trends are defining the events landscape right now:

  • Sustainability: Event organizers increasingly focus on sustainability, from reducing waste to using eco-friendly materials and promoting sustainable practices.
  • Personalization: Attendees are looking for mor personalized experiences, and event organizers are leveraging technology and creative design to accomplish the demands.
  • Augmented Reality: Augmented reality is becoming more prevalent, and cost-effective in the events industry, with organizers using the technology to create immersive experiences for attendees.

* Is there any additional advice or message that you would like to share with our event professionals community?

My advice to event professionals is to stay adaptable and flexible in the face of uncertainty. The events industry is constantly evolving, and the pandemic has only accelerated that change. 

To succeed, you need to be willing to adapt to new technologies, trends, and circumstances. Be open to experimentation, and don’t be afraid to try new things. 

Finally, always remember that events are ultimately about people. Focus on creating meaningful experiences for your attendees, and everything else will fall into place.

For more in the Events Industry Experts series, check out our interview with Olivia Preston-Lee, Patric Weiler, Shameka Jennings, Janice Cardinale, Courtney Stanley, Helen Moon, Danica Tormohlen, Ashley Brown, Jason Allan Scott, Brandt Krueger, Corbin Ball, Will Curran, and Stephan Murtagh today!

Are you interested in sharing your insights or viewpoints with the events industry? Join the Eva Talk.

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