Real-world representation, where you take your brand guidelines off the page or screen and effectively translate them into events and experiences, is our speciality. I passionately believe brands should be making a better job of representing their values and reasons for being in the real world. We recently partnered with a research company to poll marketers on the issue and respondents overwhelmingly agreed with this notion – 92% saw it as being important. Of course, knowing something matters and finding the time and resource to making it happen are two different things.
The real-world representation of your brand is crucial for every measure of success, but it might not be of utmost importance in some client’s eyes. That’s understandable. Budgets need to work harder than ever before. Minute details need to be covered off. Major technical challenges need to be overcome. Clients regularly want those blue-sky, overarching concepts, but more often than not budgets won’t allow this. Therefore, their ideas may be limited due to this, before any planning is fully explored.
Why it’s important
Events are often the first, and sometimes the only, time a particular stakeholder (whether employee or consumer) might experience your brand in the real world. They are the best opportunity you’ll ever have to create a sense of wonder. And the impression you create in that moment will impact all future interactions.
These days, competition is fierce. Brands need to stand out to succeed in highly competitive marketplaces, regardless of sector. Failure to pay proper attention to the real-world representation of your brand means you risk falling behind others who do. Prioritise getting it right, and you add real value to both the brand itself, and the attendees who are experiencing it first-hand at your events.
Mastering the real-world representation of your brand, and the painstaking consideration this requires, can be hard to justify. It takes time, and specialist creative resource. Often more straightforward concerns take precedence, particularly when it comes to budget allocation.
Our research asked marketers what the biggest barriers are to physically mastering their brand in the real world. They cited several concerns, from a lack of understanding or alignment internally, to issues with resource or timing. But budgetary concerns came out on top, cited by 44%.
What might at first glance appear to be a, nice-but not-necessary added extra could actually be crucial to the overall success of the event. Real-world representation is what forms brand love. The experience, the space, it all makes you warm to and want to be a part of that brand. It’s not unusual to be surprised by the extent of its impact. There are barriers to be overcome but viewing and tackling them in the right way is key to success.
The role of creativity is critical to a brand’s impact at an event. If it’s clear, considered and beautiful, it generates employee pride, agency and client-side. That level of enthusiasm then transfers to your attendees. Brands and agencies need to work together on this. Agencies need to be producing stand-out creative in its own right; but also, all-important interpretations of the brand marketer’s thoughts and ideas, taking them on a journey from concept to concrete.
Beyond the event concepts and creative is the event content. The quality and clarity of your content is all important. The real-world representation of your brand directly enhances its impact. For this reason, the two things should always sit side-by-side, don’t fall into the trap of viewing them in isolation.
Messaging is a key component of any event. This is particularly true for B2B audiences, where highly technical information might need to be conveyed. Incorporating these messages, while generating an emotional engagement with your brand, is a challenge; not least because we all interpret ideas, concepts and communications differently. The goal is to have audiences experience your messages, rather than just receive them. That requires establishing fluid links between the creative concepts, design and technology in use at any event.
The importance of brands producing meaningful and shareable moments is increasingly recognised, but the relevance of real-world representation in live activation is still frequently overlooked. It’s time that changed. Getting your organisation’s big ideas into the physical environment, in a way that means all your audiences truly understand your brand, is a challenge. But getting it right means unrivalled levels of brand engagement. And that’s what events are all about.