8 Essential Steps Necessary to Create a Cohesive Branded Event with Multiple Sponsors
Managing multiple sponsors within a single event can be challenging. There are some brands that have a great deal of resources and others that don’t. Some may attempt to dominate the event, but always keep in mind who your client is. We have worked for years with the publishing industry, particularly Condé Nast and Time Inc. These organizations are very protective of their brands, and each title, such as InStyle, GQ, and Vanity Fair, has its own DNA. In addition, their event partners or advertisers are buying into the brand for the halo effect that they offer with a particular audience.
When producing such events, our task is to protect our client’s brand but seamlessly allow the partner to express its own unique style within the parameters of a quality guest experience. There are several events that have lost attendance because sponsor activations have overshadowed the main event.
After producing hundreds of events year after year we suggest eight essential steps to creating a successful multi-branded event.
- Present the Complete Environment. While in the planning process, the producer should illustrate how the entire program will be unified, including floor plans and renderings. Renderings can truly help everyone envision the complete project. Early on, if one can clearly communicate the big picture to the production team and the sponsors, the process will be much easier.
- Outline Parameters. Outline what each sponsor will receive. Outline the size of their footprint and what that organizer will provide, identify additional fees (electric, lighting, etc.), and provide deadlines for all approvals.
- Unify Elements. When creating a multi-branded environment, the producer should source elements that are consistent and can be used by all sponsors. For example, pay attention to foundations such as tables, chairs etc. Try to keep such elements in tones of black, white or gray, so there is no favoring any one sponsor’s colors (Citi: blue, Bank of America: red)
- Unify Graphics. Design a cohesive graphic style. Design and produce graphics that are the same for each sponsor. All signs should be a consistent color, font, and size. All sponsor logos should be black or white. Request a black-and-white version of the sponsor logo early in the planning process.
- Aim High. When working with multiple sponsors, there will perhaps be a sponsor with more established branding. Focus your aesthetics on the higher end of the spectrum. The high-end sponsors don’t want their brand compromised by poorly executed production elements. As a result, the sponsors with fewer resources will be elevated as will the entire event.
- Negotiate. Sponsors will definitely want to infuse their brand into their activation. This is expected. They have invested a lot of money and time into building their brand. Some may be more aggressive than others. However, organizers must manage all parties on a regular basis and be willing to negotiate how much each sponsor receives. Decisions should be based on the overall guest experience.
- Constantly Update. Keep partners up to speed on the project. Share with them and get their signed approval on anything that organizers are producing on their behalf. When necessary share with them what other sponsors are providing. You don’t need two photo booths next to each other, or worse, two competitors side by side. Once the event starts, there should be no surprises.
- Recap. After the event is complete, organize a follow-up call or meeting. Get sponsor feedback and thoughts on what did and didn’t work. Your goal is to improve the experience for both the sponsors and attendees.
In our overstimulated, distracted world, we believe guests prefer a curated environment where they can experience an event on their own. When producing anything from a fashion event or a sporting event to a music or arts festival, make it a primary objective to enhance the guest experience.