Extraordinary people run events. Event organisers seem to possess an innate gene for multi-tasking, an unwavering ability to handle stress, and a grand vision of how all the parts fit together to create wow.
As event branding suppliers, we are proud to have collaborated on many successful projects and campaigns. Things could be better though. We wanted to produce this guide so that event organisers see the other side of the production.
These are the top 6 mistakes that we see in event branding:
1. Not tapping into suppliers’ knowledge
At this point, you are probably thinking that the less you deal with suppliers the better but branding suppliers are a fountain of knowledge. We produce a lot of branded products each year and we know what works and what doesn’t.
These days everyone is so busy that a lot of work gets done purely by email. We have many clients with huge branding spends that we have never even spoken with. We respect the way these clients want to be communicated with but we do feel that they are missing out in some cases.
Branding supplies companies are there to guide you through the potential pitfalls and help your creation to shine. Choices of material can also reflect massive differences in price and longevity.
Sharing your budget with your supplier can also be helpful. Generally, prices will be set so suppliers won’t be going up with their prices because you have more to spend. A good supplier will offer alternatives, or recommend other products which could create a huge impact. We all want the same result and that is for the event to be hugely successful.
Building rapport with suppliers also helps when you want to eek out a bit of a better deal or try to squeeze in a last-minute sign that somehow was overlooked.
2. Leaving event signage and branding until the last minute
Without a doubt, the number one issue with event branding is timing. Printers and fabricators have long print queues. In our case, 7 days are normal. Producing signs and banners takes time. The prints are huge, they are custom sized and the man-hours in finishing the raw product into the finished one can be long. Suppliers try to keep everything under one roof but the truth is we also rely on other factories to produce some of our products.
When faced with short deadlines any number of things can happen to affect the quality of the work or the job being done on time. Printers run at different speeds and with different ink overlays, the slower the better generally. If a job has to be squeezed in, print managers will often look to see if they can lay less ink down which affects the colour density and sharpness. Mistakes in sewing or welding can be overlooked, and shortcuts were taken. As much as we would like to say it doesn’t happen to us, it does because that is human nature.
If something is going to go wrong with a courier company, it will go wrong on an urgent event. We once had some rather large pieces of collateral show up in Jakarta when they should have gone to Brisbane. The point is to allow extra time for deliveries. If you don’t have the space, hire some or ask your supplier to store it for you. Nobody is held accountable if your branding is not there on the day because a courier couldn’t find the address.
3. Supplying artwork that doesn’t work
Artwork is a killer. Event companies are generally very well organised but sometimes the wrong files are supplied, re-supplied and again supplied. Ask your supplier for very clear guidelines on what they need. If you, or your client, are producing the artwork ask for templates so you understand how the artwork needs to be laid out. Common problems we find are non-vector artworks, low-resolution images or finished artwork that ignores templates. We also recommend always providing pantone numbers for block colours.
4. Not setting a deadline for sponsors
It must drive the event organisers crazy but sponsors always seem to be late. They want to be included in the branding but make it very difficult by leaving it to the last minute and then providing artwork that is something like the point above. We recommend setting deadlines for sponsors to onboard. If they are looking like being late, make the bulk of the signage and branding and add their component later. It is far better to have 90% of the branding made and on-site than to leave it all for an unachievable deadline. Your supplier will assist you in planning signage that accommodates sponsors coming on at a later date.
5. Not checking if the materials you are using are sustainable
Sustainable events are such a big buzzword and with good reason. Events are short-lived. The lifespan of the average item of event signage is only a few days. While everyone is doing their best to separate the rubbish and provide compostable cutlery, signage is often the elephant in the room. Massive amounts of single-use plastic are bound straight for the landfill.
Check the sustainability of the branding you are using. Try to use sustainable materials and ask your supplier how to recycle the signage they supply you with. Consider reusing items for repetitive or annual events or hiring items that won’t be used again.
Focus Banners are experts in sustainable signage so please speak with us if you have any questions.
6. Not choosing a specialist event branding company
Specialist event branding companies understand event organisers. They understand the deadlines, the logistics and the importance of quality. Branding companies supply custom-branded products, and they have done their research. There should be no surprises.