What happens to an event when all your guests are unsure where to go? Chaos, frustration and so many missed opportunities.
It may seem simple, but signage is often an unsung hero for event attendees. When it works, it’s an afterthought. When it doesn’t—blame and unwanted attention. It anticipates directional needs, guides visitors to key destinations, aligns with your event’s location and strengthens your brand. Strategically placed, your event signage helps remind your attendees (and any accidental passersby) of where they are—and creates an immersive branding opportunity. The success of any event is determined by meticulous planning, targeted messaging and key signage placement.
Directions to Strategic Event Signage
Set a budget. Signage is a bold—and cost-effective—way to deliver your message. Setting a budget will drive what areas can be branded and to what extent. Ask yourself, how immersive should this event be? We can help you define suggested signage spending for your event.
Develop a strategic plan. Know what goes where, when, why and how. Signage is as much functional as it is informative. Include landmarks and aids for direction to make your site more navigable. Define key moments of brand interaction, like the front door, the venue entryway or your registration table; these areas are worth investing in signage because they’re highly visible and high traffic. Wayfinding is important to get people where they need to go, when they need to be there. When planning your event, always put yourself in the attendee’s shoes. Your main focus should be on making your signage as useful as possible for event attendees. With good signage, your attendees will be able to navigate the event better, which in turn means they can spend more time building relationships and learning about your message, products and/or services.
Understand the environment. Part of the strategic plan should take into considerations elements of weather, restrictions, labor use, power needs and a handful of others. How large is the space? Is it more effective to use hanging, freestanding or digital signage—or maybe it’s a combination? How many people are moving from one area to another? A site inspection is key to identify budget and areas for signage and messaging placement.
One size DOES NOT fit all. Different events call for different materials: digital, printed signs, banners, floor graphics, installations, meter boards, human messaging, etc. Explore mediums that best suit the environment, audience size and communicate the overall message. And don’t be afraid to try different mediums.
Tell your story. Use signage to tell your story, inform, entice and attract—as well as get people where they need to be. Incorporate creative concepts and tactics to create unique experiences that deliver on your goals. Create an immersive, shareworthy space—unique to your company and brand—that people want to engage with that reflects your brand messaging. Keep messaging consistent with your brand and event goals.
Be intentional. Strong signage strategy begins at the first place a guest will interact with your brand. Consider extending your reach even beyond the conference center or hotel to that first touch point—the airport. If your budget allows, put your event’s logo everywhere. We mean everywhere. From cling wrap on escalators to the swag you’re giving out, make sure your brand and logo are pervasive throughout the event. Branded signs are much more distinguishable for your participantst—people tend to walk right past house signage. Make sure your brand or logo is prominently displayed to attract attention.
Measure your impact. While anyone can visually measure the success of your signage—access to hard data takes a more creative approach. Combining wayfinding and immersion strategies provides you with a system of user engagement and constant visual feedback that contributes to stronger understanding of the impact your event signage has on attendees. To collect even more data, consider incorporating digital touch-points on your signage. Scannable codes are an excellent tool to help you capture event goers’ attention. Or you can incorporate gamification. What better way to engage attendees and get them excited about exhibitors, speakers and parties than by creating a fun game—with swag—to encourage them to discover?
All Signs Point to Planning
Anything and everything that is planned as part of an event should be done with purpose. Meetings and events are quickly turning into immersive brand experiences that create a sense of place to achieve education or sales objectives. And signage is a way to create that immersion (or experience). Find out what it takes to put on a truly outstanding event with our 7 Ways to Make Your Event More Strategic ebook.
Stacy is passionate about bringing to life innovative event experiences through story, creative thread and stellar branding to engage employees, motivate channel partners and ignite customer devotion. As a Creative Director she brings energy, enthusiasm and over 12 years of experience to the party.