GUEST POST: 12 BEST PRACTICES TO NAME YOUR EVENT
Picking a name to encompass your whole event can be high pressure, but choosing an epic event name could have attendees talking (and tweeting) about it for years to come.
What’s in a name? Branding is an important step during the planning phases and many make the mistake of choosing a name and working their way outwards. What you should do is pick the name, part way through the process after you have thoroughly thought about what your event will include and what you want to get across so that you don’t trap yourself with a name that no longer fits with your vision. Effective branding and the right name can create customer recognition, loyalty and makes marketing much easier, especially on social media.
1. Stand Out
It’s ok to be different, look at what your competitors are doing and make sure that you don’t come up with a variation. You don’t want to be seen as a cheap knock off event and that means coming up with different ideas, being outlandish or weird can actually benefit you when choosing names because they are more memorable, attendees will start talking about it and they will want to know the story behind it!
2. Check Initials/Abbreviations
In all of the checks that eventprofs do, the one that is commonly forgotten is the initials, abbreviations and potential nicknames. Do a quick google search and make sure that any long names don’t have rude or inappropriate shorthand because it will get picked up on (especially on the internet) and that leads to embarrassment and can impact the event attendance. After all, guests don’t want to go to an event with the same initials as some disease, disreputable company or person or even something with a sexual or rude connotation (unless that’s what you are going for). Just remember to look at it completely because the people of the internet can be very childish and you don’t want to become the butt of the joke.
3. Short and Snappy
Not only is a short and snappy name easier to remember and recall but it can make branding, marketing and signage a lot easier to accommodate as well. Shorter names that stick in people’s head are some of the best options that you can choose. Shorter names pack more of a punch and the more you add the more filtered your message becomes so if you are looking to incorporate something longer then try abbreviating like the EDC series which stands for the Electric Daisy Carnival.
4. Be Clever
If you can get a double meaning or pun in there it usually goes down a hit and can also appeal more to attendees as they see your brand as clever and innovative. A good example of this is the use of “X” as a “times by” symbol for SXSW events which stands for South by Southwest. Another option is changing the spelling to be unique but convey some of the same meaning, for example Oktoberfest.
5. Look For Market Opportunities
Are there gaps in your current event niche that aren’t being catered for that you can get across with your name? It may seem very “business-y” to do some market research just for naming, but doing it prior to picking the name can help you with marketing and focusing your demographic further down the line. Also you may find that there are a lot of similar events and it can help you to adapt to become unique and reflect this through your name. Looking and jumping on market opportunities can help influence your name choice but it will provide a variety of benefits as well.
6. Be Clear About Your Message
Know and understand what you want to get across to potential attendees before you start and try to embody that in the name. While you might be able to think of funny or clever names for the event but if it isn’t relevant or makes no sense then all it will do is confuse (and potentially disappoint) your attendees. Also remember that it is your message and style that makes the event unique and that will help to put a creative spin on your event name to get original so make sure you stay true to the actual event and keep it relevant!
It can be very easy to be blinkered when you are event planning and so passionate and close to a subject so asking for other’s opinions can be an asset, especially if you can’t narrow down your options and decide on a definite name. Crowdsourcing allows you to get a view from real people; whether it is your family and friends or a focus group you can pick up on things you wouldn’t have even thought of and get a different viewpoint. Gathering impartial data and suggestions can also give you inspiration to evolve your ideas and influence the event itself. It is also another way to check for abbreviations or potential initial errors in the name that you can fix now rather than not noticing until further down the line.
The name is important, but telling yourself that over and over again will usually only lead to one thing, writer’s block and then you aren’t getting anywhere. For many people it is not easy to come up with something creative and original within 5 minutes so these things take time, and most often you will have an “ah ha” moment when you least expect it. If you are struggling to get any ideas out, get a piece of paper and a pen (old school style) and free write for 5 minutes, write whatever comes into your head, literally everything; chicken, ghost, house, rain, whatever pops into your head and it can help to free up your creativity to get through writer’s block.
9. Use a Dictionary
Creating a play on words is an effective naming tool but you need the knowledge to do this, so pick up a dictionary and help to expand your vocabulary. You can use it to find synonyms of other words or expand your adjectives because words like “great” are …great, but using something like fantastic, abundant, wonderful or amazing is far more positive and emotive.
Also, did you know lollapalooza is a word in its own right? It means something that is particularly attractive or impressive but I bet you immediately thought of the annual music festival didn’t you? There are plenty of intriguing words that you have yet to discover and I bet you have a dictionary lying around the house (or you have your phone handy!)
10. Check Availability
This is the techy bit, check that the URLs and legal rights are available, nothing worse than coming up with the best name ever to find it is actually an obscure blog that you can’t use the domain name for. In some countries there will also be restrictions on using certain names together which could lead to infringing copyright or naming patents. If you are dead set on a name but have found someone else has the domain that you want, you can always contact them and ask them to sell it to you because while big brands and names won’t, there could be older websites or retired bloggers that would be happy to sell up and make a little money on the website they had 10 years ago, plus it can’t hurt to ask.
When you are set on a name also check the social media platforms to aim for consistency across the board.
11. Check Your Venue
Some venues (or sponsoring companies) may require you to incorporate specific requirements into your event name that may hinder what you originally had in mind. A prime example of this is TEDx events restrictions that must contain “TEDx” and then locations in the name as well as having some other requirements. Also, other venues may have a limit on characters or length of names based purely on the signage space or capabilities so bear in mind the logistics as well before you choose one.
12. Pay Attention to SEO
Google can be a useful marketing tool to spread the word about events but it is much harder to use if you have a lot of competition. Choose names that aren’t as popular, that don’t have common words in them or that make them specific to certain locations such as; Bonnaroo or The Kentucky Derby as these are more unique and you’ll find yourself higher on the search engine pages from the get go.
The name is one of the most important aspects of your event and can sway a decision to attend or not, so put some thought and effort in! Lastly, once you have chosen a name, get a designer in to help with the font creativity and the design because that can have as much impact as the name itself.
Hopefully now you have some expert tips and advice to help you choose the right name and ensure that your message and event are successfully catchy and well marketed and memorable for the right reasons.