Often when selecting a venue we think in terms of space and location. And while those things are important, I’d argue that your venue should align with your brand as well. After all, attending your event is an excellent way for attendees to get a feel for what it would be like to work with you or purchase your products.
Even though you likely won’t own your event venue, your delegates will use the location you choose to understand more about who you are.
That’s why choosing a venue that aligns with your brand is a key element in making your conference the absolute best it can be. When attendees recall their time spent with you, they’ll naturally call the venue itself to mind as well. This is no problem if the venue was aligned with who you are and what you value. It becomes problematic, however, if the event space isn’t how you would want to be thought of by your delegates.
In order to prevent negative associations, your venue should align with your brand!
For example, have you taken the time and effort to position your business or brand as a market leader? If so, you likely strive to provide quality products and services. In addition, your brand has some sort of personality or voice. Maybe it’s austere and professional, or bright and playful. Perhaps you’ve capitalised on presenting straight forward narratives, or you’ve embraced mystique and intrigue.
However you’ve set yourself apart, you should do your best to find a venue that compliments who you are as a business!
There are plenty of venues that have a look and feel that would pair well with your brand. Of course you’ll still have practical concerns: cost, location, and occupancy are all important. But ideally, you’ll look beyond “just” practicality and find a venue that fits your brand as well.
Speaking of practical…
Many event organisers tend to immediately gravitate towards hotels or convention centres. On one hand, this makes sense! Lots of events are held at these sorts of venues, and they certainly make accommodations and setup a breeze.
Hotels frequently provide discounted rooms for out of town guests. In addition, they offer easy access to a variety of both large and small conference rooms. Most even have in-house catering.
Convention centres are obviously designed for conventions. They have all the amenities one could hope for. They also have clearly priced packages and helpful staff who have “seen it all” when it comes to hosting events.
(And maybe your brand will align perfectly with one of these venues. If so, hooray!)
I’d like to suggest that by digging just a bit deeper, however, you could find a wealth of venues that may be perfect for your brand.
For instance, many museums have large meeting rooms that offer a distinctive atmosphere. Well heeled guests may enjoy the opportunity to experience a bit of history and culture, and your event will be set apart from anything they’ve attended at a more typical venue.
If you can’t host your entire conference at a museum, you may be able to still utilise one for an off site dinner or smaller group excursion.
For a smaller one day seminar or product launch, you might check out the zoos in Auckland or Wellington, which have meeting rooms available. Again, you’ll be setting yourself and your business apart by adding in a flair for something unique.
Depending on your location and brand, you might consider a yacht club, a performing arts theatre, or a nature centre. Consider the local community that surrounds the area your event is going to be held. Be willing to push beyond the “obvious” choices. Keep in mind that you aren’t just trying to find something novel, either.
The big idea is that your venue should align with your brand.
Thanks to this modern age we live in, you don’t have to go nosing around on foot, either. (Unless you’d really like to!) The power of the interwebs puts an enormous amount of information in the palm of your hands. Get to it and do some online research.
Although I always encourage healthy relationships with your local Convention Bureau, this can be one area they aren’t quite as helpful with. Remember that their recommendations and promotions are based on organisations that are members of the bureau. Unique locations that aren’t used as often for events may not be on their radar.
In order to help you narrow your search, I recommend you determine five “brand aligned” qualities you’re searching for in a venue.
If you can find a property that meets three of the five, I think it would be safe to say your venue should be aligned with your brand. (Your pre-planning strategy session would be a great time for this!)
When your venue truly aligns with your brand, your delegates’ experience will be a more accurate reflection of your organisation. Live events are huge opportunities to build know, like, and trust. As such, it makes sense to do everything in your power to create an experience fully aligned with your brand and values.
A wisely chosen venue can do just that.