Festivals are back. Festivals are on the rise again after lifting of restrictions and are in just as much demand as ever. The lure of an immersive and unique experience full of fields and music is unbroken. Each festival therefore is having to compete more to sell tickets. But festivals are more than just their line up, organisers need to consider aspects like price point, food, art, tent space and stages as a way to build their overall experience – which is where branding is important. Festival branding is a more holistic package where specific assets like logos, posters or signage is just as important as the overall brand. Branding is particularly useful for festivals as it reflects the brand persona and experience that you want your audience to feel. It’s a promise to deliver the same great experience to your audiences, that is unique and connects authentically to your audience.
What is unique about festival Branding?
The purpose of branding is to build your brand image, personality and develop brand loyalty. At the end of the day, you want your festival to have a unique essence and people that attend to have a unique experience, therefore you want to stand out from other festivals. Let’s be honest, people are only choosing one to two festivals to go to per year, so you want to play to people’s emotions to guarantee that they are going to have the best experience at your festival. A good and consistent brand also makes your festival more reputable and trustworthy. It means that customers are going to feel excited to invest in your event. At the festival itself, consistent branding helps add value to your audiences’ overall experience too, making them more likely to return over and over again and attract friends. .
Branding uses visuals to reflect your brand voice and persona. Therefore festival branding is really useful at reflecting the atmosphere and experience of the festival – when audiences see your brand colours, graphics or logo they immediately associate it with a positive feeling that you want to portray. In that respect, your branding must reflect the shared values of your festival and it’s community.
The key is consistency. Each year festivals hold the advantage of having a whole year to perfect their event and mould it to their brand personality. This also means they have all that time to adapt their brand and event to new trends or themes that’s going to give their attendees the best experience.
Tips for Festival Branding
Small tweaks will keep your festival looking fresh and exciting. Logos are going to be used across all your collateral – think signs, posters, merchandise, backgrounds; so it’s important to consider how it’s going to look blown up or shrunk down.
Consistency is key. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again. Consistency is key for branding, you want to create a cohesive message that matches your brand personality, and what you want your attendees to feel when they go to your festival. When customers are constantly experiencing the same visuals, they are associating that with your brand or festival persona, and in turn with their positive experience. So from the first social post of your line up to your festival signage or wristbands, their needs to be visual consistency.
Start Early. Give yourself a good amount of time to build the hype up for your festival. Not only will your audience get excited quickly, but it will help them get familiar with your brand.
What forms can your branding take?
- Social Posts
- Festival Flags
- Stage Branding
- Posters and Print
Steps for Branding your Festival
Identify your core values
When it comes to branding, festival branding takes a similar approach to any branding journey. But what is more important with festivals is creating a unique and strong concept – this is what is going to attract audiences the most. To do that, as a brand you need to identify what your core values are, and use this to make a brand personality. For example the Burning Man festival started out as a niche event with the vision to “bring experiences to people in grand, awe-inspiring and joyful ways that lift the human spirit, address social problems, and inspire a sense of culture, community, and civic engagement.” The philosophy and promise of self-improvement is what originally attracted people to the festival. It is a promise of a spiritual and cultural experience and a unique concept to other festivals.
Understand your audience
Think about your audience. As with any branding journey, you need to identify your audience – what does your ideal customer look like? Are they into rock music, aged between 18-25 and live locally? This allows you to directly cater your branding and your event around the customers’ wants and needs and attract your ideal festival-goer.
Create a Brand Booklet
A brand booklet helps set clear guidelines for your brand colours, visuals and feel across communications. It will in turn clearly portray your core beliefs. The brand colours, font, logo, keywords and assets should be applied consistently from the ticketing page to your giveaway bags.
Consistency … again.
Although it can be tempting to change your festival every year, and add new concepts, music, sponsors etc. don’t be afraid to say no to new opportunities that don’t fit your brand. After developing a festival and community that shares the same beliefs, changing too much can be confusing to your audience and deter from what experience you are originally promising them.
Although festival branding may be easy to overlook when it comes to planning your event, the purpose of branding and festivals are inherently linked. Both want to create a unique experience and identity that has intills loyalty in customers. Festivals are an immersive cultural experience that is highly valued by individuals over products. So creating a unique brand concept that has strong core values is one of the most important aspects when promoting your festival.