Saturday, September 30, 2017

How to Name Your Event

My business partner and I are at work on a new name for an event. The conference has outgrown its birth name (as every conference should). It's time for something different.

My standards for a good event name are few:
  • It should be descriptive ("The Builder's Show") or evocative ("Magic"), or both ("Dreamforce")
  • It should be short ("CES")
  • It should be enunciable ("TED")
Event marketer Tony Patete has more complex standards:
  • It should be straightforward ("The Startup Conference")
  • It should be a keyword ("INBOUND")
  • If an acronym, it should not spell anything unseemly ("TURD")
  • It should avoid braggadocio ("The Best Conference Ever")
  • It can be a portmanteau ("ComicCon")
  • It can both evoke and amuse ("Brand Camp")
  • It should not already be in use ("Apple")
Naming or renaming an event need not be hard. I once renamed a puny conference with the laughable name SCUC (Satellite Communications Users Conference) using only my delete key. Today "Satellite" attracts over 13,000 attendees.

When your event's name doesn't cut it, a tagline can help. While no cheerleader for taglines, B2B marketer Gary Slack agrees:
  • A tagline can help explain what is new, unknown, or poorly named
  • A tagline can help communicate purpose, difference and value
  • A tagline can foster esprit de corps
Slack has his own simple set of standards for a tagline:
  • It should be necessary in the first place; otherwise, it's clutter
  • It should clearly communicate a strong promise
  • It should avoid corporate speak and pedestrian "happy words"
One of the better taglines I ever wrote was for CES: "What the World's Coming To."

Although lots of folks liked the slogan, it lasted only a year.

A newly appointed marketing director killed it, telling me, "Taglines are stupid."

He lasted much less than a year. But the tagline never resurfaced.
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