To Standardize or not to Standardize: That is the Question

As companies and non-profit organizations produce more events each year, the question inevitably arises: should we standardize our events? Should we use the same creative, the same format, the same signs, the same invitation process, the same name badges, the same networking events for all them? 

The reasons to do so are several: Money, ease of execution and building the brand.  The argument goes that if everything stays the same from one event to the next, changing only the venue, the dates and the speakers/content, then the events will be easier and cheaper to produce. And if they all look the same, then the brand gets stronger.

It’s a compelling concept, because I believe that all of those arguments are true.

On the other hand, the goals and the audiences for events differ. And a format that achieves the goals for one may not work so well for another. For example, an event that targets a company’s enterprise customers would be very different from an event targeting a company’s consumer base.  The goals are different, the messaging is different, the audience is different – it makes sense that the events would be different.

The argument is very similar to the discussion around marketing and advertising campaigns. One campaign typically does not meet the needs of all audiences. The same is true with events.

The short answer to this question: It depends.

When it makes sense to standardize, then an emphatic YES is the answer, because money and time will be saved, the brand will get stronger and event goals will still be met.

When an organization’s strategic goals are better served by some individuation, the smart event marketers will flex and innovate in order to produce a thoughtful, cost-effective event that achieves those goals.