Event Collateral: 6 Essential Collateral Materials for Event Planning 

Trade shows, conferences, galas and other in-person events offer invaluable opportunities to attract clients, network and promote your brand. 

Don’t waste these occasions by arriving empty handed! Creating a suite of branded collateral to market your business is a must. For some attendees, this might be their first time interacting with your brand. Investing the time and energy in high-quality, well designed materials speaks volumes about your commitment and professionalism.

What Is Event Collateral?

Event collateral refers to any type of media—traditional or digital—used to promote a company’s products, services or brand. When designed well, this suite of materials sets your business apart from the competition and communicates key messages to consumers. It also builds energy around your brand, positions your company as a leader in the field, highlights past successes and customer testimonials and helps your sales team connect with prospects. 

When designing your materials, make sure they not only reflect your core identity, but also the event’s theme and purpose. Use consistent logos, fonts, colors and imagery to build awareness and establish a rapport with potential customers.

Event Collateral Ideas: 6 Types for Event Planners to Consider

While the options for event collateral are endless, the following six items provide a solid framework. Keep in mind some of these materials, including post cards and invitations, should be used BEFORE the actual event to build excitement and entice customers to schedule a meeting or visit your booth or display. 

1. Postcards

Inexpensive and easy to produce, postcards help drive customers your way. Mailing postcards ahead of your event with information about how to find your booth or display sets the tone and helps recipients plan their day. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Standard post card sizes range from 3” x 5” to 6” x 11.” While it might be more economical to go with the smallest size, it’s important your mailer stands out. 
  • First-Class Mail postcard rates offer the best value for your postage dollars and can help ensure your mailing list is up-to-date with any return mail.
  • Your postcard should be about as thick as an index card to make sure it doesn’t get caught in mail processing equipment. 
  • Use fonts and colors consistent with your logo and branding. 
  • Include a strong call to action, such as “Bring this card to our booth to receive a free gift!” 

2. Invitations

If you’re the event organizer, an intriguing, eye-catching invitation is essential. You need to convince recipients your event is worth their time and investment. Be sure to highlight specific benefits, such as topics to be covered and relevance, networking opportunities and expert presentations. 

3. Flyers

Keeping a stack of flyers at your booth for easy distribution is a no-brainer. The copy should be brief and easy to scan with compelling imagery and a QR code that links to your website. If space allows, include a coupon or special offer for new customers.  This can help develop new leads and potential new customers.

4. Banners

Stand out from the crowd with a large, attention-grabbing banner made from vinyl, canvas, fabric or other material. Use text and color to ensure your banner is readable from a distance. Add a QR code that links to your website. (Tip: Go green with biodegradable banners printed with carcinogen-free ink.) 

5. Signage

Use event signage to welcome guests, provide directions, increase brand awareness, promote sponsors, highlight exhibit areas and more. Hanging banners, lectern signs, floor graphics, decals and foam core signs will get the job done. For outdoor events, try yard signs, flags and even vehicle wraps. It’s easy to go green here too with eco-friendly materials and ink.  

6. Programs

Communicate the event schedule and thank sponsors and vendors with a comprehensive, well-designed printed program that doubles as a keepsake to take home. Don’t forget to include your logo, social media handles, key contact info and web address. 

The Ultimate Event Collateral Checklist

With so many different event collateral options available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Use the collateral checklist below to ensure you have everything you need:

Pre-Event Planning

Step #1:  Select Theme & Set Parameters

  • Brainstorm theme that reflects mission and/or event
  • Develop key messages 
  • Establish budget
  • Create milestones and timeline

Step #2: Develop Look & Feel

  • Decide color palette, font(s) and imagery
  • Ensure all components have similar look
  • Create graphics that can be adapted to multiple formats (e.g. banners, flyers, programs, etc.)

Step #3: Design Pre-Event Collateral to Include:

  • Invitations (printed and/or evites)
  • Save-the-date 
  • Postcard campaign highlighting topics, benefits, speakers, giveaways, etc.
  • Unique branded promo items mailed to top prospects
  • Social media support (content and graphics)
  • Event pop-up or dedicated website page

Event Materials

  • Event banners and signage for booth or tabletop
  • Programs outlining schedule of events
  • Name tags for team members 
  • Extra business cards (possibly branded for the event)
  • Brochures, data sheets and other print collateral to distribute
  • Table wrap
  • Floor graphics
  • Pre-printed, branded sign-up sheets for attendees, mailing list and giveaways
  • Folders for packaging data sheets and collateral (if needed)
  • Branded food, snacks, candy and beverages
  • Branded napkins, menus and tableware as needed 
  • Table tents for cocktails or meal

Speaker Materials

If someone is presenting:

  • Branded slides
  • Speaker handouts (including slides and other information)
  • Extra business cards 
  • Branded promotional items related to the presentation

 Post Event Follow-up

  • Thanks-for-attending postcard or personalized note cards 
  • Direct mail campaign to follow up with prospects 

Create & Print Custom Event Collateral at United GMG

It’s never too early to contact United GMG for your event collateral needs. Our experienced designers and print professionals are ready to help you create beautiful invitations, eye-catching flyers, high-quality signage and more for your next event.

Contact us for a free quote or call to speak to a United GMG representative today.

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