Behind the Scenes of Event Marketing

Highlights from Rev

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It’s no accident when you’re caught up in the spirit of an event. 

Behind the scenes, there are solid event marketing strategies that combine all the pieces — such as the event website, email updates, social media promotions, printed mailers and more — to build up to one cohesive, memorable experience.

To dig in deeper, let’s go behind the scenes of this year’s Rev Indy event (Rev) to see how event marketing strategies lead to consistent design across various channels.

What is the Rev Indy Event?

Rev raises money for trauma patients at Indiana University Health Emergency Medical Center of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and for patients recovering from critical injuries across Indiana. 2017 marks our fourth year spearheading Rev event marketing efforts, along with our amazing partners at Methodist Health Foundation.

Check out some of the behind-the-scenes highlights from this year’s event.

Brand

We view brand as the number one driver of recognition in any event marketing campaign.

Each year of Rev involves more than slapping a logo on every piece of digital and print media. Instead, the year revolves around a theme, which leads to a fresh color palette, focal images (like the Borg-Warner Trophy pictured in the banner), prevailing design elements/textures and key messaging.

This year's theme, "Inspiring Victory," drove how we approached many of the brand elements.

Oswald Regular is a bit bolder while Oswald Light offers a lighter touch.
Oswald Regular is a bit bolder while Oswald Light offers a lighter touch.

This year's color palette came to life with bold gold, red and dark blue. Lori Ludwig, Designer, said, "We came up with a color palette that we hadn't used in the past. It was important to our partners at Methodist Health Foundation to use some kind of red in the palette, since that reflected their brand. Later on, we decided that gold connected to the theme of 'Inspiring Victory,' so we added that to the palette as a primary color."

The color palette, with a faint gray on the far right
The color palette, with a faint gray on the far right

Our design team also tweaked the color palette slightly, deciding that it should play a key role in how we presented imagery. With this idea in mind, we set out to use color as an overlay on top of photography, including the main thematic image of the Borg-Warner Trophy.

A few examples of overlays. The Borg-Warner Trophy is pictured on the left.
A few examples of overlays. The Borg-Warner Trophy is pictured on the left.

These elements made up the brand that would define the months leading up to Rev, including the website.

Web & Email

The hub of any event these days is the event website. Rev is no exception. We created a straight-forward, long-scroll design for the site, keeping all relevant information on one page. The navigation is sticky, so it stays with users as they scroll down the page or decide to jump to any of six different anchored points.

The banner image and first section of body copy from the Rev website.
The banner image and first section of body copy from the Rev website.

We used email mainly as a way to update registered guests about things happening the night of Rev, including special guest arrivals. Keeping guests engaged without bombarding them via email was an important goal of this year's event, especially when paired with video and social media initiatives.

Video

If there’s one thing that pumps people up for an event, it’s video. We opted to have an in-house illustrator take a stab at stop-motion video to kick off the event in a fun, energetic way on Instagram.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s team also shot interviews with numerous IndyCar drivers, and our video crew hit the editing booth to keep the clips consistent. Here's a brief interview with this year's Honorary Chair, Josef Newgarden.

Video was also a big part of our social media push this year to promote Rev while raising money for trauma patients.

Social Media

We planned and posted a number of images on Rev’s social media channels, but we also leveraged social video and other tactics to pull off the #WinnersDrinkMilk campaign.

The American Dairy Association of Indiana offered to donate $100 to Methodist Health Foundation every time someone used #WinnersDrinkMilk on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. With a history of Indy 500 winners pouring milk on themselves, we came up with the idea to influence social media audiences to follow suit and dump some dairy on their domes.

Video was the ideal choice to promote this campaign, especially with Timothy Pohlman, MD (Trauma Surgeon) getting in on the action.

When all was said and done, the #WinnersDrinkMilk campaign raised $25,000 dollars for Methodist Health Foundation from April 1–30.

Print Collateral, Signage & Swag

Rev runs on print collateral, especially at the actual event. Some of the first print pieces to go out the door were the mailed "save the dates" and invitations.

The design above is split to show some of the invitation's component parts, which were folded to create a single invitation.
The design above is split to show some of the invitation's component parts, which were folded to create a single invitation.

After that came a flood of print assets, signage and swag, including bike rack banners, bar decals, column wrap banners, restaurant banners, grandstand banners, mailed invitations, print ads, event programs, event tickets, event maps, t-shirts, credential badges, business cards, brochures, mini restaurant posters and more.

Here’s a deeper look at some of the assets.

Various assets, including the Save the Date and a VIP sign for the event.
Various assets, including the Save the Date and a VIP sign for the event.

Across web, email, social media, print and other channels, event marketing is a huge undertaking. We’ve only scratched the surface on this year’s event, and we hope to continue our work with Methodist Health Foundation for a fifth year in a row.

Rev 2018, here we come.

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