WHAT'S IN A NAME? DO'S AND DON'TS FOR YOUR EVENT
SO, YOU'RE HAVING AN EVENT. IF IT'S NEW (OR YOU'RE REBRANDING) YOU'LL NEED IT TO HAVE A NAME. A GOOD NAME. WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE A BAD OR INEXPLICABLE NAME (WE'RE LOOKING AT YOU JERMAJESTY JACKSON AND DIVA THIN MUFFIN ZAPPA). SURE, THOSE ARE PEOPLE, BUT EVENTS, ESPECIALLY ANNUAL ONES, CAN TAKE ON A LIFE OF THEIR OWN. WHEN PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT "IS THIS EVENT FOR ME?" SOMEHOW THE NAME NEEDS TO GIVE THEM, OR AT LEAST HINT AT, THE ANSWER. NAMING ANYTHING BADLY--IT'S JUST WRONG. SO HOW DO YOU GET IT RIGHT? WE'RE HERE WITH YOUR COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE.
DO: CALL IT WHAT IT IS
Maybe it's too obvious but sometimes it's just easiest to be straightforward. "The Startup Conference" or "MIT Sustainability Conference." They just went ahead and put out there exactly who they are. It's clear and it's easy. Is it incredibly creative? No. Is it innovative? No. But sometimes simple is best.
DON'T: GET TOO LONG / COMPLICATED / FANCY
In our research we found a conference with the following title: Science Conference SPAM: ICEME2011 on all of engineering & metaengineering. Crikey. and also WTH? Perhaps this is legible English to a small subset of very smart people who understand what metaengineering actually is, but I'm guessing someone could have found a way (ANY WAY) to make this a little more concise.
DO: USE A KEYWORD
The easiest way to get a great event name is to find a keyword for your event that's related to your event content. Hubspot made an excellent choice naming their very successful conference INBOUND. It's a conference that focuses entirely on Inbound Marketing Strategy. Anyone who would be interested in attending this conference knows what "inbound" means and why it's important--they're wisely appealing directly and clearly to their niche and it's short and clear. We like!
DO: USE INITIALS
Two of our favorite examples of this type of naming are C.E.S and TED. CES is the Consumer Electronics Show and TED stands for Technology Education and Design. Both make for easy creation of logos and powerful branding, too. If you have something that's a big mouthful or a long name, sometimes it works to use an acronym. Please, we beg of you (this goes for naming children, as well, should you ever have to) make sure the initials don't spell something unseemly--no one wants to attend the T.U.R.D. conference. No one.
DON'T: OVERHYPE IT
You know that movie trailer you keep seeing that claims "this is the BEST movie of the year" "A sure winner" or "No performance has ever been this good." Somehow, the human psychological response is to reject that level of amped-up overconfidence. Using a braggadocious adjective in your event name somehow reads the same way. BEST CONFERENCE EVER? You're setting yourself, or rather your guests, up for disappointment. If you don't deliver, people may feel they haven't gotten their money's worth. Even if it is, let your attendees decide for themselves whether it's the best or not.
DO: MAKE A PORTMANTEAU
We may have grown weary of seeing this language in the celebrity gossip world--first there was Bennifer, then Brangelina, now it seems every celebrity couple has their own mixed moniker. However, creating a new word from two keywords can actually still be effective in naming an event. Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll coined this term "portmanteau" because combined words reminded him of items crammed in a suitcase (also called a portmanteau). We have so many that are so much a part of our vocabulary we might no longer even recognize them as such: smog, motel, brunch, blog. Conferences such as BlogHer (bonus points for 2x the word combining!) and ComicCon are successfully using portmanteaux. Whether you're holding a conference on glamping, or manscaping, or frankenfoods, don't be afraid to blend! *For a really long, funny list of contemporary portmanteaux, click HERE.
DO: USE WORDS THAT SYMBOLIZE OR AMUSE
Sometimes it's a meaningful word (Bonnaroo) a place name (Woodstock, Coachella) or interpretive name (SXSW). Our favorite one of these is a cheeky conference name: Brand Camp. It infers the nerdy Band Camp reference of summers past and it's fun to know that organizers aren't taking themselves too seriously. Don't be afraid to play a bit with the name for your event--digging in to what you are offering and coming up with a name that's inventive or just silly.
DON'T: FORGET TO CHECK INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
After hours of deciding on the best possible name for your event, the last thing you want to do is get slapped with a cease and desist letter. Do your homework. Be sure that no one is using this name or a derivative of it. A hearty URL search is in order first (and necessary if you want to build a microsite for your event, or link it to your own website). You might also want to check business registries, the trademark directory or other services online that list business names. If someone had your great idea before you, feel flattered that you are such a genius and then move on to a new idea.
WHATEVER YOU DECIDE FOR YOUR EVENT NAME, MAKE SURE IT IS ONE YOU LOVE AND ONE THAT WILL STICK. AND WHETHER YOU KNOW THE NAME OF YOUR EVENT OR NOT, WE ARE HERE TO HELP, GUIDE, SUPPORT, AND FULFILL ALL OF YOUR WILDEST EVENT DREAMS.