I’m running a series of case studies over the next few weeks to take you inside the world of marketing and give you a backstage pass to the information and strategies we (at Grow Disrupt) use when working with clients or on our own events.
This Week: Creating a Message that Resonates, with the Grow Retreat
I knew I’d landed on something special: this was what I wanted to do with my business. But I quickly discovered how hard it was to communicate the Grow Retreat awesomeness in a way that got my network as excited as me.
I fought and pushed to sell enough tickets to put on our second Grow Retreat in 2018, but I found myself dealing with mounting frustration when trying to spread the magic: some people caught the fire in my voice and eyes, but too many others didn’t. They couldn’t see what I saw in the Grow Retreat, and I was financing the event primarily out of my own pocket. I knew I wanted to create the event for the growing and established business owner that gave them access to content they hadn’t heard before and actual practical application.What I didn’t know was how to communicate my vision in a way that people believed! I spent years feeling unseen, misunderstood, and unbearably frustrated.
So what was holding us back? The lack of cohesive brand messaging and strategy.
Our Challenge: I didn’t choose an easy target market.
For one thing, the elevated and successful small business owner requires a subtly high-end brand that communicates its message throughout the whole brand. And frankly, our communication didn’t match the message I verbalized (“Unlike anything you’ve experienced before”).
For another thing, high-performing business owners are experienced and well-educated. They’ve attended event after event and heard the basics. In addition to that, they are busy running a profitable, high-performing business. Convincing them that they are going to receive information they hadn’t heard before, and to take two days away from their business to experience it proved impossible since our brand didn’t live up to the elevated promise.
A Quick Comparison
The First Brand
Our first set of branding and messaging was overly simplified in some areas, and overly complicated in others.To try and communicate growth, the logo literally grew in size from left to right. I leaned on contrived and overused green, gold and burgundy color schemes. It was corny and pushy. It alienated our ideal attendee. Heck, I wouldn’t have attended an event with that branding.
The Current Brand
Our brand for the Grow Retreat has drastically changed from that first year!
In 2019, I found a graphic design firm that caught the magic and built our first theme-focused brand. For the first time, I felt seen and heard. They took our upcoming theme (Immersion) and created a cohesive experience across the website and marketing assets. By creating a cohesive experience across the website and in the room itself for the event, we truly created immersion for our attendees. Instead of visiting a website where each page was jarringly different, each page was accented with graphics and felt like it belonged.
Why It Worked...
Having a cohesive brand elevates the entire brand experience and subconscious communicates to our attendees that this event will be well-put together, thoughtful and detailed. The branding represents the event, and when we put the same amount of thoughtfulness into the branding, it elevated the marketing to the level of the event.
Every year we build a new brand that fits into the brand umbrella of Grow Disrupt, my company, and that has become a key piece to communicating to our attendees that this truly lives up to our tagline: it’s unlike other events. And incorporating bright, vibrant colors spoke more powerfully of growth than any heavy-handed green and gold ever could. Since then, the Grow Retreat has grown and developed a fiercely loyal following that makes it my favorite room to stand in every year!