A Catchy Event Name Can Help Build a Bigger Audience

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In The Washington Post magazine Sunday, they asked John Rice, founder of Management Leadership for Tomorrow, if he could have come up with a catchier name. "We talk about our name and how it's descriptive but dull! For a nonprofit organization, we should have a pithy one-word description. We haven't come up with one."

Coming up with catchy names can be tough but also rewarding. Speaking about events, Dorothy Jones, CEO of J Star Marketing and former CMO of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, said one of the biggest challenges that meeting designers face is that there are currently four different generations in the workforce. "This will require you talk to these four groups of guests in four very different ways based on their preferences," she said.

The same can be said for names. What's clever and engaging for one audience group might be less so for another. But when a catchy name works, as the following clearly do, it can add a lot of value:

Esca Bona... is a conference created by Informa's New Hope Network to fill a void in the natural foods conference segment. It means good food in Latin. It's now even an adjective—"Esca Bonacentric education (i.e. food accessibility, urban farming, and food tech) was integrated into other New Hope conferences throughout the year." (A SIPA webinar on the conference's success—which included a 1st place 2017 SIPAward in Conference Marketing—took place last year. Click here to watch.)

The second Learnapalooza takes place Oct. 16-18 here in Washington, D.C. Staged by SIPA member Columbia Books & Information Services through their Association TRENDS label, this successful event focuses on training and education for association employees. When I complimented CBIS's president, Brittany Carter, on the name, she laughed and humbly said, "[That] was my only contribution. I love names—you'll never get the marketer out of me."

I've seen the name Collide-O-Scope used for arts and social events lately. (One is a "beloved night of oddball video featuring nimbly edited montages" in Seattle. Another is an artist's series of collages.) But in our industry's age of disruption, I think it can work for a B2B publishing event as well.

Museum Hacka company I've written about before, chose a name that signifies the direction they're taking, similar to Management Leadership for Tomorrow but in a more fun way. They also overcome the problem of different audiences, by customizing each tour based on the group they get.  

"Know more. Do more. Be more." That's the tagline for Informa's Knect365.  

Podcasts are a good place to have fun with names. BizBash does GatherGeeks, "a place where people passionate about the power of live experiences come together." SIPA member EB Medicine does EMplify, an emergency medicine podcast. SIPA member author and speaker Matt Bailey has Endless Coffee Cup.

And here are 4 rules from a site called socialtables to help come up with an inventive name:

  1. Identify your target audience.
  2. Brainstorm words that describe the type of event that would appeal to that audience.
  3. Use an online thesaurus to increase your pool of choices.
  4. Check for domain name availability and make sure that your name isn't already taken by another company.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…