The term “branding” sounds very corporate, but the principles associated with the concept are extremely advantageous when planning a special event. We asked Michelle Shain and Lori Herz of Headlights Creative to explain “branding” and its value to us.
MM: What does “branding” mean when it comes to planning your child’s Mitzvah?
HC: Branding originated as a business term that refers to establishing the genuine and distinct personality of a company or organization and – by extension – its products or services. The concept has evolved and broadened over time and is now used in connection with individuals and events.
There’s a common perception that you brand a Bar/Bat Mitzvah simply by coming up with a cohesive theme for it like “A Night On Broadway” or “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.” Yes, themes are important, but the process of branding this one-time life event starts with the understanding that it’s essentially experiential in nature. At Headlights Creative, we ask clients to think about what kind of experience they want to have as a family and how they want themselves and their guests to feel (yes…feel) during and after the event. While no one has ever said that they want to be sad and somber, there’s still a range of emotions and experiences that can be expressed.
MM: What are ways we can accomplish this?
HC: There are many ways to foster the event-as-experience. Each element – logo design, color scheme, written copy – is a vehicle. From the save-the-date card and invitation to table decor, event signage and giveaways, the event offers ample opportunities to communicate to guests how the Mitzvah child and family feel about this great day and that the attendees are an integral part of the experience.
MM: What are the pitfalls you can help us avoid?
HC: If you come from a community where there are many Mitzvah celebrations each year, there can be a drive to stand out just for the sake of standing out. While being unique is great, we think that the real focus should be on the significance the day holds for the Mitzvah child and family. Every child and every family is wonderully distinct. Don’t be afraid to honor and share those differences as part of the event experience you’re designing through graphics and written content.
On a related note, it’s ok if you don’t have one theme for your event. You can celebrate all the different things that come together to make the Mitzvah child and your family who and what you are. Good design bridges these diverse parts and communicates how and why they constitute a wonderful whole.
MM: Do you have some examples/samples of branding ideas that might inspire our readers?
HC: We have a design portfolio on our Website at Headlights Creative. It presents a sampling of our event branding work and other design projects.