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Grow your brand: From Boston to Clinton, Presidential event planner Rafanelli’s tips and insights

Rhode Island native Bryan Rafanelli’s firm last year planned 5 of 2010’s most prestigious weddings, most notably Chelsea Clinton’s. The firm also produced a series of official inauguration events in Washington D.C. for President-elect Barack Obama’s donors.

The seemingly unflappable Rafanelli spoke to a packed room in Boston, sponsored by Millennial Branding, headed by personal branding expert and bestselling author of Me 2.0, Dan Schawbel.

Adopt Bryan Rafanelli’s tactics to grow your brand

  • Rafanelli’s best customer is sitting in the room, but isn’t just the current client or his/her relatives
  • Rafanelli carries a laminated card with names of event guests who he’s researched and wants to meet
  • To connect to high-value individuals, find the people who will intro you to the people and sell the story
  • It’s not just a matter of right time right place but your business model needs to put you in the right place

What you may not know about Rafanelli Events

  • Paid events like Chelsea Clinton’s wedding enable the company to do more nonprofit work
  • Rafanelli Events works with perfect people (read high-performing and highly effective) & needs to deliver perfection
  • Rafanelli Events seek to reflect you, your brand: “How do we represent who you are?”
  • Rafanelli Events goes from design to execution: “How can we correct the snags that crop up?”

Bryan Rafanelli believes

  • Basic common sense is a guiding force within the company and how it interacts
  • The whole business is based on great people and great relationships
  • How you handle imperfection can lead to perfection
  • In addition to perfection, clients want the next best thing
  • Is a “big believer” in content and making connections

Nonprofit events aren’t just for the sake of throwing a party: Apply a business plan

  • Rafanelli neatly ties the stories behind his nonprofits to donor-clients with meaning
  • Auctions need to comprise great packages that speak to them: Need to know what will get them excited
  • Auction recipe = at least 2 couples to bid and those couples to be well-respected

A bit about Chelsea Clinton’s wedding

  • The venue for Chelsea’s wedding was announced only days before the event
  • In Rhinebeck he interacted with neighbors using basic common sense, sending bottles of wine
  • The village of Rhinebeck “let me be” until after the wedding, although he had spent a lot of time there
  • Rafanelli tried to source locally,* including special mints Chelsea really wanted

*Disclaimer having been to Rhinebeck dozens of times, this couldn’t have been easy

Rafanelli values “common sense, consensus-building, really smart people, events degree is not required.”

Watch the video of Rafanelli’s talk, truly engaging.

Brand identity: Piece together your mosiac

Brand identity isn’t simply a logo and slogan: Factors and tips for building your brand

By Alexandra Smith

Put away your iron and get out your creativity.  Branding is no longer a single searing process of creating an identity, but an arrangement of many factors, a mosaic.

At Podcamp 5 Boston, Tamsen McMahon, of Sametz Associates and Brass Tack Thinking, makes branding clear, similar to a mosaic piece of art. McMahon dubs it “Mosaic Branding”

Brands are

  • A Vision
  • A Subject
  • An Audience
  • Material
  • Style
  • Resolution
    • A Mosaic: Many factors carefully positioned to best represent the image you want to portray.

Brands are not

  • Logos
  • Messages
  • Public relations

A brand exists in consumers’ minds.

Brands answer the question: What are we about?

The answer must be abundantly clear: It’s what you represent.

Brand creation tips

  • Location: Where you are located has a lot to do with how you present yourself.
  • Audience: If you don’t know who your audience is, you know nothing about your brand. Understand all reasons why people find value in you.
  • Material: Own your logo, tagline, and type.
  • Resolution: You must create clarity with your audience. The more pieces you put into your picture, the clearer it will be.
  • Consultation: You can get more information by talking to less people than more, as long as each of those people represents different stakeholder groups.
  • Be prepared: Be ready for something to go wrong. Own negative press. Consistently deliver pieces to your audience, so that when something goes wrong, you still have what you worked to put together.
  • It’s about context: Move your brand to a culture of creation. Instead of focusing on controlling individual content, focus on the context in which it is understood — the mosaic.

Start sharpening your tools and use all of the above supplies to create a brand that people will care about.