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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.

How Dunkin Does Social … mmm donuts at OMMA Global

How Dunkin Does Social at OMMA Global

Frances Allen, Brand Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.

  • Brand values don’t belong to us
  • Any social event need to continue to support passion
  • Great relationships happen when trust and equity are built everyday and over the long-term

Pillars of social strategy

  • Hearts & minds
  • Motivations and behaviors
  • Place and context
  • Rate of communication

Win hearts & minds

FB each week recognize a fan of the week

2009 1 million Facebook fans, up from 160,000 in late 2008

Keep It Coolatta

Encourage fans to find new and diff ways to show how they keep it Coolatta, for great prizes
Very credible and organic

Prompt motivations and behaviors

How use SM to influence and motivate others?  “The Dunkin Run”

  • Going to DD, want anything? Enable and encourage that behavior
  • Invite your coworkers to fill out the form -> place the order -> take the run
  • Provide the runner with complete and easy ordering mechanism
  • Simple app to standardize behavior that’s already happening
  • Improves order accuracy, speed of service, creates wider net

Consider place and context

  • Cross-media campaign
  • What channels, when, and what is the context
  • What’s the best media

“Create Dunkin’ Next Donut” contest

  • Boosts variety: delicious shapes, “just have to have one” response, like eye-candy in the store
  • Triggers nostalgia: powerful donut memory
  • Name your donut: explain the story behind it, stories about donuts growing up, funny stories
  • What specific ingredient are you dying to have in a donut
  • Celebrates love of people: Elvis donuts
  • Emotion coming through was amazing

Send a virtual donut on Facebook

  • Engage and share: design donut and send to all your friends
  • It’s the thought that counts, even though you can’t eat it
  • Post on Facebook b/c you’re proud
  • Cross-channel campaign. Lasted 3 days, had more entries so had to cut it short
  • Combined with multi mesaging on FB, Dunkin Dave on Twitter
  • Great presence in traditional media and blogs, both during launch and throughout

Designer donut results

  • Nearly 130,000 entries
  • 333,000 donuts created during a 3-week period
  • 3 Million Facebook  impressions via sharing
  • 174,000 votes cast
  • Ave time on site 9+ minutes
  • Winning donut Toffee for Your Coffee
    • In-stores at time of this post
    • So successful has become an annual event

Lessons learned

  • Didn’t start with a nice neat strategy, have had growing pains, stops and starts
  • Come to understand the power of the media and how to engage with it
  • Set realistic expectations
  • Can’t respond to every tweet, post etc
  • Set clear expectations about how can engage in what manner and what frequency
  • Use judgment to ID & understand comments that are gaining momentum and deserve a reply
  • Can turn an issue into an advocacy situation, create opportunities for sharing and collaborating
  • Don’t be a complainer, be an brand advocate
  • Have fun, understand audience, provide apps and audiences that mean a lot to them not just us
  • Dunkin Dave embodies core brand values, keep with who we are and why customers love us
  • 1,700 franchisees, 600 in US
  • entrepreneurs want to do their own thing, have to encourage and control it simultaneously
  • Maintain constant brand image and brand values

Other OMMA Global posts

How the New Socialism Is Destroying the Old Capitalism with Terence Kawaja, GCA Savvian Advisors at OMMA Global

Editor’s note: Hungry for something sweet!