Marketing Tactic #68: Branding Your Business Through a Community Event

Hosting a community event is a great way to promote your business, and at Gaslight, it’s our favorite marketing tactic. Not only because we enjoy hosting gatherings, but because it also gives us a unique opportunity to demonstrate our creativity.

How so, you ask? Let’s use our most recent event, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours, as an example. Last Thursday, we hosted more than 200 guests at our office in Downtown St. Cloud for scrumptious hors d’oeuvres and potable potions.

Instead of choosing a typical spring theme like Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day or Spring Fling, we were set on choosing a theme that would promote our business. Because we use the concept “Award-winning, Butt-kicking, All-powerful Marketing Wizards” in our own marketing efforts, we decided that #MarketingWizards would make an excellent theme for the party.

This laid the groundwork for a full-blown Harry Potter Wizard thing. If you attended, you know what I mean. If you weren’t able to make it, I hope my explanation will do it justice.



We set the tone with a 4D lenticular printed postcard invitation (that’s a hologram image to you and me). Our creative team produced custom artwork for this image as well as super cool, wizard-speak copy that we mailed to 2,500 guests.



Next on the list was a memorable giveaway. We were torn between chocolate frogs and wizard trading cards, so of course, we did both. One team member made the frogs, another illustrated the cards, and yet another wrote “wizards bios” for each of our 11 team members. After much melting chocolate, printing and packaging, our giveaways were ready for the taking.



Our second floor loft features four large windows that face West St. Germain, so we just couldn’t resist when a brainstorm suggested covering the windows with our theme image. Giant two-sided posters that need to be designed and printed in two days? No problem! Our creative team worked with the awesome folks at Speedpro Imaging to get this done and it was impactful.

An awesome yet unplanned effect of covering the windows was a darker room. This let the oodles of candlelight that was distributed throughout the office to really standout. The dim lighting, shimmering candles and the brick walls gave our office a castle look that was oh so appropriate.



But what to eat and drink? For this, we called on our friends at Shortstop Catering. Byon, Luke, Rebecca and their team blew us away with their creativity. In addition to a packed-full grazing station, butler-passed hors d’oeuvres and mixology station were also featured. To continue with our theme, we placed menu cards with Wizard translations next to each dish and drink – just for funzies!

All in all, our community event was a success. We received many compliments and achieved our two main objectives: Host a fun party and showcase our creativity. Done and done. We even heard whisperings of best Business After Hours ever. Whether that is true or not, hosting an event while branding your business could be the most fun marketing tactic – ever.