The Real Estate of the Conference Namebadge (Part II: The Extras)
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We've got the basics covered for the front of your name badge, now it's time to decide on the extras you may want to consider.
REGISTRATION DETAIL (type, day, event): If you have a multi-day event, you may need to have some sort of identifier for people that are only attending a limited number of days or functions. Colored bars, color-coded icons/symbols, color borders - all of those are ways you can print right onto the badge. Of course, there’s also tinted holders, different color lanyards, and ribbons. If you’re concerned about sneaky peeps though, something printed on the badge will be harder to swap or substitute. If someone is registering just for pre or post conference events, or a special reception or dinner, it can be helpful to put an abbreviated name of that session/event on the namebadge, in black or white against a color block background. All of those things will help door monitors and volunteers identify quickly if someone should or should not be in a session.
PRONOUNS: While printing these on name badges can certainly be accomplished if you ask for them upfront, you definitely don’t want to reprint badges for missing pronouns. Often, this add-on is easiest to do with pins, stickers, ribbons, or even a little attendee creativity. For one client, we did a very faded icon in light gray in some white space of the badge, then put out markers and instructions for people to add something there if they wanted - pronouns, a symbol, whatever made sense for them. And if they wanted nothing, there’s simply a shadow of an icon there. And if you’re not sure why we encourage use of pronouns, I invite you to read more about it here.
CERTIFICATION: If you are particular about consistency, or if you enjoy data cleanup, or you want to reprint a lot of badges, please, by all means, add certifications to them. If you leave this field open-ended in registration, you’ll have to go back and edit for consistency and do quite a bit of clean-up. If it’s a select-option, you better make sure you have every single possible option. Or just don’t print them. If it’s super important and critical to have that information displayed given the nature of your event or for networking purposes, then do it right and keep it tight. Have a finite list, they appear in a certain order, are capitalized or not in certain ways throughout, etc. Data clean-up is very important here so if you do this, I hope your software makes it easy to edit records! Some companies choose only to highlight the credentials THEY offer, thus reducing the endless stream of acronyms and (if they’re fact-checking) ensuring honesty and accuracy.
TALKING POINT: I would only recommend this if you are using at least a 4x6 badge, otherwise, the real estate on the badge is too precious. If you don’t have much else that needs to go on a badge, this option can be done in multiple ways. Single words or short phrases work best here. You can pre-load a list randomly into the namebadge data and drop something on everyone’s name tag (Ask me about SOMETHING - where something might be one of 20+ industry/association buzz words or concepts). You could also follow the pattern recommended in the pronoun section - in an area of white space, put a faded icon, or even faded text “ASK ME ABOUT”, and provide instructions, markers and some prompts for people. Those that WANT to partake in this can add a word/phrase to their own badge; those that don’t want to participate can skip out. This can be a good thing or not! We’ve also taken this off badges completely and used stickers with a fun border and invited attendees to write in their topic of conversation, expertise, or fun fact onto the sticker and wear that around.
QR CODE / BARCODE: Depending on the technology being used at your event by session monitors, attendee networking events and your exhibitors/vendors, a QR code can be quite the asset to your badge. Some registration systems with session room scanning offer a quick “go/stop” feature when a badge is scanned, alerting a session monitor if someone has registered for a particular session. Some education certification scanning software can use a QR code or barcode font conversion to connect to attendance check-in/check-out features for continuing education tracking. QR codes are incredibly helpful for exhibitors when they’re using lead retrieval software - a quick scan can capture attendee data, far easier than business card exchanges. For the attendee side - same thing! If your event mobile app allows attendees to scan each other’s codes, this is an easy way to store contact information from networking sessions and all of those random conversations in passing.
Have you found anything else new or creative that’s been particularly valuable to the front side of your badges?
Or, on the flip side, have you done away with something from your badges that you thought might upend your conference - and no one even missed it?!
Check back in a while for our third installment of The Real Estate of the Conference Namebadge. We’ll talk about the BACKSIDE of those name badges next time...And if you missed our FIRST article, you can find that right here.