Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the "Oh No You Didn't"

The dreaded nametag, badge holder and lanyard….. Most of them have one thing in common, as soon as I put them on, they flip over showing…..well, showing nothing. If I am so fortunate to be given a badge holder and lanyard that is constructed so that it doesn’t flip over, then most likely there is a nametag inside the badge holder with my name printed in a font from the times of early Rome. Very pretty, but unreadable. It is quite embarrassing to have someone standing there looking directly at your chest (where the darn badge holder is hanging) trying to read your name. Invariably I look down as well, just to be sure that I don’t have a button popped. Can this be fixed? Of course! If you have badge holders which flip over – utilize that back of the nametag white space real estate by printing the attendee’s name AGAIN. It can then flip flop as much as it wants and the name will still be displayed.

First name first! – Print the attendee’s name as if it is being read (because it is). First name, then last name. Use a larger font for the name than you are using for the rest of the information. Don’t clutter the nametag with useless information. Name and company is adequate. Don’t get fancy with the font and make it large enough to read from a comfortable distance.

My biggest pet peeve is the “us versus them” nametag/badge holder. Perhaps you are attending a luncheon or evening networking event, and those belonging to the hosting association have fancy, schmancy badge holders whereas the invited “guests” receive the standard, “Hello My Name Is” stick on type and are handed a sharpie with which to write their name. This doesn’t work on so many levels. First, no one wants to stick a super-sticky adhesive nametag onto their nice blouse and secondly, by having guests write out their own nametags, you end up with a hodgepodge of handwritten nametags with differing information. Some will default to using only their first name, others will write their first and last name, title, place of business, etc. filling in the white space to the point that it is unreadable. Secondly, what if you didn’t print enough fancy, schmancy badge holders/nametags for the association members and end up having to give a member one of the “Hello My Name Is” nametags? They won’t be very happy because they will spend the time responding to the question, “I thought you were a member? You aren’t a member anymore?”. My feeling is that if you are going to use an “us versus them” nametag strategy, then you must commit to being 100% correct, i.e. no mix ups. Someone told me once that even the nicest, most expensive outfit can be ruined by a crappy, scuffed up pair of shoes. Think of the event as the outfit and nametag/badge holder and/or lanyard as the shoes. If you are concerned about having to provide that many lanyards and holders and the expense, simply ask for them back which really, you should be doing already (see previous blog article).

Lettering on the lanyard – “1 888 We Rent Crappers” along with a picture of a porta-pottie written over and over and over again on the lanyard. A perfectly good sponsor, but not for your lanyard. Think carefully about the logo (if any) imprinted on the lanyard as it also impacts whether or not the lanyard can be recycled to be used at another event. Perhaps better to imprint the sponsor’s name or logo on the paper nametag insert in the corner or along the bottom.

Use badge holder ribbons – I love badge holder ribbons! At the MPI Conference I attached so many ribbons to the bottom of my badge holder that it looked like a flag! Badge holder ribbons are a great way to personalize a nametag. There are stock ribbons that say things like exhibitor, speaker, attendee….but the possibilities are endless if you customize. My badge flew the “First Time Attendee, I Tweet and MPI Member” ribbons. Anyone looking at my badge holder could easily see that I was new, that I used Twitter and I was a member, which breaks the ice for conversation. You could have utilized the ribbons for your “us versus them” badge holder’s and avoided any controversy by giving EVERYONE badge holders including the guests and differentiating the two by attaching ribbons….simple!



Promotional Lanyards said...

I completely understand, I recently went to a networking event on behalf of my company but I was on the guestlist. When I turned up I was handed a sticker and told to write my name on it. I didn't feel too bad until I started walking around and noticed most other people wearing fancy badge holders, which made me feel out of place. It wasn't all bad as I did meet some genuinely nice people there.

The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...

Thanks for the comment...I too know the shame of the handwritten sticker.....

I am glad the event wasn't a total loss and you met some great people!