Event Names: Tactics, Tools, and Ideas Worth Stealing
by Maria Walda
Events bring people together to enjoy new experiences. But in order to get attendees through the door, you’ll need to come up with a great name that grabs their attention and piques their interest. The right event name can solidify your event brand, convey your mission, and help fans (new and old) find you.
Do you know how to choose an event name? Here are some highly effective ways to do so, along with some real world examples and ideas.
Why event names are important
Besides the benefits we’ve already mentioned, event names are your event’s first impression. A name can give people the vibe of your whole shindig as well as what they can expect to gain from attending. Plus, with lots of lookalike events happening nearby, it’s good to have a sticky event name that is easier to remember and more appealing than the names of your competitor’s events.
What makes an event name “good”?
There are lots of opinions about this. But when you boil them all down, these are the three main guidelines for any good event name:
It explains what it is. What’s your event all about? A potential attendee should read it and have somewhat of an idea of what will go down. Focus on one key hook to clearly communicate your best selling point.
For example, Lesbians Who Tech is a real event with a name that gives the reader an immediate understanding of who the audience is and kind of what attendees will be doing.
It excites your audience. Simple names are great. But exciting names are better. While completely fictitious (to the best of our knowledge anyway), the event name “1st Annual Uncanny Hootenanny” conveys three intriguing pieces of information.
First, this is the inaugural year, meaning there will be lots more to look forward to and they’ll be sure to really make a splash this first time around. Second, the name rhymes and has a sense of fun to it, so you know it’s going to be a good time. Third, even those born and raised inside city limits can intuit this is a country themed party with a high likelihood of line dances and plenty of cowboy hats.
It’s really memorable. Rhyming, as we learned from the last example, helps event names stick in our brains. Another way to make a name memorable is to use a made up word or phrase like South by SouthWest (aka SXSW or South by) which, unlike its namesake Alfred Hitchcock film, “North by Northwest”, is not actually a real point on a compass.
Now, it’s important to mention that there are plenty of amazing event names that don’t follow all of these rules, like Content Marketing World or The Golden Raspberry Awards. They have their own strengths and weaknesses just like any other name. But over time, these rule breakers have become well known with their audiences enough that they’ve – quite literally – made a name for themselves.
So if your event name doesn’t fit these parameters, don’t stress! You might just be pioneering the world’s next legendary event name.
Still trying to figure out what title your next event deserves? Here are some ways to sort it out.
5 Ways to name your event
When good old fashioned brainstorming isn’t doing it for you, it’s time to kick things up a notch. Try any combination of the following exercises and event name ideas to come up with something both you and your audience will love.
Remember: finding a great name begins by understanding what your event is about, what you’re trying to accomplish with this event, and why your event is superior to others like it. With all that in mind, you’ll be able to use any of these tactics to create something truly unique.
1. Research what’s already out there.
Review what other popular event types on your niche call themselves. For SEO purposes, choose something that still has an available URL. You can check to URL availability for free using Google Domains or on Name.com. If that URL is taken the search engine may even suggest similar names which could give you more ideas.
Also, when you Google your chosen name, are there other names already ranking for the same keywords as this one? Go back to the drawing board. The less SEO competition starting out, the better.
2. Consider using cultural or industry vocab.
If you’re going to walk the walk you first have to talk the talk. If you add language that is unique to your audience in your event title, they’ll see you as someone who knows what they’re talking about, regardless of how much experience you have in this niche.
For example, CXL Live is an event name most people wouldn’t give a second thought to. But entrepreneurs and sales minded folks will immediately know this event is meant for them.
3. Keep it simple and straightforward.
Being on the nose is not such a bad thing when it comes to event names. After all, it’s been working out pretty well for events like Forbes Women’s Summit and Experience Design Week. Both of these examples make their respective audience and mission statements pretty obvious.
4. Spoof pop culture.
This is a great tactic for event name generation when trying to appeal to audiences who have loyalty to certain fandoms or if you’re attempting to cast your net wider than ever before.
Events involving drag queens are all about spoofing pop culture anyways, so names like Death Becomes Her: Drag Ghost Tours are delightfully appropriate for this audience. Or, if you’re throwing a corporate event, you can follow in the footsteps of the live digital presentation titled, “Business Meeting? Beam Me Up”, an event focused on the future of B2B marketing.
Moral of the story: if you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your audience loves something pop culture related, go ahead and think of name related to it.
5. Try free association.
Use what the renowned improv comedy school Upright Citizens Brigade refers to as “A to C”-ing. Simply take the most basic information about your event and brainstorm some things that remind you of it, but a couple steps removed.
For example, if your event is a tech conference for copywriters, you can follow the thought pattern, “copywriters (A) make me think of B. And B makes me think of C.” Hence we’ve taken the initial idea (A), come up with what are ostensibly synonyms (B) and turned them into left of center ideas with a third step towards (C).
Basically, there are many creative ways to name your event, you just have to choose the method that makes the most sense for both you and the people you’re targeting. Some other great naming techniques include:
Using puns to make your event name whimsical and easy to remember.
Taking cues from local history, like the name of the owner’s dog or the main export from your town.
Smashing two or more words together to form a completely new one like VidCon, the video conference.
If the name you want is already taken or needs a little extra kick to it, try rooting around a dictionary or thesaurus for other words with the same meaning that sound better and fit your event theme.
There are also plenty of event name tools you can use to help you find more options after you’ve tried these ideas. Here are a few worth your time.
Event name tools
There are two main types of event name tools you can use to derive inspiration from. Name generators let you plug in key words or basic industry terms to get a computer generated list of possible event titles. Pre-made lists are a collection of event names that are free and totally up for grabs for your next event. Use a combination of these tools if you’re really feeling stuck.
Event name generators
Kopywriting Kourse. Enter the main topic of your event in to this event name generator to get a list of ideas. You can even customize the font of your ideas list which is a fun feature.
Business Name Generator. Although it’s a business name generator, you can easily repurpose it to find a name that fits your event brand. You can also select the option to have the engine check if the URL is available via BlueHost when you click search.
Name Station. More than just an event name generator, Name Station also runs contests, awards points to frequent users, and helps you generate/check the availability of related domain names.
Event name lists
Wordlab’s Event Names List. This plain jane list of name ideas range from wacky to practical with suggestions like Hoodie or Adventure Camping.
Doctor Odd’s Catchy Party Names. If your event has the words fun or silly in it’s branding packet, this list is for you. Don’t be fooled by the term Party – this website also offers names for formal event types like galas and proms.
Bizzabo’s List of Unforgettable Corporate Events. This list of event themes will help spark your imagination and uncover new event names. Each idea is based on a real world example so if you like their idea you can also check out their event details to get even more inspiration.
Still need more ideas? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered with these 10 amazing ideas from industry leaders big and small.
7 Outstanding event name examples
1. Digital Elite Camp 2019
The Digital Elite Camp is a 3 day long get together for professionals on topics related to digital growth, traffic, and conversions.
What we like about it: Naming this event with the word “elite” makes attendees feel, well, special! Plus the word “camp” implies it’s a fun time. Who wouldn’t want to attend an event that invoked a feeling of accomplishment while bringing back some childhood nostalgia all at the same time?
Main takeaway: Compliment your attendees by making your event name include an adjective that implies exclusivity or personal accomplishment. They’ll be proud to share they’re attending on all their social media platforms.
2. Photoville LA
Photoville LA is a photography exhibit and festival (complete with a beer garden, outdoor performances, and a variety of workshops) is housed in a series of traveling storage pods.
What we like about it: When you see the setup of Photoville you immediately understand the name. Dozens of fully decked out art installations nestled inside pods arranged by rows makes it seem as if you’ve stepped into a whole new neighborhood.
Main takeaway: Descriptive event names like this one help connect the image of the event with the name, helping it stand out in the minds of attendees.
3. She Leads
She Leads is a female-driven event that hosts women and leaders in ministry.
What we like about it: By using the word “she”, we already know who the target audience is. We can also infer from the word “leads” that either the participants or the speakers (or both) will be female leaders of some sort.
Main takeaway: She Leads is a spin on the host company’s name, which is She Rises. This leadership luncheon is a great example of repurposing an existing name for an event to help it fit within the larger company brand.
4. Contact High
Documenting the rise and fall of hip hop music and culture in Los Angeles, this visual story details the city’s complex history with this subject.
What we like about it: For a corporate event, this name would be totally inappropriate (for the most part; there are always exceptions). But for a photography event about an industry famously involved with the titular subject matter? It’s a memorable and clever match.
Main takeaway: Sometimes it’s better to use an imaginative name that makes your audience think about what it means and how it relates to the event for a second. They’ll be delighted once they connect the dots. And they are likely to recall the name more easily since they had to fire some synapses to literally make the connection in the first place.
5. SmartSocial Summit
The SmartSocial Summit brings together visionaries in social media and marketing.
What we like about it: First, who doesn’t love a good alliteration? Second, this event name includes a descriptive adjective (smart), the main event subject matter (social media), and the event type (summit) so prospects know exactly what they’ll be getting themselves into.
Main takeaway: Adding a string of adjectives, event subject matters, and event types or descriptors all together is both a practical and creative way to come up with a unique event name.
6. Wigs & Waffles
Wigs & Waffles is a weekend drag brunch complete with – you guessed it – wigs AND waffles.
What we like about it: It’s descriptive but not too on the nose. Since this type of b2c event is all about having fun and enjoying good food, a cute event name like this one is very fitting.
Main takeaway: Consider the purpose of your event. Business events can have silly or interesting names too, just remember that your event name should also be used to convey the tone of your event. That way your audience has a better idea of what to expect when they register.
7. LavaCon 2019
LavaCon is a conference all about content strategy.
What we like about it: Following our advice from earlier, LavaCon includes a piece of its own history in the name. It was originally started in Hawaii, hence the use of the word “lava”. It’s both creative and it stands out while also providing a fun piece of trivia for those in the know.
Main takeaway: Audiences love a good inside reference, one that they’ll clearly understand if they take a few seconds longer to investigate your event info. If you go with a less obvious event name like this one, make sure to follow in LavaCon’s footsteps and include the reason behind your event name right on the homepage.
Now you’re ready to create amazing event name ideas
In the end, choosing an event name all boils down to your answer for these main questions:
What is your event about?
What would it be like to attend your event?
What first impression do you want your event to make on your audience?
With these questions, tips, and sources of inspiration available, you’ll have plenty of tools in your back pocket for creating a really effective event name.
Need help naming your event business? We have you covered for that too. Check out 100+ event planning business name ideas here.
Have more questions about how to name an event?
How do you name a party event?For most parties, you should focus mainly on a name that will resonate with your guests – something relevant to the theme of the party and fun should do the trick. The larger the party, the more unique your event name should be, particularly if you want to sell tickets.
What should I name my event?Large events should have unique names with little SEO competition. For more corporate events, pick a name that is industry-relevant, and for more fun events, pick something related to pop culture or more lighthearted. Simpler is better!