What is a step and repeat banner and why does my event need one?
It's the backdrop thing with logos on it that you see behind celebrities in pictures at red carpet events – or at least, that's its technical definition.
We prefer the marketing-specific explanation: step and repeats are an inexpensive way to increase brand awareness by getting your logo and company name featured in the backgrounds of images that'll be used everywhere, from newspapers to Facebook profile pics.
A step and repeat backdrop also adds a distinctly hip factor to any event, and gives off the impression that you represent a legit company. If you’ve got a step and repeat banner, your shindig is officially swanky – and worthy of social media selfies.
You don’t need to roll out the red carpet for a step and repeat to work its magic – they’re just as useful at trade shows, conventions, demo days, grand openings and every other kind of event that you want your company to have a real presence at.
Here’s everything you need to know about finding, buying and using the perfect step and repeat backdrop for your organization.
How Much Do Step and Repeat Banners Cost?
For the purpose of comparison, let's assume that you'll purchase the smallest standard size banner: 8' x 8'. You can expect to pay between $87 and $500. Why the big spread? The price will be dictated by the sign shop you select, as well as its material. A company that does one step and repeat per week will never compare in price to a company like Sign Art Etc that does over 20 backdrops per day.
When it comes to the material, you’ve got two primary choices: vinyl or fabric.
Sign Art Etc sells vinyl and fabric banners starting at $69.00. Discounted packages with step and repeat backdrop and stand and carpet are available from www.signartetc.com
How your step and repeat backdrop is shipped is also important. The last thing you want is a wrinkled display at your event. Sign Art Etc ships vinyl banners rolled up and placed in a long tube to ensure no wrinkles.....no surprises.
What You Should Look For When Buying a Step and Repeat Banner
There are several key points you want to consider when you buy a step and repeat backdrop, and you should make your decision based on what will get you the most mileage out of your step and repeat. If you’ve got a bigger budget, you may even want to buy several options to rotate through, depending on the space limitations of the events you attend.
The standard height for a backdrop is 8′, and the width can be customized to your preference (the widest we found without going custom is 16′, but there’s really no limit). Another alternative to a traditional step and repeat is a 4′ x 8′ panel stand with your company’s logo and information printed on it – this will fit in more spaces, but unless you’re only taking close-up photos you’ll be able to see the edges of the backdrop.
Reasons to spring for a wider step and repeat:
- You’re less likely to see the edges of the backdrop in images
- They allow multiple people (or even groups!) to be photographed at once
- They provide a striking visual at your event – think the entrance “wow” factor
Reasons to go for a smaller step and repeat:
- They fit in smaller spaces, like behind your booth at a trade show
- They’re more portable
- They’re more affordable
The main consideration is that your logo can fit – and be read – in the frame, regardless of the number or height of the people being photographed. This usually results in logos that’re 9-11 inches wide and 5-7 inches tall, set in a repeating pattern across the full length of the step and repeat backdrop. Pulling images off the internet will usually not give you the quality you are want.
Ease of Assembly
The last thing you want to be struggling with at an event is the setup of your step and repeat (and you definitely don’t want it to crash on people). When buying a backdrop, consider the ease of assembly and quality of the stand that will be supporting it. Have you ever tried to put together an IKEA filing cabinet? That’s not the kind of experience you want to have with every setup and take down.
Some supplies expect you to use wire ties to attach your step and repeat backdrop to the frame. That is time consuming and difficult to get your banner pulled tight across the frame. Better shops, such as Sign Art Etc, will put pole pockets on the top and bottom of your step and repeat banners so there is not visible attachment points. Much cleaner, much more professional. Who wants a bunch of wire ties in the picture?
Most step and repeats will roll up nicely for storage, and if you keep your shipping tube, it may be worth the trouble to keep your backdrop clean and wrinkle-free.
Why Should Business Owners Invest in Step and Repeat Backdrops?
They provide free advertising for your brand at the event and also on social media.
Location, location, location – that’s what you’ll get with a step and repeat banner bearing your company’s branding.
How? It’s prime advertising real estate as Facebook and Twitter profile pictures, which often remain in place for months at a time. Or even just as general photos that’re uploaded to profiles – they tend to get a lot of engagement (read: eyeballs). Social media users like to see and be seen, and a red carpet-esque snapshot says, “Check out my enviable social and professional life!” While making their friends jealous, they’ll also be promoting your business by posting their photos and selfies in front of your step and repeat banner.
They can give you expensive photos on the cheap.
A step and repeat is also a clever way to get recognition for your business from whomever poses in front of it. Grab pictures with thought leaders, industry executives and/or celebrities in front of your backdrop, and you’ll walk away from the event with images you’ll use for years to come.
Step and Repeat Backdrops make your company stand out at trade shows.
Step and repeats – or smaller stand-up banners if the space is limited – make for impressive backdrops to your booth or table at trade shows and conventions. You’ll look more professional, attract more people to your space and earn the envy of other exhibitors. You don’t want to have to say, “Look for my competitor’s huge backdrop, I’m three booths to the left of it…” when telling people where your booth is – and we’ve actually heard people say that at trade shows before.
Step and Repeat Banners provide a fantastic return on investment.
You’re going to own a giant advertisement that people actually want to spread around for you, so the possibilities for using it will begin to pop up all over your radar. Charity events that you co-sponsor, grand openings, trade shows, conferences – if there will be camera-happy people present, your step and repeat should be there as well. Plus, you can use the same one for years (you’ll only have to buy a new one if you lose your old one or re-brand your business).
If your budget is limited, get another company to help you pay for it.
You’ll notice that many events feature multiple sponsor logos on the same backdrop. Want to save some money on yours? Offer to feature complementary companies’ logos on it in addition to your own, and see if you can split the cost. Co-branded step and repeats are less likely to be reused, though, so keep in mind that this will likely be a one-and-done purchase.
Preserve your investment.
Trust us – keep your backdrop rolled neatly in a case when it’s not in use. If you don’t store or transport it correctly, you’ll end up with wrinkles and stains (which can be difficult to get out). You want your step and repeat to be clean and crisp, just like your image.