top of page

Nightclub Marketing Guide Part 1: - Branding

This comprehensive marketing guide walks marketers through the processes of refreshing their club's brand through useful exercises, free marketing tools, and tips for creating compelling stories that build loyal customers.

Hi! My name is Eric, and I am head of marketing here at Chexology. Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to have toured the country as a stand-up comedian, produced national television commercials, wrote award-winning films, and sold sitcom scripts to television networks. I’ve also cut my teeth as a marketer over the last decade, applying successful creative-problem-solving skills to companies in various industries, but today, I’d like you to focus on a few simple exercises that will help you refresh your nightclub brand.

Why am I doing this?

The web is filled with thousands of articles and blogs bloated with fluff, genric advice, and dusty tactics that don’t actually help you. So with all of the research and data our team here at Chexology has gathered over the years, I wanted to put together a nightclub marketing guide that was genuinely useful. I wanted this marketing guide to be something you could quickly implement without needing to hire a fancy marketing agency. I'm not sure how many of these guides I’ll post, but if you have marketing topics you’d like me to write a piece around, please let me know!

To kick off this series, I thought we’d focus on a topic at the core of everything your nightclub does and is all too often overlooked: nightclub branding.

Why is nightclub branding important?

Branding is the process of creating a distinctive identity or image for a company. It involves shaping how customers feel and connect with your brand. Effective branding establishes a lasting impression and helps differentiate a brand from its competitors. It's also an ever-evolving organism and needs regular attention.

While branding and marketing overlap, branding is the long-term promise you make to your customers. It’s why your nightclub does what it does every weekend. It’s the feelings and values that you and your customers identify with together. It's why customers would rather hang out at your club instead of your competitors.

I love this breakdown from TikTok star @BrandBossHQ who explains the difference between marketing and branding through a simple tow truck story.

Heinz has set itself apart as branding itself as being the "Slowest."

Find one word that sets you apart.

Heinz ketchup is an icon. But when the little “catsup” company hit the market in the late 1800s, it was hardly a standout at the grocery store.

Luke Sullivan, veteran marketer and author of ‘Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This (a marketing bible amongst ad agencies), talks about the moment Heinz went from a no-name condiment to the king of condiments:

“In ketchup, the adjective everyone fought over for a long time was to be the “tomato-iest.” Then one day Heinz came along claiming it was the “slowest,” and sales went up—and stayed up.”

Heinze flipped one of their most annoying customer complaints into a 100-year-old marketing campaign. It’s genius!

In a sea of nightclubs proclaiming to have the best drink deals or the best DJs, consider branding yourself as something unique and outside the norm. Be the loudest or “the friendliest nightclub in New York.” That’s what will set you apart from the herd.

Not sure what words set you apart? Then spy on your competitors for free with

If you’re unsure who your nightclub competitors are or how they brand themselves, I'd highly recommend spying on them through this fantastic website, It's free and exposes some unbelievable things about any website URL you ask it to search. You can see monthly traffic, what words they spend money on, what their SEO keyword count is, their most used keywords, who their biggest website competitors are, and so much more.

It's also insightful to use SpyFu on your website and see how you match up to your competitors.

Once you have a better idea of who's out there and who your website is competing with, you'll quickly set yourself apart as a nightclub brand. Plus, it's just a potent marketing tool, and more people should be using it.

If you get bored, you can even add popular websites into Spyfu, like or, and see massive SEO numbers and the details of their ad budgets. is a great free marketing tool

The power of storytelling in branding is key nowadays.

In a survey conducted by Stackla, 86% of consumers stated that authenticity is a key factor in deciding which brands they support. 57% of respondents reported that they were more likely to trust a brand that shared company stories.

In the digital age, nightclub goers are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of advertising, with the vast majority of it being inauthentic and just plain noise. Outside of throwing silly money at your marketing problems, capturing a consumer's attention has become a big challenge for everyone. This is where the art of emotional storytelling shines as a nightclub marketing tactic and helps you build on your brand.

According to a report by WARC, brands that use emotional storytelling techniques in their advertising campaigns are 31% more likely to outperform their competitors regarding market share growth. By weaving narratives that resonate with audiences on an emotional level, dance clubs, and concert venues can break the mold of click-baiting by establishing meaningful connections.

For reference, please look at the story we wrote about Chexology.It shares some of the exciting milestones we've gone through and sets a tone that reflects the energy and personality of my co-workers.

There are no shortcuts to writing a good company story. It takes time, feedback from others around you, and a few drafts to simmer your sauce down to the fun, concentrated bits that customers engage with. But whatever you do, have fun with it, make bold statements, and stay the hell away from "safe."

The key to good nightclub marketing is emotional engagement

According to a study by the Advertising Research Foundation, emotionally impactful campaigns are twice as likely to generate positive business outcomes as rational appeals. While emotional engagement is a crucial component of contemporary nightclub marketing, be forewarned, phony boloney emotional engagement campaign will not fly. Be honest, and your customers will follow.

If you mess up, own it. Don't be afraid to share your mistakes and feelings with your customer base. Don't be afraid to stand for something. Your customers will reward your honesty with loyalty.

Don't use "and then" between your brand's story beats.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are heavyweights in the writing world. With Emmys from their show South Park to their Broadway smash hit and Tony award-winning play, The Book of Mormon, these co-creators have been able to boil down their storytelling success into one simple formula that's quite useful.

"If you have "and then" between every one of your story beats, you basically have something that's pretty boring. What should happen between every beat you've written down is either the word "therefore" or "but," says Trey Parker.

Bad example: I went to my first nightclub when I was 23. I fell in love with the idea of creating my own venue, and then I got funding from the bank and a few investors, and then I opened my nightclub two years later. It's called 'Waterproof Nightclub.'

Good example: When I was twenty-three, I fell in love with club life and was determined to open my own nightclub, but I had no money! Therefore, I had to get creative with my financing, which helped me become an expert in buying commercial real estate. But, on the first day of buying the venue, there was a massive thunderstorm, and the roof leaked rainwater everywhere! Therefore, I spent the first four months sealing the roof and walls by hand to save on costs. But, putting in all this time to seal the building is what led us to the venue's name, 'Waterproof'! Because there’s no way this building could possibly leak after all the nights I spent sealing her up. Believe me, it'sthere's waterproof. Come down this weekend and see for yourself!

Don't say. Do!

This is a big one for me and has become my marketing mantra: "Don't say something. Do something!"

Research by psychology professor Jennifer L. Aaker reveals that stories profoundly impact consumer behavior, with emotionally compelling narratives being more likely to drive purchase intent. She also drives home the importance of being a doer and not just saying something.

"Show, don't tell, is the most fundamental maxim of storytelling," says Jennifer, "and for a good reason. Your audience should see a picture, feel the conflict, and become more involved with the story — they're not receptacles for a series of facts. If you tell a story as though you were not there, it distances your listeners. Describe what is happening as if it were in front of you."

"Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream." ~ Mark Twain

"In practice," Professor Aaker continues, "Go to the page on your company's website where you describe what you do. Does your "About Us" section include only lists and categories? Is the information purely factual, or are you using stories to help illustrate who you are?"

Another critical aspect of "Don't say. Do!" when it comes to branding is when you think about your nightclub's marketing campaigns. Do they just say something to your customers, or is your marketing campaign showing your customers that you are doing something?

Example 1: Emailing your followers that you are offering half-priced Saturday show tickets is saying something.

Example 2: Emailing your followers that you're gathering soup cans for your local homeless shelter, and anyone who brings non-perishable food will get half off their ticket Saturday is doing something.

Not only is the second example just a good thing to do, but you'll also see a much higher level of engagement because you and your customers stand for a cause and are working together to do something. This gesture makes a lasting impact on your customers and on your community. That's not only branding, that's socialial conscious branding.

Inspirational branding quote from Marketing expert Seth Godin

Nightclub branding wrap-up

Branding can feel elusive at times, so don't get discouraged if you have yet to fully flush out who you are and how you are different from your competitors. I think it's also important to keep in mind that some companies invest millions of dollars annually to have big fancy ad agencies help them figure out who they are as a brand. Every business is on an endless quest to clarify who they are and if forced to answer honestly, are likely unsure if they're going in the right direction. So, take the time to build your brand slowly. Allow your customers to steer the ship a little and figure out how you can grow with them.

I hope the topics I laid out spark ideas and remove some of the mystery around crafting your venue's brand. See you in the next marketing guide!



bottom of page