Time is precious and people are more sensitive than ever about giving theirs away. With so many things vying for people’s time, how can you entice them to attend your upcoming program? Create a strong message or theme that is present throughout your event! A simple theme can build excitement, increase attendance, and enhance attendee engagement.
Events are on the rise, as are participant expectations. Tying a message or theme to your next event has the potential to take it to the next level. By doing so, you have the ability to set the tone for the whole program, and ultimately ensure a successful outcome.
The ‘Why’ Behind the Importance of an Overarching Theme
One big reason that many companies and meeting planners choose to revolve their events around a central message or theme is that it creates a sense of structure and unity. Whether it be for a conference, incentive trip, trade show, or even just a small meeting, the theme you choose should reflect the company’s brand. It should subtly emphasize the general objectives of the program while providing some insight into company culture or values.
While themes are often associated with parties and special events, they are just as beneficial when used to tie together components of a meeting or conference. Pairing your theme to a keyword or phrase can be very effective in portraying your objectives. Paragon Events recently worked with a client who chose “Ignite” as the theme for their conference. The word ignite was then incorporated throughout the entire event, through literal and figurative elements. This set the stage for the conference’s end goal, which was to ignite new connections and ideas.
“Now is our time to ignite! Ignite our way of thinking. To ignite problem-solving in a fresh, different way. To ignite our imagination. To ignite innovation at all levels of our business and if we can do that, our best days are going to be yet to come.”
Use Your Event Theme to Create Buzz
Unique and creative themes are a great way to create an organic buzz amongst attendees. While fun themes are often used for birthday parties, they work just as well for generating excitement in the corporate world. Make sure to choose a theme that attendees will connect with and that will spark their interests. Communicate the theme of the event in early promotional materials to help potential guests identify the value of attending. If people feel a connection to the event, they will be more likely to promote it among their professional circles and personal social platforms. Once you establish the message and theme of your event, it’s time to create a plan of action to bring it all together.
How to Integrate A Theme Into Your Event
Exactly how do you integrate your theme throughout the event? As we mentioned above, having an overarching message tied to your program is a surefire way to create buzz and excitement. It is important that the theme is marketed to attendees before the event even begins. Once it’s been defined and refined, reinforce it in all communication. Make all parts cohesive by using graphics, content, and tone to strengthen your message. If your client plans on sending out an invitation or save the date, make sure that the event’s theme or message is included. Don’t forget to tailor the branding of your registration page, as well!
From there, take it to your social platforms. Create a unique hashtag or message for attendees to share before, during, and after the event. Place the hashtag on the registration page and all promotional materials so guests become familiar with it. Use social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to create surveys, polls, or Q&A’s to collect better analytics for event expectations. This should give you a better understanding of your attendee’s interests and make it easier to plan certain elements of your event.
Décor, along with food and beverage, are key elements for any occasion. Used as tools to significantly enhance the event, they have the power to create a lasting impact. At this point, your message or theme should be very clear to your attendees. With all of the buzzworthy marketing leading up to the event, it’s essential to “wow” people! By choosing the proper décor and food presentations, you can completely transform your space and creatively reinforce your theme.
Going back to our earlier “Ignite” conference is a perfect example of this practice. Once this theme was locked in, our team began thinking of unique ways to incorporate it into the food and beverage components. Katherine Stokoe, Manager of Meetings and Events, suggested creating a break table branded with the phrase “Ignite Your Bite.” The rest of the team, our clients, and ultimately, the attendees absolutely loved this concept! This is just one of the many instances where incorporating a strong message into an event resulted in a successful outcome for all parties involved. Paragon Events’ portfolio provides more great examples of how décor, as well as food and beverage, can be used to enhance any event!
Why You Should Bring in an Expert
When award-winning writer, editor, and content marketer, Maria Lenhart, wrote a piece about crafting strong messages for Meetings Today, she came to Paragon Events’ President & CEO Renee Radabaugh for a planner’s perspective.
“The first thing you have to do is secure the vision and the goals of the stakeholders,” said Renee. “You’ve got to ask lots of questions. They may already know what they want to convey, particularly if they have a strong marketing department. Even so, planners are in a position to help define and refine the theme. Your job is to take that idea and make it stronger.”
After being in the events industry for over 30 years, Renee has successfully executed countless programs using this mindset. She has passed on her expertise and forward-thinking recommendations to our in-house events team. Paragon Events takes pride in thinking out-of-the-box and creatively brainstorming when planning a new event.
Read the full Meetings Today article Renee was featured in to gain even more knowledge around theming your next event!
Do you need help developing your next event theme? Reach out to the creative strategists at Paragon Events. We will gladly help you architect your next event!