Insights

5 Steps to Creating an Event Theme to Remember

Want attendees to talk about your event for months to come? Commit to a theme. Excellent logistics and seamless production are important factors in event planning, of course — they keep things moving smoothly, ensuring that your guests won’t remember your event because of hiccups or missteps. When logistics and production go well, they’re actually quite unmemorable, which is exactly what you want. But when it comes to remembering a gathering for the right reasons, a strong theme will keep your event on their minds long after they walk out the doors.

When themes are done well, a company’s message is solidified in the mind of every guest. Marketing agencies can help companies create what matters without a single word from the platform — all by creating a masterful theme that keeps the event’s goals front and center. 

When you hear the word “theme,” think less about high school prom decorations and more about purpose. Every aspect of your event planning should point to the same place, from messaging to aesthetics. It’s so much more than a cohesive color palette! Ready to plan an event your guests will always remember? This five step process will get you there.

1. Start with the end in mind.

As you sit down to plan your event, imagine each guest leaving after the gathering ends. What do you hope they’ll know about the company? How do you hope they’ll feel? What action steps do you want them to take? By answering these questions, you’ll get a clear path toward the purpose of your event. A gathering inviting donors to participate in a new initiative will have different goals than a conference designed to educate corporate employees or a social hour celebrating the efforts of nonprofit volunteers.

Once you’ve established the purpose of your event, create a measurable system to define its success. What are your KPIs? What would make this event a success? You’ll need to have all of this information in hand to select a theme with purpose.

 

2. Know your guests.

To select a winning theme, you’ll need a firm understanding of your target audience. Who will be attending this event, and what will they expect from you? Ask questions like: 

    • Does this event include fundraising? Will donors or investors attend?
    • Is this event for staff or employees only, or will they bring guests? 
    • What’s the average attendee age? Are children invited? 
    • Will participants need to travel?
    • What do attendees like? What will they enjoy?
    • What message do they want or need to hear from you? 

As you build a complete picture of your guest profile, you’ll also get valuable information about potential themes. After all, every event is hosted for the people who attend it — so creating a gathering that’s custom-made for their interests and needs will go a long way in making it a success.

 

3. Tailor trends to your brand.

Now that you’ve established your goals and gotten to know your audience, it’s time to get inspired. As you build your event theme, look for inspiration online — Pinterest is a great place to source ideas. You should also look into similar events hosted by other marketing agencies and event planners. You can learn a lot from their ideas. Consider which elements worked, and which ones did not! 

As you gather inspiration, though, remember to stay true to your brand identity and event purpose. It’s often easy to get lost in eye-catching aesthetics or interesting elements that will not actually serve your specific purpose or audience well. You don’t need to copy anyone else’s ideas; just gather inspiration and then come back to the table to dream up something that’s entirely your own.

 

4. Know your limits.

As you select elements that serve your event theme, make sure they fit into the established parameters. Selecting a venue is one of the first steps in planning any event, so make sure it serves your purpose well, not to mention offers a space your attendees will love. After you’ve determined your location, make choices that fit well into that space — and your budget. 

When you bring all of your theme ideas to the table, it can be hard to winnow them down into your budget and space constraints. But remember: a successful event theme doesn’t necessarily mean the biggest and best of everything. Instead, it means evoking the right reaction in your attendees, offering a clear message, and hitting your goals. This can be done in countless small ways, not just big and bold ones!

 

5. Commit to the details.

You have your event theme established. Hooray – you did it! Now it’s time to conceptualize the details, infusing your big picture and purpose into every choice. Consistency matters! From committing to a cohesive color scheme to making sure your messaging is consistent across all platforms, every detail should work together to create a seamless experience for your guests. 

A quick note: committing to the theme doesn’t mean overdoing it with every detail. We always strive for consistency here at Redstory, creating something that matters for our clients. But too many matching aesthetic details or a tagline plastered in too many spots can start to feel a bit cheesy. When you think about “consistency,” think of consistency in your purpose more than anything else. 

 

Want your next event to have a theme that connects with every guest? We’d love to help you build it. Inquire here, and we’ll be in touch.