When planning an event, it’s important to remember that the experience your guests have starts well before they enter the venue and continues well after they leave.
Everything from the feeling they get while driving up to the venue, to what they see once they arrive and walk inside, to the food and drink they enjoy at the party are all carefully chosen elements of your theme. Finding ways to reinforce both your event objective and your brand message throughout each aspect will help ensure that your guests have a memorable time at your party, no matter how big or small it may be.
What is event theming?
The term event theming is used to describe a creative delivery for an event that is based on a certain theme. Depending on the event’s objective, the theme can be based on a wide variety of things including books, films, cultural or company events.
There are a number of different approaches that can be used to deliver an event theme. A typical approach is to create a themed environment by using props, set design and decorations which give a venue an overall look and feel in line with the company’s brand or event objectives. A themed environment can make all the difference when it comes to creating a memorable experience for your guests.
Your aim should be to use props, lights and sounds to engage attendees during breaks in their agenda, as well as help people to identify key locations such as the reception and meeting areas.
Why is theming important for an event?
Well, the fun of an event is a big selling point for the concept itself. Some companies are very niche and have dedicated followers who attend annual conferences or expos (e.g. video game studios). If you find yourself in that situation, then theming can be important to keep your loyal following pumped and enthusiastic.
But even if you’re planning something like a corporate event, theming can still be effective at conveying the objectives of an event in a cheerful way. For example, let’s say you want to show off your company's new product line. You could theme your event around a food court where each stand represents one of your products. Or maybe you just want to reward employees with a day out; why not theme it as an amusement park? There are many different ways to use theming effectively besides promotional events.
Ways to incorporate the theme into your event
There are tons of ways to incorporate your theme into your event's decor. One way is to choose a colour scheme and then use those colours throughout your décor. You can also try creating centrepieces around a central object that has something to do with your theme. For example, if you’re having an Alice in Wonderland-themed party, make a centrepiece out of a large white clock and attach some brightly coloured balloons for an interesting effect. As mentioned earlier, you can enhance the visual effect by using props. Your guests will respond positively to attention-grabbing props, but they also serve another purpose; they allow you to communicate key messages about your event or brand through visual means.
Finally, don't forget about the food! Food and drink are often one of our favourite parts of any themed event, so take advantage of your brand’s style by creating a signature cocktail that ties into your theme. And remember: it doesn't have to be complicated! Simple things like serving mini versions of desserts on tiny plates (like cupcakes on little dessert plates) will bring everything together without breaking a sweat.
Convey your brand image and event theme through props
What’s so special about event props is that they can convey a brand message in an almost subtle way. If you want to incorporate props into your next event design, we recommend you start by thinking about why you need them and how they will be used to promote your brand. Props can be incredibly effective at conveying a brand message, but only if they are used correctly and don’t go against what you are trying to get across. Think of event props as an extra tool that allows for more creativity; instead of just relying on decoration and space design. These little extras help break up a space and make it feel less empty. One great example of effective event props is the 'Magic Tap' prop we have created for a water filtration system company for The Boast Show. We used a real submersible pump to keep the flow of water coming from the tap. The prop design was perfectly in line with both the essence of the company and the theme of the event. It was, of course, also a perfect way of impressing the attendees and catching their attention.
It’s important to think about which elements from your brand you want to include in your event theme. This should be based on who your target audience is and where you expect them to interact with your theme. It might seem obvious, but choosing custom made props can really help with branding efforts.
How you can pick a brand-related theme for your event
Themed events are key parts of experiential marketing. Marketers have been using event theming for years to create memorable brand experiences that keep customers engaged long after their campaigns have ended.
Here is a recent example from the US: the Taco Bell 'Fourth Meal Campaign'. As part of its overall campaign targeting late-night snacking, Taco Bell developed a tagline called 'Fourth Meal' to emphasise that people should eat whenever they're hungry - whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner. To promote their campaign, they organised a ‘Taco Night’ event with DJ-s, celebrities and of course, plenty of tacos.
So, why does it work? Because it taps into something that everyone understands and relates to: Snacking on a schedule. It's an experience that is both relatable and relevant. It creates a sense of connection with your audience by speaking directly to them in terms of what they already know and do every day.
Of course, Taco Bell is not the only company utilising branded events. We at Spur Creative have sculpted props for a similar experiential marketing campaign organised by Magnum ice cream. Magnum organised a pop-up week in Regent Street in London, where anyone could design their own Magnum ice cream.
In short, thematic events allow you to create an experience around your product or service that is personal and relevant; one that your customer will be able to recall later when considering your product/service again. By creating an experience centred around your brand, you give you a greater opportunity for someone to connect with you on a deeper level – which is exactly what you want from any marketing campaign in general. And because these types of connections are so much more powerful than simple advertising (which gets tuned out), you also increase your chances of building loyalty among repeat customers – which means more sales in the future!