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The Art of Theming: Crafting Unique Event Environments

The key to theming events is constructing them from data and perfecting them in creativity.

Crafting a genuinely unique event environment is part data and part creativity. The two work together to build event themes on a solid foundation. To land on the right thematic setting, you need to know who your audience is. But to hit it out of the park, you need the ability to translate that knowledge through the lens of creativity.

Gita Reddy, Event Specialist at Koyal Wholesale, states, “Teasing an event theme from data is a process that engages not just your knowledge of potential attendees but your ability to find fresh, evocative theming opportunities that speak to them.” And that’s where the art of theming comes in. Let’s look at how the secret sauce of theming events is constructed from data but perfected in creativity.

Getting to the Bottom of Your Audience

You may be recycling a traditional theme with a new spin or trying something completely novel. Either way, giving the people what they want is about getting to the bottom of what appeals to them. What turns their crank and how do you find out?

Establish an Attendee Persona

Conglomerating data about attendee interests, needs, gender, age, and education level renders a median attendee persona for your event. Data is gathered from previous conferences and market research, revealing the core traits of attendees. Your crowd may be older but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the same interests, so a range of data is required to determine who you’re theming to. Because your attendee persona may not cover every attendee with precision, adding unique features covers those who may fall a little outside the edges of your persona.

For example, add gamification to a conference with a small but significant presence of under-30s. By doing so, you not only acknowledge that cohort’s presence but bring your event an extra layer of interest and interaction. You also collect data. Social media participation that deploys specific event hashtags serves as publicity for the event and your work as its creator. So, encourage plenty of that!

Create a Unique Selling Proposition

Creating a USP for your event optimizes visibility on all channels while making a strong value statement. For the same reason that commercial brands rely on unique selling propositions in their marketing, a USP encapsulating your event optimizes your message, selling your product to your market crisply and succinctly.

Ask yourself the following questions about your event:

  • How do attendees benefit?
  • What distinguishes your event from others in the sector?
  • What are the event’s key experiences?
  • Who are your expert speakers?
  • Are there hands-on workshops or small-group breakouts?
  • What is the core draw offered (speaker, film, discussion panel)?

Create a persuasive statement that appeals to your attendee persona, making a succinct and compelling case for them showing up. Speak to that avatar of your audience where it stands. Then deploy your succinct USP on social media and in your marketing materials. Hashtag it and make it a thumbnail of your event that sets your event apart as unique, speaking directly to the expectations of your attendee persona as revealed by data.

Analyze Events in Your Sector

Knowing what the competition’s been up to is key to crafting a unique event theme and environment. Only when you’re aware of their recent theming work can you see the opportunities offered by gaps in the market being served. Traditional themes can be tweaked to speak directly to your attendee persona. But novelty that springs organically from your data-driven knowledge of that persona’s expectations can create even more stellar opportunities.

So, the secret sauce is: 

  • the attendee persona
  • the interface between that persona and the USP
  • the opportunities revealed by your market research

By allowing the data to speak to you, you’ve revealed an attendee avatar. You know what this person wants, so now all you need is to speak to them in a theme that honors the promises of your Unique Selling Proposition. All these pieces of the art of theming work together to offer accuracy in targeting a theme to potential attendees.

Purpose-Built Environments

A purpose-built environment tailored to the people who will briefly inhabit it is the satisfying fruit of your detailed theming efforts. When an event’s environment has been constructed from data and your creative responses to that data as an events professional, its power is baked in. Data puts your creativity into overdrive.

With a data-driven approach, your professional creativity becomes a powerhouse for crafting unique event environments that spring from the people who attend. This potent synergy renders an effective blueprint for unforgettable environments and events that break the mold.

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