3 Ways to Incorporate a Theme (Without Being Cheesy)

By Natalie Dupuis, October 9, 2015

One of the first steps to developing a marketing plan for an event is decide on some sort of theme. Ideally stemming from the content of the event, it could be a theme based on color, an image, or more often than not, a phrase. The one thing that will, in theory, tie every aspect of the event together. At Catalyst Atlanta, that theme is “Awaken the Wonder.” What has the potential to be a broad brushstroke speaking to creativity and big-picture-thinking, has been flushed out by the Catalyst team to apply to every piece of the event, whether the attendee recognizes it or not. Here are three ways Catalyst is incorporating their theme this year beyond the décor and hashtag:

1) Start with the staff.

If you’re choosing them like Catalyst did about “wonder” or another theme that encourages creativity or dreaming, your own team should be fostering that environment leading up to the event. Catalyst Marketing Director Lindsay Van Zyl said that the “Awaken the Wonder” theme gave her team the freedom to dream big in the process of marketing this year’s series of events.

2) Use speaker content.

Present the theme to your keynote speakers far enough in advance of the event for them to plan a presentation that speaks from some angle of the theme. At Catalyst, speakers like Erwin McManus spoke to the wonder of the creativity of God, while rapper and pastor Trip Lee spoke to the wonder of music. Ideally, you foster relationships with your speakers so that you can work alongside them to develop the best way to incorporate the theme into their presentation naturally and seamlessly, without asking them to speak to something outside their sphere of influence.

3) Engage all five senses.

One of the standout elements of Catalyst as a whole is the way their live events appeal to all learning styles. To tie this into their theme this year, they had strategically-placed Wonderpods throughout the venue. For those who need a tactical way to process the things they’re learning from the speakers, these pods gave them the space to do that. Legos to play with, stickers and coloring pages to enjoy, and boxes that force them to shift their perspective are just a few of the ways that people could engage different senses.

Photo credit: Catalyst Conference

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