How to Choose a Winning Conference Event Theme

January 21, 2019
By: Marquee Event Rentals


The theme of your conference or corporate event will set the tone for its duration. Choosing the right theme can inspire guests and presenters, create a positive mood, and ensure your event is memorable for the right reasons. Our event rental specialists share tips on how to choose a theme for any conference, large or small.

The right theme can transform a bland meeting into the most highly-anticipated event of the year. Would you rather attend an annual conference, or an exploration of How Technology Will Transform Your Industry in 20 Years? Where will you generate more new business-generating ideas: at an annual meeting, or at a strategic planning session based upon groundbreaking ideas by innovative business owners, such as those found in the books The Lean Startup and Tools of Titans?

A strong theme can also simplify event planning, support corporate goals, and guide promotional messaging. Choosing a focus can motivate staff members, inspire presenters, and set the right tone for your corporate conference or event.

How to Choose a Theme for Your Conference or Event
Start with company goals you hope to achieve: inter-departmental cooperation, developing new business ideas, etc. Your theme could be a question such as: what changes do we expect in the next 5,10, 20 years? Or a thought-provoking challenge such as: if our number one competitor took over our business, what changes would they make?

Consider the number of attendees, the duration of the event, and venue when choosing a theme. A simple theme may be a better choice for a one-day event whereas a multi-day conference could be a great chance to think a little outside of the box. The location of the event and time of year might also influence your theme choice.

Establish the theme by incorporating it into every aspect of the event including presentation topics, handouts, decor, and merchandise (if applicable). For example, if you would like attendees to keep international expansion top of mind, choose a cultural theme for each presentation room. Run a slide show of interesting facts about the featured location while guests mingle and find their seats, and provide signature food and drink from each region (in addition to local favorites) during lunch breaks, or at a gala dinner.

Tips for Planning a Successful Conference Event with a Theme

  1. Is this event for employees only? Will clients or vendors attend?
  2. Could the event theme be negatively interpreted in some way?
  3. Does the theme require an elaborate budget to be sufficiently executed?
  4. Can the venue accommodate themed activities and decor?
  5. What is the number one thing you want attendees to remember about the event?

Conference Event Planning Ideas

Looking for inspiration? Below are a few ideas to help get the creative juices flowing. You can also contact one of our experienced event planning specialists who can provide ideas and recommendations based on your budget, event venue and other factors. Marquee consultations are always complimentary.

Business-related themes

  • The future of (your industry)
  • How to succeed like XYZ athlete, or a well-known entrepreneur
  • Your brand values, history, location or mission statement
  • Something that differentiates you from the competition

Historical, seasonal and pop culture

  • Popular TV shows (Game of Thrones, Mad Men)
  • A well-known historical era (roaring 20’s, 80’s)
  • A historical event such as the Chicago World’s Fair, or a sports team’s championship win
  • Location-themed (Hawai’i, Vegas nights, wild outdoors)

Browse our online gallery for additional inspiration, or connect with an event planning expert at one of our locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Austin, Dallas, or San Antonio.