The role of theming in the event creation process

Term Paper, 2005

17 Pages, Grade: High Distinction


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Theming in the event management process

3. The importance of emotional theming and design

4. The sources of theming

5. Variety of themes
5.1 Theming for sporting events
5.2 A practical example: a corporate beach theme event
5.3 Identifying and choosing suppliers of “theme and design”
5.4 Managing suppliers

6. The role of theming in event marketing

7. Conclusion

8. References

Table of figures

Figure 1: The event management process

Figure 2: Theming as the central element for staging an event

Figure 3: Medieval corporate festival

Figure 4: Corporate business beach party

Figure 5: Entrance decoration

Figure 6: Integration of event marketing into the communication mix

1. Introduction

Staging an event means bringing together all the elements of a theatrical production for its presentation on stage – be it a once-off event or a recurring festivity. As the theme is the decisive factor to distinguish specific events from each other, event organisers have to focus on “theming and design” as the central part of the event creation process.

In order to produce successful special events, managers are supposed to combine creative ideas, past experiences and analytical research into a strategic management planning process (Johnson, 2005). Focusing on the target audience, the theme and congruent design support the individual processes, which determine the quality of the event experience and its overall emotional impact (Allen and Harris, 2002).

This essay will highlight the role of theming as the critical success factor for events. In sections two and three, the place, role and importance of emotional “theming and design” in the development process of an event will be discussed. Section four gives an overview of the sources of theming in event management. The variety of event themes and ideas are analysed in section five, where special attention is given to sporting events. This part further explains how event suppliers for “theming and design” can be identified and managed accurately. The outcomes of this discussion are then applied to a practical example. Following the analysis of theming in event marketing, this essay, in the final section, reaches a conclusion based on theoretical and practical evidence.

2. Theming in the event management process

When creating an event, organisers need to concentrate and emphasise on the first two phases of the event management process (cf. figure 1). During the research and design stages, the framework of the event is established, which can be referred to during the later stages of the management process. Successful event creation therefore builds a solid basis for future actions (Allen and Harris, 2002).

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Figure 1: The event management process (adopted by author from Allen and Harris, 2002)

3. The importance of emotional theming and design

Theming is the central element of the strategic implementation process for any event. Once a decision has been reached on the overall concept, it should be developed into a theme that shapes and unifies all aspects of the event. The theme will determine the overall look, style, colours, sounds and atmosphere which are crucial for a unique event experience (Allen and Harris, 2002).

Various elements have to be taken into account when developing an event concept. Firstly, the purpose of the event should drive all the planning, as it is considered the most important and decisive factor (van der Wagen, 2001). Secondly, the theme needs to be linked to the purpose of the event and should be completely compatible with customer needs and expectations. Then, all other important elements – including the choice of venue, the target audience, available resources, the timing of the event and the skills of the team – must be researched and co-ordinated with the theme (Allen et al., 2005).

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Figure 2: Theming as the central element for staging an event (Allen et al. 2005)

Theming is an important creative element of the event, which should ideally appeal to all senses. “They will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”. This statement by Carl W. Buechner clearly indicates that an event has to offer more than just pure information. Today, visual and auditory aspects are considered a basic feature of every event. Offering the participants products they can touch, smell or taste will contribute to a positive outcome and unforgettable memories (van der Wagen, 2001). This theory underlines the central importance of theming as the decisive factor of the overall shape, style and emotional atmosphere of any event.

Once the theme of the event has been identified, designers have to co-operate closely with all other managing forces and suppliers of the other contributing elements, which revolve around the theme (cf. figure 1 and section 5.3). The synergy created between marketing, human resources and operations management will be discussed in more detail later in this essay (Allen, et al., 2005, pp. 185 et seq.).

As an example, a medieval corporate festival could be held in an old castle where the atmosphere is supported by gloomy, dimmed lighting effects. At the entrance, monks and fair ladies could welcome the guests, who enter the castle via an archway of gleaming swords. Creaking doors and cracking sound effects would be in line with

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Figure 3: Medieval corporate festival

(Source: knights serving medieval food and drinks (meats and pastries, bread and wine), while banners, posters and table cards could include famous poems and quotes from Shakespeare. Before dinner, a message from the king (CEO) could be read out and after dinner a presentation of a sword fight performed by knights could start the entertainment program. This could eventually lead to a (folkloric) dancing party including and involving all guests.

4. The sources of theming

Events are a growing phenomenon worldwide, suggesting they fulfil a basic need in today’s society. As companies have become increasingly aware of the role that events can play, the amount of businesses in the event sector has been growing substantially throughout the last decade (Allen et al., 2005). Continuous professionalism and the desire to specialise by providing unique products lead to a large variety of event organisers staging events according to all different kinds of themes (cf. section 5.3).


Excerpt out of 17 pages


The role of theming in the event creation process
University of Technology, Sydney  (School of Leisure, Sport and Tourism)
Event Creation Workshop
High Distinction
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
583 KB
Event, Creation, Workshop, Theming, Event Design, Design, Sport
Quote paper
Master of Sports Management (MM Sportmgt) Nico Schulenkorf (Author), 2005, The role of theming in the event creation process, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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