Game Changers

June 15 – 16, 2011, Webcom Publishing Office, Toronto
Tina Kessler, OnSite Reporter

Game Changers 2011 June 15&16 rock paper scissors art"][/caption]The idea of a themed event is hardly new in our industry. Most events have themes, whether it be the tried and true ‘under the sea’ or the ever popular ‘casino night’ we’ve all been to an event with a theme and most likely planned one as well. We can all recognize and appreciate the importance of an event theme, but how memorable was your last themed event? Did it make an impact? How does one weave the theme throughout an event without bashing the attendees over the head with it?

I recently volunteered at Game Changers 2011 and really got to thinking about the importance of theme. Webcom, a book printing company in Toronto, opened its doors to select publishers, associations and media for Game Changers 2011 (June 15 & 16) showcasing its latest $12 million investment in printing technologies and production program: BookFWD. This production program is aimed at transforming the way Webcoms’ publishing customers print and manage the distribution of books, directories and catalogues. Game Changers 2011 was about changing the game that is the publishing industry and providing a win-win situation for all and boasted the event tagline: “We’ve changed the rules so you always win”.

The theme of Game Changers 2011 was the well-known game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’. Here’s where the theme earns its first points: it’s identifiable. Everyone at some point has come to an agreement based on this simple game. Second, the theme was integrated: it began in the event invitation, highlighting the strength of rock, the flexibility of paper, and the sharpness of scissors, continued in the decor and room names, was present throughout the event, agenda, and even featured original artwork created for the event. Third, it was focussed. Some themes get so out of hand they leave attendees confused and overwhelmed. But the theme at Game Changers 2011 was featured just enough times that attendees were pleasantly surprised. Fourth, the theme was memorable. Memorable, in that it was a unique theme, but also that it fit the purpose of the event. The attendees arrived knowing the theme, saw it featured throughout the event, appreciated it and will remember it for years to come.

And so, while this event could easily have gone without a theme and just stayed a ho-hum corporate business event it instead took a leap of faith and executed a brilliant event theme. The event’s success will no doubt boost sales and I’m betting the theme has a lot to do with it.