27 Unforgettable Corporate Event Themes
Q: What do dishwashers, outer space, and giant fish have in common? A: They can provide attendees with a one-of-a-kind experience. Learn more in this guide to corporate event themes and concepts.
Anyone can hold an event — but making it memorable is something else altogether. With in-person events returning and the rise of hybrid events, it’s time to step up the game. Although there’s a lot that goes into creating an unforgettable event experience, having a unique event theme and the resourcefulness to pull it off can help.
We’ve already covered creative corporate event ideas to diversify your event marketing strategy. In this article, you’ll find tried-and-true themes, enterprise-level events, and never-thought-of-before corporate events. Whether your next event is a quiet gathering or a huge reveal powered by virtual event software, you’re sure to find some theme ideas for your next event on this list.
Hold on to your seats, corporate event planners, for 27 crazily creative themes.
1. “Game On”: Outreach’s Unleash ’21
It’s a new era for sales and Outreach was ready to leave the exhaustion of 2020 behind when they organized Unleash ’21. To show the excitement for what the future has in store, the sales engagement platform chose to incorporate a “Game On” theme. The company highlighted how transformative 2020 was for sales and what it did to create new “game-changing” technology. Though the pandemic’s challenges aren’t over yet, the company is set on inspiring others to rise to the challenges with a competitive and energetic attitude.
2. Netflix Theme: Gainsight’s Pulse Everywhere 2021
Conferences are all about great content, so what better theme is there than a Netflix-inspired library of sessions? Gainsight delivered “binge-worthy” content available everywhere at any time. Content played on the titles of popular series available on Netflix like, “Nick’s Creek” instead of Schitt’s Creek and “Success Things” instead of Stranger Things. Using Netflix language and references throughout the agenda and conference made this Customer Success and Product even more fun to watch.
3. Intergalactic Party
Photo source: WM Events
A corporate hotel management company threw an intergalactic party for guests in a glass-ceilinged atrium to set the mood. Guests were greeted by LED space dancers and could hit the LED dance floor alongside even more dancers in mirrored suits. String drapery provided a gauzy, other-worldly backdrop.
4. Traveling Chalk Art Exhibition
Photo source: Grandesign
The organizers at Grandesign created a traveling chalk-art exhibition that featured drawings of exotic roads from Patagonia to China as part of Cadillac’s Cadillac ATS vs. The World event. The impressive street art created by local artists was then influenced by augmented reality technology on wireless devices that showcased the Cadillac ATS model navigating the 3D chalk roads, much to viewers’ amazement.
5. Dishwasher Water Park
Photo source: Double A
Double A brought LG’s Quadwash dishwasher to life with a dishwasher-themed inflatable water park. Locals could enjoy popsicles, cabanas, and windy “dry cycle” photo GIF booths. For added buzz, social media influencers dressed up as favorite foods and raced against each other through the water park’s “cycles.” In case you’re wondering, the hamburger, aka YouTube personality J.D. Witherspoon, won.
6. A Corporate “Camping” Retreat
Photo source: Red Carpet Events and Design
Red Carpet Events and Design went all out for a camping-themed corporate retreat at the Resort at Squaw Creek. Custom-constructed a-frame tents, beer pong, jumbo chess, a s’mores bar, and a campfire helped set the scene while wandering guitarists and astronomers entertained guests.
7. Container Crazy
The Container Store tapped Puff ‘n Stuff Catering to incorporate hors d’oeuvre spreads into their 60th store opening for some especially clever synergy at its grand reveal. Guests could go up and down the aisle and discover macaron-filled drawers, crudité-filled jars, and churro-filled office supplies. Besides being charming, the deliciously, fun-filled displays demonstrated just how versatile The Container Store’s products were.
8. A Gatorade Speakeasy
Photo source: Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop
This Gatorade pop-up store at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop during South by Southwest (SXSW) had event-goers searching for various Gatorade products in an augmented reality game. Once completed, what initially looked like a convenience store refrigerator, opened to reveal a neon-lit speakeasy that showcased Gatorade’s virtual reality technology and how it helps athletes.
9. Color Your Space
Photo source: Beaworld
German polymer company Covestro gathered its global community in an all-white space for its annual Innovation Celebration. Then, attendees were encouraged to make their mark on the space with color, which doubled as a nod to Convestro’s colorful logo. As a plus, attendee networking was made more fun with sticker books.
10. The House Party, Electrified
Photo source: MKG
In honor of Absolut’s limited edition Absolut Electrik bottle, MKG threw a house party… and cranked it up 10 notches. The event replicated a typical house party with a living room and garage space set-up and made it outside-the-box with a robot band, drone barbacks, and a 40’ tesla coil in the shape of the iconic Absolut bottle. The event organizers even implemented individual biometric bracelets that indicated the party’s energy levels to event-goers, with prizes unveiled as energy levels soared. Most importantly, with over 650 attendees, 100M earned media impressions, and 1.5M social media impressions — this event theme was a raging success (source).
11. Rainey Street Recreated
Photo source: AgencyEA
For the annual MillerCoors’ Distributors Conference, which showcases 22 of MillerCoors’ top brands from Sol to Blue Moon, AgencyEA’s event strategy was to bring Austin’s infamous Rainey Street indoors. The organizers re-created the feel of the popular strip known for its craftsman-homes-turned-bars inside a convention center, right down to the multiple beer gardens. By aligning an engaging and location-relevant corporate theme with their customer’s brand, AgencyEA created a successful event that will be replicated in 2019.
12. Getting Buzz(ed)
Photo source: Eventive Marketing
Known for the buzzing sound its machines make when in action, SodaStream capitalized on that theme for a marketing event series that ran the gamut. From country-wide tours that showcased the cost-effectiveness of the product to mock protests complete with “Free the Bubbles” signs, while participants in Spring Break-friendly locales were gifted “get Buzzed” shirts — Eventive Marketing successfully implemented a multi-event strategy around this theme, generating impactful buzz on social media.
13. Block Party
Photo source: First Global Events Agency
Rather than the traditional presentation to showcase AOL’s open-platform model to influencers and consumers, First Global Events Agency opted for an open-platform event. The goal was to best reflect the product their customer was promoting. In this block party-themed reveal, the event organizers made use of drone-led obstacle courses, celebrity meet-and-greets, and concerts featuring Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and Demi Lovato.
14. City of the Future
Photo source: Impact XM
Impact XM took AT&T attendees back to the future for their Leadership Summit customer conference. A pavilion space played host to a 120’ LED Video wall, touch, and transparent OLED screens, and a lit-up model city of the future. The chosen blue and silver color scheme was the final touch in creating a futuristic ambiance that truly transported AT&T’s event-goers.
15. Iconic Influencers
Photo source: NVE Experience Agency
For the 2018 launch of Instagram’s IGTV, NVE Experience agency turned an empty San Francisco venue into eight separate “rooms” that represented eight iconic Instagram influencers. These influencers then used the new IGTV product to share the first video content from their designated spaces. NVE honed in on the attendee experience by creating a multi-space venue that doubled as shareable content for guests, thus helping the event reach over 1 billion viewers and guaranteeing more than 300 influencer attendees.
16. Paint a Story
Photo source: LEO Events
To celebrate 150 years of business, Sherwin-Williams wanted to present the history of their paint company—without boring attendees. To do that, LEO Events created a two-story digital “open book” as a stage backdrop. An actor playing co-founder, Henry Sherwin, then stepped out of the book and onto the stage to describe the beginnings of the company. The celebration also included a clock of oversized paint chips, a commissioned custom song called “We’ve Got a Story To Tell,” and virtual painters “painting” the Sherwin-Williams logo on-screen—all that served to engage the audience throughout the night.
17. Satisfy Your Soul
Photo source: On Board Experiential Marketing
To promote House of Marley headphones, On Board Experiential Marketing repurposed and customized the infamous, vintage Volkswagen vans on a “Satisfy Your Soul” Tour that targeted potential retailers and lifestyle events. Participants could partake in the experience by hanging out at the House of Marley mobile listening stations, developing their own Marley track, or supporting the One Love campaign developed to fund Little Kids Rock, an organization that helps underserved children receive music education. This smaller-scale event created a quality experience that reflected the relaxed vibe of the House of Marley brand while exhibiting the product and allowing participants to experience it at their convenience.
18. Jump for Joy
Photo source: Soho Experiential
Citibank invited New Yorkers to take a break from their busy schedules to re-experience a pure shot of childhood joy—by jumping into a ball pit in Times Square. Awards were doled out by ATM look-alikes called JOYTMs, which dispensed joy in the form of concert tickets, airline miles, and gift cards. This Soho Experiential event helped create a positive event brand experience with existing Citibank customers and potential customers alike.
19. Lights, Camera, Action!
Photo source: AOO Events
Although you’ve certainly heard of a Hollywood-themed event, Delta Airlines took it to the next level for its event with top marketing executives. Different areas of the Paramount Studios’ backlot were decked out according to the decade of notable movies and TV shows. They created a 50s Grease/Laverne and Shirley area with muscle cars and hamburgers; the 60s Austin Powers space had its very own Austin Powers and Dr. Evil, while the area was dedicated to The Godfather and the 70s was accompanied by gangsters and pizzas.
20. En Blanc Party
Photo source: IMPRINT
Diner en Blanc, which translates to “Dinner in White,” is a pop-up dinner event that was first made popular in Paris during the late 80s. The now-global trend served as inspiration for a conference welcome reception. Here, white linens and lanterns set the scene alongside living statues. Guests, naturally, were encouraged to wear white.
Pro tip: for those on a budget, this event is a cost-effective theme that makes use of the traditionally white tablecloths and chairs supplied by venues.
21. A Christmas Carol Celebration
Photo source: Bright Idea Events
It’s generally more inclusive to go with a general holiday theme for a company Christmas party, but Bright Ideas elevated the holiday theme for a corporate client by creating an event around the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. To do this, the event organizers built a European village inside a 20,000-square-foot venue with different areas thematically corresponding to the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.
22. A Kids Party for Adults
Photo source: Cow Events
Adults released their inner child at the 20th anniversary of consulting group Everis Global, where traditional kids’ activities were reinvented for adults. The party had walls of balloons, soap bubble rain, lasers, acrobat, and, of course, clowns.
23. Swimming in Ink
Photo by iDEKO Production
To promote Epson’s new EcoTank printers that come loaded with two years’ worth of ink, the iDEKO Production team developed the “Swimming in Ink” concept. The U.S. National Synchronized Swim Team performed in a 17,000-gallon tank in Times Square that was colored in the traditional ink colors of cyan, magenta, and yellow. As an attendee swag, guests could print photos of the event from EcoTank printers, which served to incorporate the new product as part of the overall experience.
24. Mini-Golf Pop-Up
Photo source: NYFF Events
Groupon customers got to play a whimsical round of mini golf at a pop-up in New York City. PGA pros, like Graeme McDowell, were there to chat with attendees, play a round of golf, and attendees even got a chance to attend an exclusive PGA dinner later that evening. This theme was particularly effective as the proceeds benefited a PGA charity.
25. New Age Made Newer
Photo source: The XD Agency
Cisco’s reveal of their Network Intuitive initiative wasn’t ’70s-style New Age — it was 21st century New Age with glowing spheres, laser beam choreography, and glowing medallions worn by attendees. It all took place in a 12,000-person in-the-round theater. Talk about a wow factor!
26. U.S. National Parks Turned Conference
27. Abstract Koi Pond Party
Photo source: Ultimate Ventures
You’ve probably never been to a koi pond-themed party, much less an abstract koi pond-themed party. This awards event for a luxury hotel chain skipped the on-the-nose theme and opted for atmosphere instead. With subtle Asian accents, flashes of color, and, naturally, koi fish imagery on ghost chairs the planners behind Ultimate Ventures created a simple event theme that allowed guests to focus on the real focus of the night—the hotel itself.
Wrapping Up: Your Corporate Event Themes
This list of corporate event themes is memorable, but it only begins to tap the surface of the possibilities you could employ for your next event. Begin to find the perfect theme by combining a few of the ideas executed above, making sure that your event theme aligns with your overarching event strategy. Consider the following takeaways:
- What is the purpose of this event? Celebrating a new product release? An internal holiday celebration? Increasing public brand awareness? Understand your motive for hosting your next corporate event and let that guide the theme and space that will be the best fit for you.
- Don’t restrict your event. Many of the most memorable events are centered around an experience—whether that means attendees get to try new headphones in a customized tour bus or participate in an interactive augmented reality maze. Make sure the theme you choose positively contributes you want to create.
As event planners, you also know that the theme is only the beginning. Consider upgrading your next event by employing an event management software that has the right features to help propel the success of your event—from branded event email invitations to execution to measuring the success of your event.