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Taking a Theme to the Next Level

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Today’s consumers desire fast-paced communications and connectivity, along with a sense that your product or service is something of excellent value. Not only are your clients looking for that special kind of experience, but your staff and faculty are as well. Each person who steps foot in the building, picks up the phone, or logs in to their online portal is looking to become part of something special. It is of utmost importance to provide them with more than they could have imagined. So how does your business stand out and create an engaging connection with everyone?

Your recital, winter performances, and other productions are opportunities; consider all of the extra touches, additional time, effort, and love that you pour into each event. Now think about how much more of an impact those extra touches could make over the length of the season if you implement an overarching theme for the year! It’s not about spending more—it’s not about flashing lights and confetti cannons—it’s about creating a themed experience that is consistent each season, yet with fun surprises around every corner.

There is freedom and excitement in creating a theme for the full seasonor calendar year. Although it may seem like “more to do” when the announcement is first made to staff, getting your team creative around a theme will bring joy into the hearts and minds of all involved and give your students a boost of fun.

Time for a Coffee Date … With Yourself

This is a job for either you and your cup of coffee, or you and your right-hand person. It’s a series of brainstorming sessions where your creative mind can take off! Set a timer for 10-30 minutes and go: Start with 15 minutes and scroll through Pinterest, pinning ideas to an inspiration board. Then start another 15 minutes and make a Spotify or Apple Music playlist of songs that make you want to get up and groove. Keep going with these timed intervals to research popular movies, TV shows, and characters for all ages that coordinate. Also spend time looking through your favorite costume company’s pictures. Are you catching the theme? Are you finding a motif? The idea is to spend a set amount of time jamming out tons of ideas for your theme.

If you’re a visionary, be warned: Hold yourself accountable to the timers you’re setting for each inspiration search. These idea sessions can easily lead into a rabbit hole. You don’t want to start with a circus theme and end up researching how to rent elephants for your open house!

Now Row the Boat Together

After you’ve chosen a theme, it’s time to decide how you’re going to unveil it, not only to your studio families, but your staff as well. Again, it’s not about the extra expense, it’s the extra experience!

Consider revealing the theme at a key staff meeting, such as your team kickoff for the season or the new year. You could do the unveiling by playing a game, through a team bonding exercise, with the decorations in the room and the snacks being served, or with a small gift. Get creative and get them into it! The more your team is invested and interested, the smoother the theme will go. Remind them that a theme is useful because:

It keeps the season fresh.

Everyone on the team can be extra creative.

You get to use inviting and fun verbiage for emails, texts, and other communication.

Teachers can keep their tried and true lesson plans, but give them new life within the theme.

Music playlists can get refreshed to follow the theme.

Above all else, it can provide that special experience clients are looking for and, in turn, increase retention!

Unveil the Magic to Your Community

So you have your blue sky theme idea. Your staff is on board and linking arms. It’s time to unveil the magic to the studio community. You’ll want to decide when and how you’re going to do your big reveal. Be sure to stick to a schedule! Find the right time to start your sneak peeks and hints, leading up to the unveiling of the theme. Once you find the right flow, stick to it year over year for normalcy and retention with your families.

Be sure to schedule and plan your wow moments throughout the year. Remember, it’s about the experience! Take your ideas for unveiling the theme and put them on a specific timeline.

Here are some ways to "wow" with your theme:

Use teasers leading up to your theme reveal

Create a themed “high-five”card design (recognition cards or postcards for students)

Create a themed birthday card design

Offer themed apparel and studio swag

Create themed weeks throughout the season

Use marketing, promotions, and social media posts with themed    branding

Display themed decor inside your building

Use themed email signatures

Add phrases or “taglines” to your studio communications

A Note About the Marketing Perspective

Themed marketing allows your studio to be seen and known as the place that goes the extra mile inside and outside of the classroom. In your marketing campaigns, think about using themed images, hashtags, contests, and taglines. Keep your verbiage full of thematic wording. For example, let’s say you’re using “magic” as a theme:  All staff could be signing their emails with “Thank you and have a magical day!” or “We can’t wait for you to join the magic!” or “Thank you for being a magic maker!”

No matter if your studio is in year one or year fifty, it’s never too late to pivot into a full-blown studio-wide theme. Remember that the experience you’re creating is something your clients will deeply value. Use the attached worksheet for a kick-start into your next round of inspiration!

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