Once upon a time, an event was a logistical, methodical experience. You arrived at a venue, were given a drink, sat at a table, ate some food, listened to someone speak, ate some more food. Went home.
Not overly inspiring, really. And certainly not an experience that would change a person’s behaviour, make them think and act differently, or connect to a brand or product.
So what changed? Event producers looked into the psychology of events and recognised an immersive event experience was a fast and reliable way to change human behaviour and have the audience connect to a particular brand.
We’re so busy and distracted these days, living in a state of flux. When an event manages to evoke an emotional reaction through humanising the experience (getting below the surface of our ‘busyness’) that’s when behaviour will change. When an individual connects the positive state of being they are in with your brand or product, that will give you a deeper connection.
So how do immersive experiences connect your brand to your audience?
Through Activating the Five Senses
What tells somebody’s brain and heart they are feeling good? The five senses. When sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste are activated in an event environment, emotions are heightened.
Do this through the styling of a room, music, entertainment or soundscape choices, food and drink options, and giving audiences the chance to touch and feel the product.
By making memories
Think about the first concert you went to. You might not remember where it was or if you bought a t-shirt or what songs they sang. But you will remember how being at that concert made you feel – the elation, the excitement. Positive emotions turn into strong memories. If you can connect a positive memory to your brand for an individual, every time they see your product or experience your brand in some way, that warm, fuzzy feeling will appear connecting your brand to their feel good factor.
Via managing people’s behaviour
Be bold and tell people how they are going to feel at your event. Disneyland’s tagline is ‘The happiest place on earth’. It’s a person’s expectation that when they go to Disneyland, they’ll be happy. That’s WHY they go. It’s surprising how easily led us humans can be! A haunted house runs along the same theory. Apply the same concept to your event to manage expectations and behaviour.
Through the art of storytelling
Creating a story in and around the entire event or experience resonates deeply with individuals as they become part of the story. Theme parks have been doing this with huge success for years. Line up for a ride and you’re immersed in the theme of the ride through décor and background audio. Placing audiences within a storyline will create strong emotional responses. Senses are heightened, emotions are activated, memories are created and ultimately linked to your brand.
Becoming a way of life
Authentic, immersive experiences link to becoming a way of life for people. Brands such as Apple and Nike are strong because individuals resonate with their brand values and how interacting with their products make them feel. When people wear Nike, they feel active and brave and ready to ‘just do it’. This becomes their way of thinking. Look at how loyal Apple users are to their brand (Apple vs PC). The fact that they only purchase Apple products has simply become a way of life for them. No question.
The emotional aspects of the mind impact how we make decisions. Feelings and emotional resonance are the most powerful aspects of brand-building. The moment you tap into that through immersive and experiential events is the moment your brand becomes connected to your audience, and changes consumer behaviour.
We have been producing immersive experiences for our clients for more than 10 years. See more of the event experiences here.