The 300 conferences and events we do each year range in size, scope and purpose. We pride ourselves on our ability to design, produce and orchestrate audience experiences that help create and sustain their emotional connections to any business, university, organization and within the audience itself.
Most conferences have similar ingredients that usually include “state of” remarks, recognition, product/program introductions and training. Often, they are designed for short term impact to achieve specific goals within a designated period of time. But don’t forget that tremendous value exists in developing longer term objectives to be achieved through conferences and events.
Chief among those long-term objectives is attracting and retaining talent, customers and raving fans. We’re passionate about designing and orchestrating experiences that bring people together in spirit and vision to achieve a greater purpose.
Well-designed event themes, logos and overall graphics packages provide consistent tone, message and brand, and serve as the foundation for unifying messages and experiences at a conference or event.
In addition to the basics, pre-event marketing and registration websites should highlight and promote a sense of community among attendees using photos, videos and testimonials from previous attendees.
Conferences and events provide an opportunity to build long-lasting loyalty that cannot be achieved through any other medium. We strive to take full advantage of that opportunity to create shared experiences that turn moments to memories, and memories into lasting emotional connections.
An obvious place at a conference where this can occur is the general session, where a rousing opening experience can elicit emotional responses that set a positive tone for the remainder of the event. Adding entertainment and keynote speakers often incorporates unifying moments of audience participation that help illustrate the power of being a part of something bigger when everyone contributes, even in small ways. And of course, a message from the CEO or other leader has the ability to define and celebrate the culture, while applauding those who embody it as an example to follow.
Well-designed audio-visual support can help drive these messages home and help the audience feel more engaged and connected. Crystal clear sound, lighting designed to elicit specific responses, graphics that go beyond words and bullets and production design that connects with and wows the audience are all essential elements that bring these messages to life for greater impact. This includes using delay screens and satellite stages to bring the action and messages to areas of the audience further from the main stage. We’ve seen plenty of sessions where seats in front of the delay screens are among the most desirable.
Opportunities to build emotional connections exist outside of the general session as well. We work with our clients to design and build interactive spaces throughout a conference or event that allow audiences to participate in different ways. Theme-based photo stations bring people together, create memories and provide a tangible reminder of the people and the experience. Attendees can share their experiences and aspirations by writing on banners, walls and other surfaces placed within the event space. We’ve also had success incorporating video booths into the space, where attendees can sit down in front of a camera and share their insights and goals based on the theme, messaging and desired outcomes for the event. Raw footage is then edited for playback later during the conference. This provides more voices to underscore and humanize the message.
The end of a conference is really the beginning of message implementation and community-building. It’s relatively easy to have your audience buzzing during a conference. Sustaining that feeling over a longer period is a bigger challenge and it’s one potentially with a bigger reward. Always include the audience in post-event communications. Send them a link to a post-event site that includes photos, video highlights and attendee testimonials that show emotion, promote community and support the brand. Use those connections and touch points to promote the next event as well as to continuously remind attendees, and those not able to attend, why taking part in person will bring success throughout the year.
Creating lasting emotional bonds is crucial in ensuring a positive future – short and long term — for any type of organization. Conferences and events provide a unique opportunity to make memories that lead to meaningful connections and a stronger organization. Our proven ability to design and orchestrate shared experiences brings organizations together to help them grow for the future. To see case studies showcasing how we support messaging to create emotional bonds, please click here.