Emotional personalisation: Is business events ready?

By Olivia Kosasih on 08/08/2017

The business events industry has been known for its prowess in marrying creative venue design with the latest technology to create mind-blowing events.

While it certainly still works, many customers are demanding more personalised experiences. According to Deloitte’s Consumer Review report, “In all things digital, consumers have higher expectations: they want their interactions with businesses, products and services they buy from them to be personalised”. To top this off, one in five consumers expressing interest in personalised products or services are also willing to pay a 20 percent premium, according to Deloitte.

Personalisation has undoubtedly shifted the way marketers connect with their audience and is a thoroughly proven way for improving a company’s bottom line. But what does personalisation look like in the business events industry? And is the industry ready?

Inspiration by email - Asking attendees for their inspiring thoughts, images and ideas can be a way to give an event the personal touch. It is perfect to use digital displays and venue display walls showcasing the results.

Personal anecdotes - To ask delegates for personal anecdotes prior to events can make them feel valued. The recipe is to ask relevant questions related to the event’s nature. Emotional connections can be heightened by common questions such as “When I was growing up, I wanted to be…” or “The greatest triumphs in my life are… ”, giving delegates a sense of being subject to personal attention. These anecdotes can then be woven into their journey throughout the event.

Event apps - Event apps are especially useful for capturing delegates’ digital footprints. Based on these, delegates can be given bespoke event itineraries and networking opportunities to match.

Wearable biometric tech - At Pepsi’s Bioreactive concert, music fans were given biometric wristbands which measured their bodies’ temperature and motion levels. The data allowed Pepsi to gauge their reactions in real-time to the DJ’s playlist and make adjustments as needed. The more excited the crowd became, the more surprise-and-delight moments they unlocked.

Measurement matters

The above examples show varying degrees of emotional personalisation in action. However, emotional personalisation won’t work if we are unable to measure it. So how does one measure emotions?

Cognitive artificial intelligence (AI)

Cognitive AI has been used to track human emotions in real time through facial expression reading. Powered by intelligence analytics, cognitive services and machine learning, this technology is able to analyse emotion flow.

While cognitive AI is yet to be implemented in the business events industry as an emotional tracking/measurement tool, studies have shown that the technology has helped the retail sector improve in-store experiences. A 30 percent increase in repeat purchases was recorded as a result.

From an event organiser’s perspective, two foreseeable benefits of this technology are the ability to detect and address event issues in real time.

Nevertheless, one must err on the side of caution when using cognitive AI, as the insights it provides can be misleading. For instance, a negative facial expression detected during a banquet dinner could easily be interpreted either as a poor service experience or poor range of available cuisines. Additional variables such as environment stimuli must be used to supplement the AI’s insights.

Other metrics

Harder metrics such as lead generations and sales volumes will still play an important role in measuring events’ outcomes against their stated objectives.

In closing, I’d like leave a question: As an industry, do you think we are ready to embrace emotional personalisation in our events?

Olivia Kosasih is Senior Manager, Digital Marketing Strategy at Epicentro, a member of the Pico Group. As an experienced marketing strategist specialising in digital and loyalty marketing, Kosasih is known as a ‘why behind the how’ strategist to many of her clients.

Her skills in incisively distilling customer insights through analytics combined with her knowledge of customer experience design have allowed her clients to build brand loyalty. After entering the business events industry, Olivia has relentlessly contributed to developing and strengthening customers' emotional engagement through personalisation technologies and emotional branding, particularly in the field of events.


Article code: 4135

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