One of the best parts of my role at Staging Connections, Asia Pacific’s leading event services provider, is to be constantly at the forefront of live event technology trends. You know, those new and exciting embellishments that engage on different, unexpected levels, enriching brand experiences in ways that deliver long-lasting memories.
I’ve recently seen a real shift occurring in the event industry, leaning towards multi-sensory, interactive and tactile experiences that leave guests wanting more. The secret: to ignite your guests’ senses!
Sensory experiential events are a hot topic right now, and for good reason – they make guests more receptive to your key messages. Retailers have been employing this tactic for years, resulting in increased sales, reinforced branding and a heightened customer experience.
Martin Lindstrom, a well-known brand consultant and author, found that overall brand impact increased by a staggering 70 percent when three senses were integrated into communicating the brand message. From experience, event managers could be doing a better job of engaging the senses to make their events more effective.
Our brains naturally crave unique, multi-sensory experiences – here are some examples for inspiration on how to draw your guests in using sensual stimulation.
Open your eyes
First impressions count! Make your event environment visually appealing, thought-provoking and interactive. Add energy with captivating motion graphics, stunning lighting, precision projection and immersive styling. Technology now makes this so accessible and cost-effective. All, or even just one, technical element of your event can be amped up to create something spectacular.
Stage design can be reimagined with the likes of digital banners, widescreens, hexagonal panels, 2D or 3D Scenic Panels, or mega curved screens to project your message in an interesting, memorable way. As can Projection Mapping, displaying visual illusions directly onto venue walls, screens or even onto dining tables for all to enjoy. Imagine projecting your guests' names onto their place setting and then displaying the tasting notes of the evening’s wines directly onto the table for guests to peruse as they relish each course.
Motion Graphics create lively animated content for maximum impact. Motion Graphics can tell your brand story on a cinematic scale, enticing viewers and illustrating your messages to evoke emotion, enlighten and captivate.
Lighting and immersive styling work hand-in-hand to add those extra touches of elegance and enhance the level of detail, synchronising all of your visual elements. I have seen an exciting shift from 2D cookie-cutter styles to interactive, flexible, customised theming in event design. Lighting too has developed to become almost instinctual – LED lights, up-lighting, pin lighting, branded lighting (gobos), and kinetic lighting can all work together or as stand-alone special effects at your event.
Make some noise
Sound is crucial at an event – sound can move people to tears, make them shriek with laughter, or break out into dance. A well-planned event has clear speeches and powerful music amidst flawless transitions. Choose your sound effects wisely, ensure your messages are heard and consider where during the program your audience should laugh, sing, cry, applaud, or take a break.
To touch is to connect
Technology has never been more fun or accessible with ultra-responsive surfaces able to bring your message to life in real time. Live-polls, interactive presentations and touch screens, gesture control and event apps are great ways to make a real connection with attendees. Using these technologies provides increased engagement, instant feedback, enhanced learning opportunities, attendee analytics and delivers your content in an engaging and accessible way.
Tactile styling elements like props, furniture, table centrepieces, branded merchandise, games, or other physical objects are effective touch-tactics you can use to leave a lasting impression.
Have good taste
It’s a well-known fact that a lot of people attend events for the food. Don’t leave guests disappointed – style your menu to be a highlight of the occasion! Imaginative presentation, delectable smells and interesting ingredients can be an impactful way to enhance your theme. Think modern Australian for a global sales incentive, French cuisine for a chic masquerade ball, or Asian delights to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Delight your guests’ taste buds and they will be singing your praises long after the last dish has been cleared.
Show and smell
Scent is a powerful way to evoke emotion and trigger memories. Aromatherapy is a classic example of how smells can induce deep physical and emotional responses in us all.
Try some simple ambient scenting solutions like pungent floral displays or foliage, scented invitations, menus or room fragrances to enhance your theme. Incorporating aromatics can improve guests’ experience, overall ambience and expands memory recall of your special event.
Activated senses can trigger memory and emotion and, as forward-thinking event producers are discovering, can also inspire, excite and create a powerful platform for learning, engagement and information retention. We were given five senses – why not appeal to all of them? By strategically incorporating sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, your event will be that much more memorable and successful. Everyone will be begging to be on your invite list!
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