Author: Michael Guillory, VP, Marketing & Communications
If there is anything we learned about COVID is that it has reinforced the importance of mental health. Leave it to a global pandemic to challenge us to keep a positive attitude and focus on a bright future.
It’s not easy to have a “glass-is-half-full” mindset when there is so much negativity in the world.
This is why it is so critical to architect positive, emotional experiences when it comes to live events.
Walt Disney understood this long ago when he imagined a place where people could be surrounded with positive experiences so that they were transported to the “happiest place on earth.”
This brings me to my top 3 things you should include in your events to drive a happy state of mind for your attendees that will make a real difference.
ONE: Include positive, emotional experiences.
All too often, I have seen branded “selfie props” at events that encourage attendees to take a selfie and post it on the event’s social media platforms. These usually include a logo of the event or a branded prop that can be viewed as self-serving. In the age of digital personalization, think about how impactful that selfie could be for attendees if they were able to create a digital backdrop that they custom-designed to represent their experiences at the event. Attendees could use a digital interface to select a range of emojis or graphics that tell a story of the attendee’s experience. Their custom experience could then be displayed on a projection backdrop ready to serve the perfect, personalized representation of their event journey. Furthermore, event branding can still be cleverly incorporated within the customized backdrop to offer expanded brand reach. It’s unique, it shows emotion, and it offers an opportunity for attendees to share positive experiences resulting from your event. What a difference.
TWO: Recognize what personally motivates your member community and deliver them front and center.
Nearly every event is designed to bring like-minded or professionally affiliated people together to network and learn. The best events offer experiences that tug at the heartstrings of their attendees and motivate them to be better. I am reminded of an example of a recent conference I attended… the show planners knew how much the community meant to their attendees. As a result, a community-based service experience was available in which attendees could assemble basic gift bags for families in need during the event and a local charity ensured they were delivered to help under-served members of the community. It was a simple gesture, but it helped to make attendees feel GOOD and motivated them to participate in something they truly cared about. What a difference.
THREE: Surprise and delight with something that everyone will talk about.
It’s hard to do the unexpected, especially in an age where people have practically seen it all. Investing in an unexpected moment, can help elevate your event and get people talking. For example, imagine walking down an isle during a typical tradeshow and stumbling across a famous comedian simply telling jokes to a crowd in the isle. No announcements, no scheduled appearance, no “hints” about a special surprise. The famous comedian simply appears and starts making people laugh. In minutes, there will be social posts blasted with pics and videos from your event along with comments of surprise and delight. Sure, hiring a famous comedian to give a 45-minute impromptu performance on your show floor will cost some real money, but it will also deliver a surprise that people will NEVER forget and offer a moment of delight to your show that will talked about well beyond the walls of your event. What a difference.
I realize these examples may or may not be possible for your event. But the spirit of them can definitely be imagined through brainstorming, creative thinking and deliberate goals to ensure the community members of your event have a positive experience.
Walt Disney was once quoted as saying… “That’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with Imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.”
Let’s take 2022 as an opportunity to instill hope again and help your event attendees have a positive state of mind through personal, memorable experiences with your brand. You just might help accelerate positive thinking and a “glass-is-half-full” future.