Emotion is (and always will be) the key to maximizing ROI.
The difference between business success and extinction isn’t simply having a good idea or product. It’s having people – not consumers – who are passionate about your brand and engaged with it at an emotional level.
People give their best because they really want to; it’s about capturing hearts as well as minds. And there’s no better way to emotionally connect with your people than live events. Producing a strategic, engaging experience can deliver meaningful results and leverage your return on investment.
Here are just a few key methods for achieving those results:
Whether your event is for 300 or 3,000, it’s important to strategically plan the entirety of the attendee journey. Thinking strategically vs. tactically will result in a connection on a firmer and more lasting basis.
Begin by setting clear objectives. What exactly do you want your audience to walk away with?
Many times communication or motivation is the ultimate goal, but often there are other just as important objectives. Determine the key messages early and focus on engaging your audience throughout the conference to keep the energy at a level that’s consistent with your strategic plan.
Successful companies will tell you that some of the most effective marketing and communication they do is internal. An audience is more likely to be receptive to a meeting’s content, to believe it and remember it when they are emotionally engaged.
Offering engaging, as opposed to passive, elements throughout your meeting will result in higher energy and a stronger connection. A large business meeting or convention is, in many ways, a theatrical experience. It must be approached, from a design standpoint, to not only deliver the appropriate content, but maximize the engagement…
A great meeting involves two-way dialogue, collaboration and genuine interactivity. Offering interactive elements throughout the event allows your audience to address common challenges, feel involved and offer an unscripted dynamic. Interactive elements can be as simple as Q&A panels or live audience polling.
It’s difficult to build any sense of loyalty and respect if your audience isn’t convinced what they’re viewing is authentic. Interview your own people across a broad demographic and use real stories to communicate success and how they’ve overcome common challenges. Testimonials are an important element to developing authentic emotion.
Humor is an age-old and universal method to connect with people. It’s a great way to break the ice, tell a story and engage. The use of comedians, spoof videos, improv groups, etc. are all timeless ways to connect.
Video is a key component to any meeting. It’s not just a break from the ordinary, it’s truly a way to use a variety of elements (music, imagery, animation) to inject a specific emotion, effectively deliver a message and provide a rhythmic structure. Just as important is production quality – think about the last time you saw a poorly produced video, it can be counterproductive.
Tell a Story
The best way to connect with people is to remember they are just that – people. Sounds like a no brainer, but this is one of the toughest feats to successfully accomplish.
Turning information into stories that everyone can comprehend and emotionally relate to is a powerful occurrence, one that influences belief, motivates change and inspires people to act (think about your favorite TED talk).
Executive presentations communicate a message, but do they tell a story? Do they offer an engaging story of compelling characters, a motivating plot and act as an agent of change?
Create a Brand Experience
Your brand is what your key stakeholders and end consumers view as your external identity and ultimately relate to. Effectively understanding your brand means understanding the message and experience you want to deliver that’s in alignment with your culture and strategic vision.
Creating a brand experience is an important element to effectively drive home the messaging and emotional engagement to your audience. The meeting’s theme, identity, marketing, experiential strategy, guest speakers, scenic design, entertainment, videos and digital presence all reflect the brand and contribute to a memorable brand experience.
Extending the Message
A crucial element to business meetings is keeping the engagement going after the event is over. Post-event communication is critical to sustaining the momentum created at the conference.
While it’s impossible to achieve the energy levels reached at the event, touchpoints following the meeting contribute to leveraging your return on investment. Effectiveness is greatly increased through targeted, relevant messaging used before and after the event across a variety of mediums.
Bringing it All Together
We compete in a crowded, emotion-driven economy. People are naturally predisposed to make decisions based on their level of emotional engagement. It is the key to productivity and sustainable profitability, because an emotionally engaged audience produces exceptional outcomes.
Successful organizations understand that an integrated strategy produces the greatest ROI, and having your live events as part of that integration with a strategic, emotionally engaged focus is investing in one of your most important assets – your people.