Using the Power of Shared Moments to Create Belief and Connection

It was just a few weeks after 9/11, and I was on my first flight in months. I was a new mom with a baby at home, and I was NERVOUS. The flight went smoothly and I had started to relax a little, but I was still alert – all my senses were working overtime. We came in for the landing, I braced myself for that slight moment of impact, but instead, I felt the engines kick into high gear as we immediately lifted back up in what felt like straight into the sky.

For a quick moment, everyone on the plane panicked. I didn’t know what had happened, but at that moment I was pretty sure something had gone terribly wrong. The next thing I heard was the pilot’s voice over the speaker, calm and collected, “Well folks, I just didn’t like the looks of that landing, so we’re going to go up and around to do it again. Everybody take a deep breath, it’s all OK.”

You could feel all the passengers relax. And in that moment, I no longer believed we were in the midst of a catastrophe. Because of the experience that pilot created, I relaxed, I breathed, and my belief changed.

What’s the Importance of Belief?

People act out of their beliefs – and in that case, belief helped keep the passengers calm and in their seats, so it was pretty important.

But belief isn’t always about life or death. It more frequently affects our everyday lives. It affects our decision to work for a certain company, or to engage with a social cause, or to purchase a particular brand.

Each one of us has the ability to change people’s beliefs, and one very effective way to do that is through the power of shared experiences. Belief through experience simply means using the power of a shared experience to enhance or change someone’s beliefs or behaviors.

At CPG Agency, our clients typically need to affect the beliefs or behaviors of their people. It could be motivating a group of store managers to follow new in-store procedures or demonstrating to franchisees that company leadership has their best interests in mind. Outcomes can range from increased revenue to greater employee retention.

What Affects Belief?

Our beliefs are part of who we are. So how does a belief take root? They are typically grounded in four elements:

  • Social construct – it’s generally accepted
  • Logic – it makes sense
  • Emotion – it excites, scares or amuses you
  • Evidence – you can see the proof

A well-designed experience can tap into all four of these. But first, you have to know what beliefs or behaviors you’re trying to enhance or change. It’s critical to have a strategic understanding of “why” you want to affect the beliefs of your organization, your brand, your team or your customers. It informs the foundational elements of designing every experience and communication touchpoint.

How to Affect Belief?

Establishing a meaningful connection with your people is the next key step in the journey to affecting beliefs. In order for them to accept and really hear your message, you have to get real. And when I say get real, I don’t mean lip service. Engagement is, and always has been, based on basic human needs. It’s leaning into and acting upon the following:

  • We have mutual trust
  • You listen to me and we have open communication
  • You genuinely care about me
  • You appreciate me
  • We share a meaningful purpose

Nothing is neutral; every experience says something or makes some kind of emotional impression. Intentionally designing touchpoints to demonstrate these five keys throughout a meeting or event can have profound effects. Establishing open communication, personalizing small surprise-and-delight moments, welcoming new ideas for innovation and demonstrating vulnerability all lead to higher engagement and a higher rate of success that your messages will be received and believed.

Putting it All Together

Shared experiences can be powerful inflection points in a person’s journey. When your people believe in your purpose, are passionate about your brand and are engaged in what they do at an emotional level, magic happens. It is more than motivation and goes deeper than job satisfaction. It’s about capturing hearts as well as heads.

In this post-pandemic economy where finding and retaining the right talent is tougher than ever, the companies that succeed will recognize the direct line between engaged people, increased productivity and business performance. Because emotionally engaged audiences make high-performing workgroups and successful teams.

As we say here at CPG Agency, we create belief to power positive change. That’s belief through experience. If you want to learn more, or simply hear some stories about what we’ve done to help brands engage their people, let’s talk.

As president, Reus oversees the agency’s experience offerings. A 30-year veteran of the communications and events industry, Reus is passionate about using strategic content to create “belief through experience,” and brings that same passion to her leadership of the agency. As a producer, Reus created large-scale corporate events. Her expertise encompasses experience design and strategy, content creation, audience engagement, and technical support.