What are the most memorable experiences of your life? A wedding, a concert, perhaps a moment where you connected deeply with someone? Why do you remember these events so well, as though you could close your eyes and be there again right now?
The colors, the fine details, the sounds and smells of every moment of that crucial event might be available to your memory banks, but you can't remember driving home from work today. Ask yourself why.
The difference is emotion. That is the key to crafting a message that you can be sure will be heard, understood and remembered. Today, information overload is more than a theory, it's a real ailment. According to the Direct Marketing Association, each and every day last year there were:
354 billion emails exchanged
1 billion Facebook postings
400 million tweets sent
Consider how powerful your message has to be in order to secure emotional engagement in that sea of communication. Despite all the noise and distractions, one well-crafted message can be far more effective than a series of high-tech, highly customized campaigns. To put it succinctly: An ounce of emotion is worth a pound of email.
In order to turn simple event marketing into an unforgettable experience, try these four techniques that are designed to strike an emotional chord within your brand community:
1. Tell stories. Experience marketing means telling stories that matter, that are relatable and that show the benefits or challenges in emotional terms. Starting with your very first communication, begin to carve out a story. Share various chapters or snippets of your story in social media. Consider how bold visuals, locations and food choices affect your story.
2. Build community. Amazing things happen when you bring people together. The exchange of ideas, learning and mentoring empowers people. And the more of their ideas you incorporate into your event and share, the more people "lean forward," personally invest and feel like valued contributors. It has a ripple effect! Allow your audience to contribute to something beautiful, fun or unique on-site to create a crowd-sourced monument to your event.
3. Be bigger than your brand. People are naturally inspired by those who are making the world a better place. Be visionary. Show how your product or service helps change or enhance the lives of people in meaningful ways.
4. Create engaging experiences. Music, sports and food all elicit strong memories and even stronger emotions. We are wired to share the things we love and the moments that move us. Jolt the connection with a surprising or memorable moment that people can experience together. They will always remember where they were (at your event!) when it happened.
Information is something that can be delivered via email, but live events are an experience that can connect hearts and minds. Sweeping an audience into your passion and sharing emotions makes the message resonate long after the event is past. It's really about creating community. There is a magic that happens when a group is brought together for a common purpose and an emotional connection has been made. You can feel it. And that's precisely what it's all about -- making an audience feel. And when they do, it will remain with them forever.
Chris Cavanaugh is president of FreemanXP, a boutique experience marketing agency within Freeman.