• The One Thing Modern-Day Events Are Missing

    FROM THE Spring 2022 ISSUE
    Photo credit: Lee Kirgen, Haute

The logistics are flawless. The keynote speaker is epic and a crowd-pleaser. The evening networking event is really terrific with amazing cocktails, a great band and plenty of food. 

The content is spot on, and your company executives are happy with the flow and presentations. 

On the surface, your event is perfect. You’re implementing all the best practices. It’s (mostly) sustainable, you have a decent turnout, and everyone’s just as happy to be gathering again. 

Your sales team is eager to make follow-up calls over the next couple of weeks because your attendees seem to be happy leaving the event.

But something was missing, and you can’t quite put your finger on it. And when your sales team calls, there really isn’t much for your attendees to talk about. It was just like all the other events, and nothing really stood out. 

A Harvard Business School article “The Subconscious Mind of the Consumer (And How to Reach It),” featuring an interview with professor Gerald Zaltman, revealed that 95% of business decisions are made by the subconscious mind, meaning emotions drive choices. Unfortunately, it’s the part of events that we so often find absent. Aside from that epic keynote speaker, did you do enough to evoke the right emotions at your event to make it memorable and ensure that everyone would leave with a great story to tell? 

Study Identifies Five Emotions

As event professionals, Haute has always believed that to truly drive business, an event must elicit an emotional response and be anchored in conversation. That is why we set out to scientifically prove our theory of emotions last year.

We partnered with research firm Alla Breve to develop a year-long study about return on emotion (ROE) that was designed to identify exactly what emotions should be evoked to create an environment for business readiness. Turns out, there are five: hopeful, adventurous, active, accepted and motivated. 

A Blueprint for Experience

Armed with these findings, we began crafting our programs differently and embedding these emotions as a blueprint for the experience. It is best to plan programs with equal parts of these five emotions … think of it as 20% each. 

Once you have crafted and executed a program that evokes all five of these emotions, how do you measure success? It’s a simple five-question series to add into the post-event survey. 

Using a 10-point scale, ask participants how the experience made them feel regarding the five core emotions: hopeless to hopeful, hesitant to adventurous, rejected to accepted, passive to active, and uninspired to motivated. Then, average the score. Our research found the average scores of 8.6 or greater meant that participants were more likely to send business to others from the program. 

We’re excited to share our finding and even more excited to help planners put ROE into action in their programs and measure the impact. We’ll be speaking at the Meeting Professionals International Minnesota WeConnect event on May 5, as well as the SITE Midwest Forum in mid-June. 

Liz Lathan and Nicole Osibodu are the co-founders of The Community Factory, creating better belonging through small, transformational gatherings that activate, grow, and engage your community. They are also co-founders of Haute, a creative & experiential agency serving Fortune 1000 clients.

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