Post authored by Cynthia Hornketh, CMM, VP, Experience Design
How can you capitalize on the brief moments between major event crescendos to retain and enhance their attention? Here are four eye-catching ideas to consider:
A picture is worth a thousand words. While people remember up to 20% of the text they read, when you add images, impact and retention skyrockets. Approximately 65% of the population are visual learners. Keep in mind, the brain processes images simultaneously, while text must be processed sequentially. If you’re looking to boost event personalization, consider mapping learning paths by persona or interest to help guests connect to your event and then build their itineraries.
Infographics take visualization to the next level. More and more ‘authors’ are using eye-catching infographics to better convey their messages. Infographics are wired for rapid consumption, with more “sticky” stats and insight. Google Trends tracked search volume for the term “infographic(s)” over a two-year period and reported a whopping 800% increase. The chart at the right will help you grasp content design considerations. And this link provides ten free infographic PowerPoint templates to download.
2. Entertain and enlighten captive audiences
One of the most underutilized resources in our industry is the breakout room screen. Movie theaters have been onto this opportunity for years, using screens to convey important messages. Let’s do the same, but let’s apply filters to ensure what we communicate is hyper-relevant and appreciated by guests. Eye-catching messages run the gamut and depending on your objective, could change throughout the event. You may want to provoke thoughts and ideas that will be tackled in the next session. You might mention valuable sponsor giveaways, showcase an award winner, or highlight fun entertainment or relaxation they can briefly indulge in. Breakout screens are also an ideal option for saying Thank You and Goodbye to guests; a message we often overlook. Bottom-line: use this precious screen real estate wisely to enrich the guests every moment at your event.
3. Get creative with signage
Event guests spend a great deal of time moving from Point A to Point B. Sometimes they’re walking and reading their second screen. How can you get them to look up and notice the environment they’re in? Beyond adhering branding images on every surface imaginable, consider layering in a few novel messages that poke fun at the event experience. For example, for a long walkway between the hotel and conference sessions, you might have messages like these: “Bet you wish you packed your sneakers instead of those three-inch heels” or “Congratulations – you’ve just burned off enough calories to indulge at tonight’s fabulous reception!”
Years ago, digital signage was costly, but now it’s a more cost-effective and nimble way to change up messages to serve real-time guest wants and needs. But if digital’s not an option, foam core signs and easels work too. Content should be engaging and lock in on what’s top-of-mind for most guests at that moment. Messages can be pre-loaded to change at pre-determined intervals, with opportunities to add new messages on-the-fly for late-breaking updates.
4. Extend eye-catching to packaging
This idea came to me after watching a 10,000 person box lunch meal execute at one of our client events. It’s an adaptation from a childhood memory of reading the cereal box during breakfast. Every event guest grabbed a box and scattered to all corners of the convention center to find their preferred place to eat. We somewhat lost control of the environment in which they experienced their meal. Rather than put sponsor logos and such on the boxes – which is far better than doing nothing at all – let’s print stories on these containers. As the guests are eating the contents of the box, they can read something relevant to the experience you’ve designed for them.
Keep in mind, amazing eye-catching moments are also being captured by your event guests. Give them a platform to share these with others (e.g., Instagram, Flickr). Launch a contest to boost the quantity and quality of what’s being shared. This not only enhances the onsite guest experience. It gives others tuning into the hashtag feed a glimpse of what they’re missing and should tip more decisions to attend next time.