Incorporate the five senses to engage your audience
In the beauty industry, there are no shortages of events or opportunities to pull people together. We want everyone excited and buzzing about our latest product, campaign or big idea ready to come to market. There are literally dozens of marketing and sales events presented daily in our industry! So, if practice makes perfect, and we are clearly practicing up a storm, why are we still missing the mark on delivering a fantastic event?
After fifteen years of staging conferences, product launches, campaign roll-outs, press junkets, and training seminars, I can assure you success comes down to one basic principle – IT’S ABOUT THE AUDIENCE. This may seem obvious and simple, but what is often missed is that since each event will attract a different cast of characters, each needs to be unique and specific. There is no one size fits all here, and so it can seem an impossible and un-scalable proposition!
The good news is you can apply the same basic principles to each event and gain efficiency. If you focus on five key elements to delight and entice your audience you will be able to deliver a kick-ass event that doesn’t strain your talent or resources. Once the basics are down, you can then get creative with the details. After all, since you spend a small fortune on events, not to mention you and your team’s time, don’t you want your attendees to remember them?
One of the best practices in hosting an event focused on your audience is to incorporate all five senses. Everyone can get information or details from their mini-computer always attached to their hand. If you were just going to impart information, they could have and should have stayed home. The thing is, they dragged themselves all the way to you, so engage them fully. Consider the whole experience you are trying to convey and pull each aspect through all the senses.
What does your room look like when they enter? Do they know clearly what brand they are there to see? Does the décor carry through the visual theme? Does it match the space you are in? Let’s say you are launching a brand-new eye cream for a science-based skin care company. Does your room speak to the aesthetics of that brand? If it doesn’t, find a different space!
What does it smell like? Florals and diffusers are a great way to introduce a signature fragrance to a space. Olfactory is also one of the best ways to trigger memories. Having a great-smelling space will help ensure your event stays with everyone long after the final champagne glass is emptied.
Music is an obvious necessity at any event, but it is shocking how often it isn’t maximized. You want to use music to change the mood, tempo and even highlight different aspects of your time together. Think about the whole experience from the moment guests arrive until they leave. Is the music calm and light during the welcome to bring them into the space? Will you be leading them into a different room for presentations and do you need loud and energetic rhythms to stir the energy before the speaker comes out?
There should never be dead airspace. If you have more than one presenter or are moving to a different space or activity in the agenda, use music to denote the shift. Change it up when presenters walk on stage (they will thank you for having something else for people to clap for), or when you want people to move to the next space. Once you start using music as your unofficial usher, you will become very attuned to how others completely miss the opportunity.
This is a fun sense to pay attention to. Make sure you have tasty nibbles that compliment your theme and event. Food is a great option for pairing and enhancing your product, message or theme. Create a menu that serves the event theme and audience instead of choosing your favorite items. A helpful tip on menu selection is to consider the guests. Do you have options for everyone? Vegetarian, fish, meat, halal as examples. Do you have many attendees from a specific culture where having an option for them is important?
Food and drinks are fun because they can be selected based on smell, color, and emotion. If you have a new cosmetic launch and it is very color focused, select edibles that pull in that quality. Create the whole experience not simply through what they see when they look at the tasty temptations but also through combining what they see with what they taste. Have a unique key ingredient? Let that play through your menu.
Finally, I have saved the hardest sense for last. Touch can be tough. Samples, trial or testing areas make it easier to engage the touch sense. However, every event should be examined and coordinated for touch. What are your attendees sitting on, for how long? Where are they standing, do they have a spot to place their drink or plate? Touch extends to the whole experience, so put yourself in your guests’ shoes and ask yourself, will they be comfortable? Does the layout and how they will be sitting or standing make sense for the message you are communicating?
Another way to think about touch, is emotional. What touches on your attendees’ emotions? Can you make it more jovial and fun, make them laugh more? Is it more serious and therefore you want them to feel how important the subject matter is? Using key images, words and music to convey your message so that the audience feels the emotion, will not only resonate, but drive your point home.
Get creative because in the end, if you incorporate all five senses with a bit of ingenuity and detail, people will be delighted and buzzing about your memorable event!