Everyone seems to be talking about the emotional transaction associated with events at the moment. Though I’ll bet if you were to ask most people how they make decisions the majority will tell you “logic”! 

I’ve taken the time to read up a bit more on this recently and what I’ve discovered is that it’s our emotions that are responsible for just about every decision we make and not just at the events we attend. We may kid ourselves that we are more rational than we actually are but logic simply drives our thought, it’s our emotions that drive our actions.

Apologies for the cliché but to explain this as simply as possible let’s consider this in regards to the purchase of a new bag. In most cases you will have thought about purchasing a new bag because you need one, logic, and it’s after establishing this need that you then make a decision on the bag you will purchase, most likely based on the fact it’s nice and makes you look and feel good, emotion!

With a throwback to my sales days, sales expert Geoffrey James wrote in an article back in 2012 that all buying decisions stem from interplay of the following six emotions:

  • Greed. “If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded.”
  • Fear. “If I don’t make a decision now, I’m toast.”
  • Altruism. “If I make a decision now, I will help others.”
  • Envy. “If I don’t make a decision now, my competition will win.”
  • Pride. “If I make a decision now, I will look smart.”
  • Shame. “If I don’t make a decision now, I will look stupid.”

Therefore as a sales manager if your presentation or pitch doesn’t hit an emotional high note then the chances are you’re not going to make that sale. The same then can be said about your event, however, which emotion you should focus on really depends on the individual and their personality.

As an event manager looking to design more engaging content at your event, you need to find out the reasons your audience are attending your event, and though they may not admit it at first these reasons are mostly driven by personal motivators or emotions. By uncovering these reasons you can create, as Mike van der Vijver of MindMeeting calls it, hot and sticky content that is guaranteed to make an impact, encourage debate and arouse their curiosity enhancing the event experience.

According to Velvet Chainsaw’s Jeff Hurt, as an event marketer you need to build an emotional connection with your potential audience by focusing your communications around the ‘why’ you are holding an event rather than the ‘what’ of your event. Whilst the ‘what’, the end product, is important it’s the ‘why’ that’s most important for creating an emotional connection.

And finally as a potential event sponsor you can harness the above to emotionally tie your product and service to a target market whilst they are feeling excited, passionate, enthusiastic, empowered, whatever emotion the event is driving in them. Another name for this – passion branding, harnessing the power of emotions to build strong brands and the very reason that more and more companies are now adopting event sponsorship as part of their integrated marketing strategies.

To add to the above Geoffrey James also states that if you’re going to tap into the emotions that drive decision-making, you also need to know not just the audience’s current emotional state, but the values and beliefs they use to evaluate the emotional weight of anything that you might present to them.

And that means research! The more thoroughly you research your audience, the more likely you’ll be able to understand this. So ensure you ask the ‘why’ question when they register, use event technologies and social media to ask questions around their ‘values and beliefs’ during the event, and then follow up and evaluate with more questions after the event.

They say information is key but what’s really important is the emotional effect that this information will have on your audience.

So here’s to plenty of heart pumping and chest puffing at your future events #Eventprofs, until next time…