Last month, two of our designers – Nathalie Nelson and Jayna Champeau – attended the SEGD Exhibition and Experience Conference at the American Institute for Architecture in DC. They found some great similarities between the speakers’ suggestions for audience engagement in exhibitions and the way we approach design at Hargrove, particularly with our exhibits, events and experiential marketing projects.
Inspired by this conference, Jayna developed this list of the top three tips for brand identity and audience engagement to implement throughout your next exhibit, event or experiential marketing campaign:
- Think human first.
People want to experience a personal connection to your brand, and they want to share this experience with others. One speaker representing Coca-Cola, Craig Lovin, suggested treating your event or exhibit like a party, and your attendees like the party guests. Give each of your attendees a fun, unique and intriguing experience.
- Design the space to what best advances the “plot.”
Blend innovative designs with impactful messages, and tell your story, or your “plot,” as it best makes sense. How you design your space will greatly impact your messaging, so strongly consider how and where in your space your audience will interact with each key message. Martha Almy with Second Story stated, “Story doesn’t always need to be Dickens; it can be haiku.” Having a lot to say about a product or brand creates a wealth of content, but short, concise messages can be equally, and sometimes more, impactful.To ensure your brand messaging is on track with the objectives and emotions you want to elicit from your audiences, you should hold yearly discussions about your brand’s story and image. Another helpful tip for making sure your event space adds to your story’s plot is to create a list of or action statements at the beginning of the design process to help guide the design progression.
- Make the audience a protagonist.
Keeping your audience engaged is key to the success of your event or exhibit space. Know who your target audience is, and maintain engagement through thoughtful choices in display and multimedia. Currently, we’ve noticed that success in audience engagement has often occurred when you provide opportunities for your audience to interact directly with your brand or are given a voice in the experience. You want attendees to leave your event or exhibit feeling genuinely engage not just as fans, but as brand ambassadors.
What other tips do you have for exhibit and event engagement? Comment below!