How can the senses affect attendee experience?
I’ve been working with the Corporate Services Team at Fern for about 9 years. My primary focus is connecting our Corporate Client’s products and services to event attendees in striking and impactful ways. I work within a tradeshow booth or event space, but have the ultimate goal of transforming an audiences’ experience as they walk through rows of tables and chairs. We reconstruct typically ordinary experiences and turn them into experiences that envelop the senses and create lasting impressions. Through senses like sight and smell, we are able to turn the seemingly uninspired into something worth remembering. Our senses play an important role in how we observe the world around us and shape how we perceive people and products, through everyday encounters. As Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Thus, by incorporating factors that engage the senses, we create moments that subconsciously travel with the attendees and stick with them always.
When starting a new project, we always begin with researching what products and services our client provides and then consult with them to discuss their specific goals for the tradeshow or event. After determining how they want to utilize their space, our designers create unique structures, visual elements, and graphics that fit within their budget, all the while keeping the attendee experience top of mind. Each visual on the event floor is a representation of the brand we aim to promote, as well as a tangible connection between a brand and the attendee’s experience.
From the attendee’s point of view, they should expect a seamless flow of relevant information while having an impactful and memorable experience. Sometimes the attendee is there to meet a new business connection or to find a new product or service. Whatever the reason they are attending, they should be able to achieve their goals easily while having the opportunity to be exposed to other opportunities available at the event. This can be done through sight, such as wayfinding signage and graphics, but also through the other senses. Whether the attendee noticed the various carpet types (touch) the music playing at a booth (sounds) or the scent of a particular booth (smell) everyone is subconsciously taking note of these stimuli and making judgment through their senses.
Our team is routinely studying new techniques to improve the attendee experience. We try to appeal to all the senses. Recently, we had a client who had two locations on the show floor, and wanted to connect the two locations for a seamless attendee experience. We did this by placing scent machines in each of the spaces, producing the same smell. This meant that the attendee could not only see they were in the right place, but also smell that they were in the right place. Using a scent machine and creating a space that is emotionally comforting is just one way to involve the senses in a non-traditional way at an event.
It can be a delicate balance to engage the attendee but not distract from the intended message. With careful attention to detail, and a great deal of collaboration, we are able to create noteworthy and prosperous outcomes. At Fern, we appreciate the challenges that comes with creating experiences that both promote our client and in the process engage the senses.
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