360 Live Media
360 Live Media is an event strategy and digital marketing agency in Washington, D.C. serving association, professional society, and not-for-profit conferences.

An Appeal to Your Senses

A couple of weeks ago, while helping man the 360 Live Media 4D Experiential Booth at ASAE’s Xperience Design Project (XDP), I had the pleasure of meeting with dozens of event planners and association professionals from organizations large and small across the nation. In the course of our discussions—usually while extracting blocks from our 4-foot-tall Jenga tower with the care and precision of a neurosurgeon—a common theme emerged: How to make your marketing dollars do more for less.


Now, it’s quite possible that became such a popular topic because it just so happened to also be the theme of our 4D Experiential Booth. It was designed with an eye toward affordability, proving that something doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective.


Case in point: take this Instagram animation for instance (converted into a GIF for easier viewing). It’s something I threw together during a break between assignments to show you a clever way you can promote your event that won’t cost you anything more than your time. It takes advantage of Instagram’s touch feature that advances you through its photo collections one photo at a time every time you tap the screen of your smart phone. Much like the flip-book animations you may have made as a kid, you can pull off a similar effect on Instagram by simply creating an image and then moving elements within it just a smidgeon and then snapping another image. Repeat this procedure until you’ve created an animation of suitable length to get your message across. Gatorade used the same technique in creating this Instagram tribute to sprinter and world-record holder Usain Bolt.


Now, obviously, Gatorade poured quite a bit of moolah into their production, but as 360 Live Media’s 4D Experiential Booth at XDP demonstrated, by no means are big dollars required for your event marketing to be engaging.


The booth was designed with five stations, one for each of your senses: smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight, the purpose being that, since people have different ways of learning—some respond best to visual stimuli, some are auditory learners, while others prefer kinesthetic or physical interaction to absorb new material. The more of the five senses you can incorporate into your events, the more likely your content will resonate with your attendees. Keep in mind, just because an attendee might prefer one learning style over the others doesn’t mean their experience will be anything but enhanced by tantalizing their other senses as well.


To give you an example of how this works, take the Jenga blocks mentioned above. In addition to being a great conversation starter, in a technical sense they were appealing to the sense of touch, providing passersby with a kinesthetic outlet as they stretched their brains trying to determine which bricks were safe to remove without toppling the tower.


But these were not your ordinary Jenga blocks, mind you (notwithstanding the fact they were the size of 2x3s and stacked to be as tall as a toddler). These had been painstakingly dyed and hand painted by 360 Live Media’s multi-talented art director by day, Banksy-styled street artist by night, James Wilson. By adding James’ signature artwork to the blocks, the installation evolved beyond simple kinesthetic appeal and now had visual allure as well.


All told, between the Jenga blocks (touch, sight, sound), bubble wrap wall (touch, sound), cornhole (touch, sight), finger painting station (touch, sight), temporary tattoos (touch, sight), coffee aroma testing (smell), Jelly Belly taste testing (sight, taste), and headphone comparisons (hearing), the 360 Live Media 4D Experiential Booth accomplished just about everything you could hope for with your marketing, on a shoestring budget, no less.


It was experiential by design—attendees were eager to try all the sensory stations. It appealed to every one of their senses—anchoring 360 Live Media talking points to familiar sights, sounds, tastes, and aromas.  And it rewarded each participant for the experience. Heck, if all marketing included Jelly Bellies with each exposure, I’d be far more brand loyal than I am.


To learn more about designing experiences that engage attendees on a whole new level, download the Four Dimensions of a Live Event: Improving the Attendee Experience now for free.