The Event Experience Journey

We've been talking lately about the necessity to create a more active world, for brands to embrace the experience economy, with the power of experiences.

And we know there are thousands of moments in any experience.

In our work to create meaningful real life active experiences we believe it is important to understand journeys, to focus our efforts on the most influential moments, to create optimal experiences.

We know these journeys are not consistent in timing, or are they linear. However, we do know that there is a pattern of phases which our participants go through, and that we can create moments of impact towards those ‘zero moments’ of decision making, and ultimately positively influence the attitude and behaviour of a participant.

The following are the phases and 12 moments of impact for you to consider, taken from industry insights, working with millions of participants, leading brands and organisations.


 

 The inspire & commit phase

1.    ‘the trigger’

The moment of inspiration, the trigger that ignites the interest in someone’s mind to explore this experience further. It most often comes from ‘word of mouth’, and will always involve some influence from others.

Knowing what creates this word of mouth, and the channels that ignite that communication is critical, and is something we understand deeply at Limelight.

Being able to create this moment of impact is where the journey begins.

2.    ‘the consider’

Being able to influence in these moments is even more critical. Where that emotional trigger is met with some rationale decision making.

The potential barriers and the pains in life, that functional evaluation. We aim to minimise these impacts, and enhance the drivers, the gains that will meet your needs and desires.  

3.    ‘the deal breaker’

As a typical storyline goes, the ‘hero’ sets out on a journey, but always encounters conflict as they go. And we all experience this - the many reasons NOT do do it. Events are somewhat distinct to other products or services, in that they require ACTIVE investment of self, of commitment and energy, which in turn is what sets them apart, and makes them so engaging.

4.    ‘the reconsider’

If we are doing our jobs well, the functional, emotional and social criteria will swing in our favour. Our hero continues on their journey with us. We offer ‘spurs’ which enhance the motivation, or combat the challenges, whether in ability, accessibility, or information.

5.    ‘the commit’

Moving from the awareness to registration phase the event concepts moment of truth. For the participant / experiencer, and for the event creator. The more we can create positive touch points, eliminate pains and unnecessary touchpoints at this phase is crucial.

Registering formalises the commitment to the event experience. It needs to be as seamless and inspiring, as much as it is functional.

6.    ‘the prep’

We see this as a crucial part of the journey with us.

An opportunity to engage across a period of time much greater than the event itself, and often the most rewarding phase of a journey. The training, learning, and growth is at the core of any experience. 


7.   ‘the eve’
 
Often the most heightened part of an experience, the event eve is one of the most influential in a participant’s experience of the event itself. The final functional preparation, the emotional anticipation.
 
8.   ‘the journey & arrival’
 
Just like the eve of an event, there are many physical and online opportunities to connect and influence on event day outside of the actual on site experience. 
 
‘First impressions’ is critical in this phase. The interactions must be impactful, to set the tone and influence that all important ‘vibe’, that intangible we evaluate all our experiences on.
 
9.   ‘the start’
 
Quite often THE ONLY MOMENT of impact that can be truly experienced and shared EN MASSE. All of our participants are focused in this moment together, and is one that need to be brilliantly maximised.

10.   ‘doing it – the challenge – the effort’
 
This is the experiential moment of truth. For the experiencer, and for the event promoter.
 
The active engagement at this time should be at is highest. Enjoyment is the ultimate goal, but ideally it involves some element of challenge or growth, so that the end result is something truly rewarding. 
 
11.   ‘the finish’
 
This should not be an end point. It should be a celebration, and an opportunity to reflect, and share the participants experience. This is the start of the next journey, and capturing this moment in real life and online, with, and for, participants is a golden moment of opportunity.
 
12.   ‘reflecting & sharing’
 
There is a finite window of opportunity as the moment subsides, and with all these phases, creating impact in these moments is critical. The experience will be forgotten if you don’t leverage this window.
 
And conversely when the results, the comments, the images, are shared back immediately, in a format in which they can be shared again, amplifies these moments and makes them even more powerful.
 
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I hope you can see how these moments should influence your 'back of house' decisions, and create influential 'touchpoints' in your experience design thinking. 
 
We talk at Limelight Sports of ‘walking in their shoes’ which means that within these phases, there are many moments in which we can understand our experiencers. We can preempt these, and also react, and create the functional, emotional and social triggers needed, leveraging these to be catalysts toward attitudinal and behavioural action.
 
In our work we use ‘consumer journey maps’ to focus our design efforts and delivery decisions on how we can best influence each participants journey. We believe it is crucial in our experience design work that we understand the ‘user’ experience, or in our case the ‘experiencers’, as deeply as possible. This may come from internal knowledge, market observations, research and/or data. Have a think about the experience you are designing, and what insights you have on the best ways to influence these moments.
 
Another approach is to think of their journey as a storyline, create a narrative, and align your actions to allow that story to emerge. Create your own 'hero's journey', or Pixar has a famous pattern to their plots, which you can adopt.
 
I hope this helps guide you on your experience or event design journeys. For more experience design thinking please visit www.limelightsports.com 

Andrew O'Loughlin // Managing Director