I am currently immersed in the redesign of an annual, “destination” event for an iconic, California institution of national legacy and global presence. This is an opportunity to acutely focus these methodologies I espouse on refreshing a powerful Brand of Legacy, while articulating the actual, evolutionary metamorphoses under which this client institution is going…in leadership, in mission, in form and function.
A transformation is being completed, resulting in a more powerful, more effective and relevant organization; poised and prepared to make some resonant, sweeping expansion of and intensification in the level of engagement with the Communities served.
I live for this stuff.
Connecting message at profound, emotional levels through Experience.
I talk about this, I teach workshops on this, I thrive on this. Finding the pathway, the words, the format, the rhythm the way past preconception, through the daily deluge of data descending on all of us and our audiences, day by day, and connecting.
I wish I could say more, at this juncture, about the specifics of the Experience we’re building; but, that would tip my hand to many who will appreciate and savor the surprise of this Experience as it unfolds on The Night.
You’ll just have to wait for post-show; or come!
Imagine, though, an experience that honors leadership, articulates vision, engages emotional and viscerally, incites passion in and connects with an audience…all without speeches. No speeches; everything communicated through Art in its myriad forms. Theatre, music, movement, imagery…
For this night, we have an audience a great part of whom have been involved in the work of the institution for years; decades, even. There is nothing new to say to them; they enter the space almost out of obligation; not expecting anything they have not previously experienced. Those preconceptions must be liberated and the individual impassioned anew.
We will do this.
Another part of the audience is fresh on the scene, not consciously connected to the legacy, though compassionate and committed to making a difference in the world being inherited. These men and women will exit this Experience at the end of the evening fired up; personally embracing the shared mission and seeking a place in it.
This, we can do.
What I can tell you is that we have thrown out all that has gone before, held a virtual open audition for new and effective ways of delivering message, and I believe we have come up with an Immersive Experience for a new age and attitude.
Back in the Day, I began to refer to creation of an Immersive Experience to communicate message and connect audience to an institution, “Experiential Messaging.”
I thought I’d invented that term; it’s possible I heard it somewhere, 30 years ago, and adopted it. Either way, this term is bandied about, these days, by everyone from guerilla marketers, passing out energy drink samples on the street, to those who actually do create fully immersive, messaging experiences.
What makes it Experiential Messaging?
The message is delivered through the experience rather than at it or in it.
Through the Experience.
The integrity of this term is important to me; as I strongly believe in the power of the shared, personal experience. Power to motivate and inspire, power to challenge and engage, power to dissipate fatigue and familiarity and reawaken energy and vigor.
Sure, being handed a box of mints on the street is an experience; it is not, however, immersive nor is the messaging experiential. (Is this making sense?)
To be effective, the crucial pieces are:
- Catching the audience off guard (Liberating Preconception)
- Surprising without shocking, taking them a tad off balance (Comfortable Disorientation)
Then, in the case of what we are building for this night in San Francisco, creating the messaging experience such that it is artistic and stunning, clear and articulate, deeply emotionally connective … and brief.
Our audiences are such that, if they actually trust us that a bit of program is going to be brief and compelling, they will stay, watch, listen and hear. If we are trusted; then, when the lights dim for a piece of the program, the audience is inclined to give it a chance before reaching for the iPhone or running to the Lounge.
Y’gotta catch ‘em before they tweet. Then, they gotta tweet, or check-in, or pin, or Path or whatever the platform of the moment demands… Give ‘em a reason to hang in, reward ‘em with something to say or share.
The messaging must be quick, focused, pithy and relevant.
- And the food’s gotta be great.
- And there must be plenty of time to socialize throughout the experience.
- And…the audience must know that the evening will end at a decent hour. There was a time when we wanted them assured they’d be home before Leno or Letterman. Now, they want to be home before “Real Housewives.”
It will be over before the audience is ready for it to be over (“Always leave ‘em wanting more” P.T. Barnum), and it will be a complete, accessible, complex Experience.
We can do this. We will do all of this.
I shared the specifics and particulars of the production and narrative with one of my most respected clients, a few months back, and he has asked to join my production team for the night. This is a powerful compliment from a Respectful Perfectionist, and I can’t wait to have him there.
Once completed, I look forward to sharing the details of this night as a Case Study on this site. I’m impassioned by the possibility of creating an Experience that connects with disparately experienced and diversely aged (er… Variously Matured) audiences; creating a completely new, revivified annual destination for those engaged in this institution.
Stay tuned. I think you’ll find this worthwhile.
P.S. A buddy and I did, actually, invent the Cosmo, back in 1980. You’re welcome!
P.P.S. Got a question? Ask it! I always have an opinion…