Taking Audiences on Emotional Journeys
By Annie Castellano, VP, Executive Creative Director / 04.25.2016
How feeling, strategy and artistry can elevate events and experiences.
“The Journey is the Thing.” Whether or not Homer really said it—there is some debate in the academic community—the sentiment still resonates strongly with many. The allure seems to come from the subtext: It feels like an affirmation to enjoy the moment, live in the now, rather than let your life be ruled by any one single goal that’s always just out of reach.
It’s this perspective that informs everything we do as an events and experiences company—the phrase is our tagline after all. The connection is how we view and treat our audiences. When creating an event or experience, we want an individual to be truly immersed, truly present, every step of the way, transforming their role from passive observer to active participant. This is how we can make them feel something real, moving beyond creating just exciting experiences—plenty of other companies can do that—to taking our audiences on Emotional Journeys.
What do we mean by Emotional Journeys? When considering the objectives of our clients, we view meeting each one within the context of moving an audience from Point A to Point B within the mind and heart. It’s a journey process that leads an individual to the state of feeling and thinking a client wants to elicit a specific action, and therefore accomplish a particular goal.
That’s the journey part of Emotional Journeys. It takes the emotional part of the concept to make the transition between points—between one way of thinking and feeling and another—feel organic and genuine. And it takes our extensive background in theatre to identify, and successfully manage, the core components for evoking powerful emotions—sentiment, story, space and spectacle.
Once emotional content is established, it needs to be placed within the context of three other essential elements using the Impact Map™, our proprietary resource for planning, visualizing and measuring every journey we create. Placed within the Impact Map™, we can carefully control the interplay between emotion and time, energy and message. It may all sound a bit complicated, but the visual format the Impact Map™ provides makes it feel natural and intuitive, letting both us and our clients understand the full impact of every element, working together as a whole much greater than the sum of its many parts.
When it comes time to activating an Emotional Journey, specific levers are carefully adjusted in real time moment to moment—volume, tempo, color, saturation and scale—to keep an audience on the path established by the Impact Map™. This is the time when the skill and vision of our onsite crew is most crucial. Without a keen sense of what an audience is feeling, and a delicate touch modulating each lever, individuals can feel emotionally manipulated instead of emotionally empowered.
We put a tremendous amount of thought and energy into the events and experiences we create, diligently transforming each one into true Emotional Journeys. If an individual’s life can be touched and enriched, even for just a few moments, then the work and effort is worth it, pleasing both our audiences and clients alike. It can be an epic undertaking, but we just see it as adventure. And living without adventure just isn’t very fun. We think even Homer would agree.