A Warm Campfire Welcome

By Brendan Corcoran, Creative Director / 03.28.2017

Taking an open house from event, to discovery, to adventure.

On March 29th we will be hosting Camp ITC, our largest public event to date that invites the St. Louis marketing community into our workspace. Which brings us to this empirical fact: Making new friends can be scary. Think back to being a kid—like, say, if you’ve ever been to summer camp—and you might recall the feeling.

To prepare, we followed our own guiding principle of the Emotional Journey, designing an experience in three stages to ensure attendees can be truly immersed, truly present, and become active participants rather than just passive observers.

Event

This is the white-label baseline, establishing in hyper-specific manner what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and when it’s happening. It sounds painfully obvious—establishing goals and objectives, determining how they’ll be accomplished—but it’s shocking how many industry events transpire without ever asking these very basic questions. In our case, the answers are hosting an open house, to successfully promote ourselves to the marketing community, on Wednesday, March 29th.

Discovery

The Emotional Journey mechanics start to kick in here. We define an Emotional Journey as “moving an audience from Point A to Point B within the mind and heart” to accomplish a client’s objective—in this case, successfully promoting our own capabilities and identity as a company. If Point A is how guests think and feel before our event—fairly indifferent and under-informed about ITC—then Point B is where we want them to end up afterwards.

It’s the emotional payoff upon arriving at Point B that defines a journey, elevating the result to something more aspirational that can affect lasting change. We determined that upon reaching Point B, guests need to feel “discovery”—about who we are, and what we can offer partners and clients alike—to meet our objective.

Adventure

The final stage is the emotional context for the entire journey. If “event” is the bare bones of what we’re activating, and “discovery” is the emotional heart of our objective, then “adventure” is the full, fleshed-out experience that ties it all together. In other words, “adventure” is the process for moving attendees from Point A to Point B with artistry and elegance.

We felt a camp theme was the best representation of this idea, literally translating the event into a journey around our facilities, while offering enough warmth and humor to make it fun and approachable.

It may all seem a bit complicated, but as we put the final touches in place, and get ready to welcome our guests, the magic of the Emotional Journey is showing through. I just overheard someone say “I’m starting to get excited… Like it’s real camp and not just a work event!” and no one laughed—because we all feel the same.

Camp ITC is tomorrow, Wednesday March 29th. RSVP and register for your free Eventbrite ticket!

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