By Tez Patel, Creative Director, Freeman
Technology has changed our daily lives as we know it, in both a personal and professional sense. In the world of events, we know how important it is to deliver personalised brand experiences, but the question remains: how can we effectively cater to every guest in this way?
I am an advocate of mass personalisation — the concept of providing a service or experience that is shared with a large audience, yet at the same time, tailored to the individual. In order to design for mass personalisation and create better brand experiences in the process, we need to have in-depth data about attendees at our disposal, which is where the technology piece comes in.
The devil is in the detail
No one wants to be asked the same questions over and over again. In an ideal world, we should be learning about our guests at least six months before an event kicks off. Here we’ll uncover information about their professional background, interests, tastes and importantly —
what they are looking to get out of an event. This is essential to, and informs, the experience design process, however, it’s unlikely to come from a simple online web form alone.
If we connect data streams from tech like smartphones and the web, we are able to create what I refer to as personalised digital signatures for every attendee. Therein lies the golden pieces of information which are so essential to designing personally relevant, yet at the same time large-scale brand experiences. The main question here is: how do we create systems that allow us to read this data? While there is some progress to be made here, technology has already enhanced the pre-event design process. It not only allows us to ask the relevant questions of our audiences much faster than if we were to write them down manually, we can also capture that data with ease.
Merging the digital with the physical
Crunching data is all well and good, but at some point, we need the human touch. Enter the experience design piece of the puzzle. What we tend to forget is really good experience design is not just about the physical. It’s also about tapping into the senses and ensuring things like the furniture and signage, venue, catering and dress code are on point.
When it comes to the event execution phase, technology can help us react to attendees’ behaviour and change an environment much quicker too. Session about to start? Why not dim the lights… Guests looking restless? With the help of technology, you can release a particular smell (based on data gained pre-event) that will capture the senses and keep them alert. We’re already starting to see these actions implemented in the retail and hotel design industries, and there is a wealth of opportunity for us here too.
Building on the positive
Once an event wraps up, the focus turns to relationship building all year round. How do we keep tapping into the positive memory — and these will vary with each individual — when the physical element is gone? With technology, we can measure which memory our guests valued the most — it could be a particular smell, the taste of a meal or snack they enjoyed, or an activity they found especially useful — and engage with them accordingly.
The value proposition here lies in understanding why an individual is looking to attend an event and then embracing effective experience design principles to deliver a message/s that reflect this. And while there is still — as always — room for improvement, technology has come a long way in helping us mass personalise events, by unearthing what our guests want and designing experiences that resonate with them all, in their own unique way.
Tez draws on his nearly 15 years of creative design consultancy experience to oversee the company’s creative output across the EMEA region.
As Creative Director, he manages the design team and works closely with clients to create meaningful and measurable brand experiences that not only meet, but exceed their expectations.
His diverse background ranges from product, graphics and packaging to strategy, media and emerging technology such as 3D printing. His portfolio brims with iconic work for some of the biggest names in high-street fashion, including Superdry, French Connection and Cath Kidston, as well as tech-media giants Autodesk, 3D Systems and BBC, with notable achievements in live events including international experiential workshops.