Sure the content of a conference or an event is critical, yet it seems we need something special to make it memorable. Recently, Reach Partners attended We Are OTA. The event curators intentionally transformed the venue with a sense of play, contrived intersections for connection with others, and used words, people and art to spark new ideas. To boot, the creators thoughtfully considered the sensory experience for the attendees.
“The ultimate goal is to make an emotional connection with the audience, which leads to an emotional connection with your brand.”
Kelly Shores, CEO of Sparksight, event manager for TEDxAustin 2013
A relatively small element of the event used smelly markers to a great big effect on me. In a nanosecond my olfactory nerve impulse trigged memory. My grandmother kept a closet full of pipe cleaner, yarn, an ice-cream pail full of smelly-markers, crayons, and pencils, a sheaf of multi-colored construction paper, glue, sparkles and an legion of blue safely scissors for foster, head-start and grand kids to create refrigerator art. Each child sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by all the makings for beauty knew the items in the closet meant they were loved, and that whatever glittery, grape-smelling mixed media creation was precious, but no more so than themselves.
The use of the smelly-markers in place of plain was strategic to the goals of the event and its brand. It was meant to evoke the memories of childhood, play and creativity, the foundation of the event. In my case, smelly-markers had an added bonus that meant love. The encounter left a powerful impression that tied memory and emotion directly to the event.
They didn’t know about my experience with grape-flavored smelly markers, but the organizers do understand smell is strongly tied to memory and with that simple choice, and with many other deliberate intentions for the duration of the day’s happenings, they transformed the event to an experience.
Rachel, Reach Partners