Managing Director LIMELIGHT SPORTS
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The experience journey: 12 moments of impact in an event campaign

29th Nov 2016
Managing Director LIMELIGHT SPORTS
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Race
istock

Earlier this month, I explained how to create excellent event experiences. In this next article, I want to outline the main 'moments of truth' that exist in any event campaign. 

We've been talking lately about the necessity to create a more active world, for brands to embrace the experience economy, with the power of experiences.

And we know there are thousands of moments in any experience.

In our work to create meaningful real-life active experiences we believe it is important to understand journeys, to focus our efforts on the most influential moments, to create optimal experiences.

We know these journeys are not consistent in timing; nor are they linear. However, we do know that there is a pattern of phases which our participants go through, and that we can create an impact in those ‘zero moments’ of decision-making, and ultimately positively influence the attitude and behaviour of a participant.
 
The following are the phases and 12 moments of impact for you to consider, taken from industry insights, working with millions of participants, leading brands and organisations.
 
 The inspire & commit phase

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1. The trigger
 
The moment of inspiration, the trigger that ignites the interest in someone’s mind to explore this experience further. It most often comes from ‘word of mouth’, and will always involve some influence from others.
 
Knowing what creates this word of mouth, and the channels that ignite that communication is critical. Being able to create this moment of impact is where the journey begins.
 
2. The consider
 
Being able to influence in these moments is even more critical. Where that emotional trigger is met with some rationale decision making.
 
The potential barriers and the pains in life, that functional evaluation. The aim is to minimise these impacts, and enhance the drivers, the gains that will meet your needs and desires.  
 
3. The deal breaker

As a typical storyline goes, the ‘hero’ sets out on a journey, but always encounters conflict as they go. And we all experience this - the many reasons NOT do do it. Events are somewhat distinct to other products or services, in that they require ACTIVE investment of self, of commitment and energy, which in turn is what sets them apart, and makes them so engaging.

4. The reconsider

If we are doing our jobs well, the functional, emotional and social criteria will swing in our favour. Our hero continues on their journey with us. It is important to offer ‘spurs’ which enhance the motivation, or combat the challenges, whether in ability, accessibility, or information.
 
5. The commit

Moving from the awareness to registration phase the event concepts moment of truth. For the participant / experiencer, and for the event creator. It is important to create positive touch points, eliminate pains and unnecessary touchpoints at this phase.
 
Registering formalises the commitment to the event experience. It needs to be as seamless and inspiring, as much as it is functional.
 
6. The prep
 
This is a crucial part of the journey.
 
An opportunity to engage across a period of time much greater than the event itself, and often the most rewarding phase of a journey. The training, learning, and growth is at the core of any experience. 
 
The experience to reflection phases

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7. The eve
 
Often the most heightened part of an experience, the event eve is one of the most influential in a participant’s experience of the event itself. The final functional preparation, the emotional anticipation.
 
8. The journey & arrival
 
Just like the eve of an event, there are many physical and online opportunities to connect and influence on event day outside of the actual on site experience. 
 
‘First impressions’ is critical in this phase. The interactions must be impactful, to set the tone and influence that all important ‘vibe’, that intangible we evaluate all our experiences on.
 
9. The start
 
Quite often THE ONLY MOMENT of impact that can be truly experienced and shared EN MASSE. All of the participants are focused in this moment together, and is one that need to be brilliantly maximised.

10. Doing it – the challenge – the effort
 
This is the experiential moment of truth. For the experiencer, and for the event promoter.

The active engagement at this time should be at is highest. Enjoyment is the ultimate goal, but ideally it involves some element of challenge or growth, so that the end result is something truly rewarding. 
 
11. The finish
 
This should not be an end point. It should be a celebration, and an opportunity to reflect, and share the participants experience.
 
This is the start of the next journey, and capturing this moment in real life and online, with, and for, participants is a golden moment of opportunity.
 
12. Reflecting & sharing
 
There is a finite window of opportunity as the moment subsides, and with all these phases, creating impact in these moments is critical. The experience will be forgotten if you don’t leverage this window.
 
And conversely when the results, the comments, the images, are shared back immediately, in a format in which they can be shared again, amplifies these moments and makes them even more powerful.
 
Back of house decisions

I hope you can see how these moments should influence your 'back of house' decisions, and create influential 'touchpoints' in your experience design thinking. 

We talk at Limelight of ‘walking in their shoes’ which means that within these phases, there are many moments in which we can understand our experiencers. We can preempt these, and also react, and create the functional, emotional and social triggers needed, leveraging these to be catalysts toward attitudinal and behavioural action.

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An experience journey map 
In our work we use ‘consumer journey maps’ to focus our design efforts and delivery decisions on how we can best influence each participants journey. We believe it is crucial in our experience design work that we understand the ‘user’ experience, or in our case the ‘experiencers’, as deeply as possible. This may come from internal knowledge, market observations, research and/or data. Have a think about the experience you are designing, and what insights you have on the best ways to influence these moments.

Another approach is to think of their journey as a storyline, create a narrative, and align your actions to allow that story to emerge. Create your own 'hero's journey', or Pixar has a famous pattern to their plots, which you can adopt.
 
I hope this helps guide you on your experience or event design journeys.

In our next article, we look at how we can influence these moments, to create the best real-life active experiences.
 
For more Experience Design thinking please contact me, and visit www.limelightsports.com.

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