Leverage Joy: Experiential Marketing Summit 2022

05/18/2022

By Dan Lawler, Creative Director

At the end of April 2022, a small team of AJ Creative Directors and Producers descended upon Las Vegas for the Experiential Marketing Summit, the #1 conference for creators of the brand experience. Welcomed by dry heat, neon, and the clamor of casinos, it was a celebration of being together.

Led by Group Editor and Publisher of Event Marketer, Jessica Heasley and Head of Content, Rachel Boucher, the first workshop of the week laid out the biggest experiential truths of the moment: the events industry is busier than ever, and that, post-pandemic, many brands’ primary focus is on evoking feelings of joy, peace, love, and connection in their audiences.

Surprise? Delight? Can. Do.

That may not have been news for this August Jackson Creative, but it was a resounding call to action: Embrace an historic opportunity to leverage joy.

Emotions make content sticky

We’re committed to connecting hearts and heads anytime but recognize this moment as particularly potent. Humans have a natural inclination toward shared experiences, and how we make an event feel good has an impact on what people think and do long after.

Simply, the more joy associated with an event, the greater the retention of content shared there.

Events have proven psychological and physiologic effects

At EMS, I was enthused to hear industry insiders, collectors of data and monitors of trends, highlight the effects events have on us at the most basic neurological levels.

They were talking brains, and I was into it.

Chief among those effects is the psychological concept of collective effervescence. Coined in the early 20th century by pioneering sociologist, Émile Durkheim, collective effervescence is the sense of energy and harmony people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose.

It’s a joie de vivre that spreads through a group, and has been largely absent from our lives during the pandemic. (You can read more here in a popular article from the New York Times)

Speaking of brains, the concept of limbic resonance blew my mind. It’s the idea that our nervous systems are not self-contained, but rather demonstrably attuned to those around us with whom we share a close connection.

To quote A General Theory of Love by Lannon, Amini and Lewis, it’s “…a symphony of mutual exchange and internal adaptation whereby two mammals become attuned to each other’s inner states.”

Go make some goosebumps

Tasked with the privilege of bringing humans together for events, we have an opportunity to create the conditions for joy. Help them collectively effervesce, light up their limbic systems, and watch learning, training, and brand loyalty become integrated and associated with an experience that just plain felt good.