The below article on designing immersive experiences is by Account Manager Sophie and Production Manager Kat. The piece recently appeared in C&IT.
Today all businesses are experience businesses. We’re surrounded by retail, leisure and product experiences that are personalised to our individual preferences, stimulate our senses and spark our emotions. Not surprisingly, when it comes to business events we expect more – we want to be taken deeper.
The good news for those of us creating B2B events is that there are vast amounts of inspiration to draw on. Below we share three immersive experiences from very different corners of the event world.
When Microsoft wanted to dramatise the launch of a new server and bring to life their expertise in data analysis they turned to digital art collective Universal Everything. The result was a custom-built Infinity Room, designed in code and running in real time; the mirrored room created an endless digital landscape. It premiered at a launch conference in San Francisco and was also open to the general public, resulting in a tsunami of trippy photos across social media.
There are two lessons we can learn from Microsoft’s Infinity Room. Firstly, no matter how intangible your product there are creative ways to immerse your audience. And, secondly, taking your audience deeper can be the key to amplification.
The second example is from the world of fashion. Chanel launched their spring 2019 collection with a trip to the seaside. Karl Lagerfeld transformed the exhibition hall at Le Grand Palais in Paris into a beach – sand covered every inch of the floor, there were lapping waves and a 360 panoramic sky backdrop. From the seagulls in the soundscape to the attentive lifeguard, every detail was considered, transporting guests from a grey October Paris to a warm day by the Med.
Chanel’s re-imagining of a catwalk show is a great example of the power of immersive theatre. Rather than digital wizardry, Karl Lagerfeld focused on physical set design, using both scale and attention to detail to wow the audience and reflect the brand. Yes, it must have been expensive. But it’s Chanel – it’s luxury!
If the above experiences seem left-field, Montreal’s C2 event is an example of a conference that’s challenging traditional behaviours and pushing the boundaries. With Cirque du Soleil as a founding partner you’d expect this 7,000-person business event to do things differently.
Talks are punctuated by live music, networking is curated in a specially designed Braindate lounge and ideas sessions see delegates hanging 18ft in the air.
C2 shows that by stimulating the senses you can generate emotion and help people have better conversations and make deeper connections.
As live experiences become ever more central to B2B communications, audiences have greater choice in what they attend and are becoming more demanding. For those of us designing business events this means finding new ways to engage them with content and with one another.
It means finding creative ways to take them deeper and events like those above are the perfect places to draw inspiration from.