Effectiveness of Nostalgia and Emotion at Events to Establish Engagement and Build Loyalty

Jill Anonson
Jill Anonson

couple dancing at formal event

Emotions matter. Whether developing a new engagement program to align your people and your business or designing a conference attendees can’t get enough of, emotions drive the connection between your customers and your product or service. This is because emotions, not rationality, is the real bridge that takes customer loyalty to customer advocacy.

One way to tap into customer emotions at events and forge a strong connection with your brand is by reminiscing about the past. Nostalgia has become an increasingly popular marketing tool for brands to connect with consumers as they tap into the past with beloved real-life figures, fictional characters, mascots, taglines and products, and then incorporate these elements in new ways to connect with younger audiences as well. Stella Artois tapped into nostalgia with their ad shown during the big game earlier this year.

Fond memories make us smile, and companies are using them to drive energy in modern campaigns. By tapping into nostalgia, your event can quickly get attendees engaging and connecting.

Keeping the Past and Positive Memories Alive

There are numerous examples of the rise in popularity of nostalgic events. What you need to remember is to take the time to understand your audience—their motivations and desires.

When you’re able to understand the wants and needs of your attendees, you can design an experience that truly resonates with them.

From classic car rallies to comic-cons, from TV classics and sell out comeback tours, to vintage events and the craft revival, the demand for something different yet familiar is there.

Traditional recipes and menus are also making a comeback and the demand for vinyl records, classic video games and things like modern Polaroid cameras give further evidence of the power of the past. (Even Pokémon have been around for more than 20 years, so the Pokémon Go craze could technically be considered a vintage revival.)

Emotional Connections—Building a Bond with Your Brand

Connections are made when an emotional bond between two or more people happens. And the more emotional connections you can make between your organization and your clients’, the more opportunities you’ll have to do business with them.  

Emotionally connected customers tend to visit you more often, show less price sensitivity, are attentive to your communications, follow your advice, and recommend you more—everything you desire from their event experience.

Forrester research found that emotion is the biggest driver of loyalty across many industries. And a study by CapGemini found that there are significant brand benefits to nurturing a relationship with emotionally invested customers.

Emerging technologies are now trending towards emotional connections and are able to measure the emotional responses of your event attendees. These include artificial intelligence and biometrics, but also facial and voice recognition. Facial recognition and biometrics, for example, have the potential to measure how people feel as they experience a product or a marketing campaign. Voice recognition could gauge tonal inflection to measure emotion around particular experiences.

For example, Disney used infrared cameras in a test theater to log the facial expressions for 3,179 audience members, measuring reactions via facial gestures. Using a neural network on the resulting 16 million facial data points, the movie studio evaluated the emotional response each movie elicited.

Using the data from technology will help you transform your business and allow you to be more creative and emotionally connected than ever before.

And according to Harvard Business Review, “companies that connect with consumers’ emotions will not only see a huge payoff in growth and profitability, but in brand awareness and loyalty.”

More Tricks for Your Marketing Tool Belt

No matter what you lean on more, nostalgia and emotion helps customers engage with your products and services in a new, yet familiar ways. But to be effective you must deliver something unique, unexpected and targeted to trigger an emotional response. Take a look at what has worked and discover new ideas to immerse your customers in your brand with our ebook, Growing Your Brand Through Immersive Experiences.

want to engage today's experience-minded customer? create something unforgettable

Jill Anonson

Jill Anonson

Jill Anonson has over 20 years of diverse experience in event management, incentive travel and sales strategy, and serves as the Events Strategy Advisor at ITA Group. Focused on continuous improvement and challenging standards, she consults clients and team members with impactful strategies and innovative ideas that deliver successful business outcomes. She is a Certified Engagement Practitioner, and certified through Pragmatic Marketing.