Photographing events gives us a pretty broad exposure into the world of how events are run and how people respond to them.  However, on Tuesday March 19th, Kevin White, CSEP, and Chief Strategist at XPL presented on the psychology of events.  This was an interesting topic since it went much deeper into how to make events with maximum impact.

The keys can down to something that all photographers are familiar with – you have to know how to tell a story!

To do that, White says that you have to:

  • Delve into the mind
  • Control the mood
  • Design communication
  • Satisfy human needs, and
  • Incorporate the senses

Sporting events are the perfect example of very emotional events, but if you miss any of the ‘needs’ of your audience you can lose them (think of overly long bathroom lines killing the joy, etc.).  However, most successful events fulfill all attendees needs from the physical to societal (belonging).

White also stressed that needs trump wants.  This is pretty obvious when you think about it but it’s sometimes overlooked.

Feedback loops are also good (e.g. those giant thermometers used to show how much money has been raised towards a fundraising goal) as they  can and do influence behaviors.

Of the senses, some of the fascinating facts presented were that smell influences emotions most. (Check out Dr. Allan Hirsch‘s work on this and use to your advantage!)

Taste is secondary (but it’s 90% smell anyways) and for sight, color is a big factor.

Red – energetic but tiring for long durations

Yellow – is the first color people see, warmer colors are good in general but hard to look at

Orange – stimulates learning. Least occurring color in nature. Energetic, warm, makes you think. Unique. (yes!) 🙂

Blue – tranquil and calming. Blue is the color of rot in nature so it makes food unappetizing – whoa.

In general dark colors lower stress and increase peacefulness.

One other thing that event professionals can leverage includesthe narcissism of people in general.  They’ll stop at a mirror to check themselves out so use that to your marketing advantage.