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The Science of Experience

It’s a simple equation: good experiences equal happiness. We live in anticipation of them and seek them out. Why? Because they provide opportunities to gather stories and bank memories.  

But what is the secret that makes some experiences so memorable and visceral?  

As an experiential agency we are fascinated by the idea and mechanics of memory-making. If you were asked to nominate an experience from your life you would have a rich choice – but have you ever wondered why some experiences stay with us while others dissolve, simply forgettable?  

As part of our process as a branding and marketing agency is to really get under the skin of how we deliver stand out brand experiences for our clients we have developed a methodology that attempts to answer that question and applies the science of human behaviour to building stand out experiences. 

Humans are social creatures driven by emotions. Our role, as experience experts when building campaigns, it to create an emotive response which drives a subsequent action. By applying behavioural insights to the building blocks of an experience we can ensure messages land in the right format to influence behaviour and decisions. 

Decision-making behaviour as humans isn’t based on rational data processing, but rather on the emotions, we feel.  

A wandering mind 

According to psychologist, Matthew Killingsworth, almost half of the time (47%) – our minds are wandering. An experience has the potential to focus the brain – allowing us to be physically present and in the moment.  

As marketers this gives us a focused rather than distracted audience – an exciting opportunity to engage with storytelling through a brand experience.   

And to capture someone’s attention through experiential activations there are key elements and touch points: the destination, timings and context all play a part in setting the scene. We explore where, how and what is most likely to stand out from the crowd, being distinctive, being engaging – creating memories. 

Meeting expectations  

It’s a crucial piece of the puzzle. We anticipate experiences in our minds and if they live up to what we expect we are more likely to remember them. So, to provide the most impactful brand and customer experience the number one rule is ‘meet expectations’ and to do this we need to understand and anticipate those expectations. 

Understand motivations 

We need to understand our consumer and what they are likely to look for in a brand  experience. To segment our potential audience and work out what they are most-likely to be motivated by.  

We also need to understand their current relationship with the brand. Is it new to the consumer or do we need to create an experience that allows them to reappraise the brand? Do we want to change their perception of the brand or simply create an emotional response to the brand?  
 
By understanding the behaviours that drive our target market and their current relationship with the brand we can start to craft a brand experience that will stick in the mind. And we can check in throughout the entire planning and activation process with the documented insights that lie at the heart of every brief. 

Storytelling – we know it makes sense…  

Sensorial storytelling is central to capturing attention and changing behaviour. Our brains are engraved with sensory experiences from our past and if our senses our triggered and ‘re-awoken’ we are much more likely to remember something and file it in our memory bank.  

Touch, taste, smell, sight and sound are  touch points throughout an experience that evoke emotions and emotions sit at the heart of an opinion or perception we build around a brand.  

Be unique  

Multiple research articles suggest that a key factor in making something memorable is making it unique. Think back to a strong memory that sticks in your mind. What is it that made it so memorable? Chances are it was something new and unexpected.  

A moment of escape from the daily routine, an opportunity to let go and forget, a sensorial feast, an expected plot twist in a well-trodden routine. These are the memories that stick with us. To surprise and delight is at the core of making great memories and therefore bringing brands to life. 

Affect 

Positive memories are the product of an emotional response.  When crafting a brand experience we need to plan it with the final affect we are striving for in mind. Moments of affect and/or emotion come in many shapes and sizes, and facilitating them doesn’t always need to be epic in scope. We can elicit a response with small, subtle touches as well as grand gestures, and we can do this by mapping semiotic clues throughout an experience that tap into previously identified insights and wants.  

By weaving small and large experience cues throughout we can ensure an emotional response from the audience to the brand and customer experience. 

The take away 

Consumers need to revisit their experiences for them to be imprinted in their mind. Telling stories, posting on social media, writing a postcard, or seeing a memento in their home are all ways of creating a snapshot and a connection between the past and the present. 

Experiences offer us the opportunity to tell a brand’s story through sensorial touch points and to communicate core messages and land key statements in a medium that will stay with our audience long after the experience has ended.  

One of our goals as a branding agency is to ensure we’re grounding our approach to planning in behavioural insight and understanding we will continue to ensure we create brand experiences that become rooted in consumers’ minds.  

Let us reimagine your brand experience. 

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