Emotion recognition and measurement tech is at an incredible level of development these days. All the big players in almost every industry, from social platforms to car manufacturers to space exploration, are researching and analyzing how they can know what the customer feels, what emotions affect their decisions or behavior. We can take this as a sign that those businesses that place customer emotions at the top of their priorities will be the most successful.
Spotify was granted a US patent for its method of tracking listener emotions. Honda uses Affectiva’s technology ‘to understand the state of the driver and passengers to improve the ride by changing the lighting, music, or temperature’. There are companies that offer similar solutions to events (I wrote about in the past). While all of this is exciting, there are also concerns because everything can be used for good or evil, and when it comes to emotions, we should be extra careful as implications are huge.
What’s more important, we have yet to fully understand the origins of emotions, and whether we could ever measure emotions. Variations across cultures, races, individual differences are vast, and measuring them in precise metrics may never be possible. Look up the research (and books and videos) of Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett, it’s fascinating and enlightening.
How does it relate to events?
In decision-making, engagement, and memory, emotions play an essential role. An emotional connection matters more than customer satisfaction. I don’t suggest that emotion software is the ultimate solution though. It may not be feasible to apply it for many events as well. But there are other things you can do. I am always in favor of a balance; a combination of hard data and soft metrics is the best. And at the very least, start including these questions as early in the design process as possible:
- ‘What emotional environment are we trying to create?’
- ‘What do we want our attendees to feel?’
- ‘What does attending the event mean to the participants?’
- ‘What’s event’s psychological value?’
- ‘How can we achieve the highest emotional response?’
- ‘Are our event communications human-like, emotive, or how can we make them so?’