I recently became a fan of podcasts
Having never been a big fan of audiobooks and the like, I resisted it for a long time. The initial driving force for me was that I have not been able to read much over the last couple of months, and I have been traveling more. So, I decided to try podcasts – and since then became hooked.
There is a sea of different shows, hosts, and topics, and one must learn to swim in it. Just like in the sea, there is a lot of garbage and one needs to sort through it to find those pearls that would bring joy. In short, podcasts are great sources of knowledge, inspiration, and fun – and now I am enjoying them. I will share my favorites at the end of this post. I like that they aren’t too narrow or highly specialized to discuss specific topics. There are so many things to be interested in in life, and if I can learn and laugh at the same time, or learn about one field and apply it to my own – that is what I am looking for.
Then, how does that relate to the blog title? Read on.
What one podcast taught me
Recently, I listened to Rory Sutherland talk about psychology and marketing. This is an incredible conversation I recommend to all event professionals. The very first thing Rory mentions is the most pressing problem airports face, which is that many people attempt to bring liquids through security. Naturally (most of the time), they don’t do this on purpose; it is just the way they are (i.e. they forget). In Rory’s view, instead of addressing the behaviour, we tend to apply other solutions – for instance, engineering solutions – and by doing so, we “engage in changing reality rather than changing behaviour.”
He says, ‘It’s much more acceptable to spend money on infrastructure than to spend money on psychology’.
As much as it is true, this is a remarkable statement. I draw parallels with the event industry as he describes the intangible value of marketing a product or service. It makes me think once again that the key to winning hearts (and competition) in the current environment lies in going in-depth, pretty literally, by analyzing and addressing people’s cognitive abilities, behavior, and emotions.
iPhone, Events and Psychology
Here’s an example with iPhone (which Rory also mentions). It is well known that some of its technical characteristics (or perhaps most) are no better or even worse than those of its competitors. How come the iPhone has become so famous, so desired and even an item associated with a certain status among its owners? The answer lies in addressing people’s inner motives and old, universal, fundamental desires. Such psychology-based marketing changes the perceived quality of an object without changing its physical characteristics. This creates a different feeling regarding the product/service by adding psychological value.
Take an event that competes with hundreds of others. This is the reality we live in today. You can invest in engineering solutions, like introducing new technology, or you can try and apply solutions that affect people’s minds. But don’t get me wrong: I am not saying tech or any other solution like that is a bad decision. They can coexist perfectly. The point is that psychology should serve as a foundation, rather than an add-on, to any design, including event design.
Adding psychological value is more effective than competing on any objective feature.
That’s why event planners need to think about things like the emotional component of an event; what the event means to people and what they get out of it; and what it says about them (that is, what status they achieve – just like with an iPhone). You will outpace your competitors much faster and without significant financial investments as you would with any other tool. Nevertheless, you must invest your time in researching how psychology and neuroscience can be applied to your event design. This is exactly what I do – and I help event organisers and suppliers to apply scientific insights to improve event experiences, so get in touch!
Lastly, my 7 [updated] favorite podcasts, as promised.
Bonus #2 (surprise!) for those who have read all the way to the end: podcast episodes where I discuss #eventpsychology hacks and tips for event planners: