Strategic Experience Design: The Emotional Journey of an Event

A compelling event involves more than just logistics and scheduling. Any successful live experience involves an emotional journey that resonates with your guests, leaves a lasting impression and reinforces your message. Join us as we explore strategic experience design. We aim for a guest experience where every element, from the initial concept to the final production, is meticulously aligned to achieve a specific outcome.


What exactly is ‘strategic experience design’? How does emotion help you convince your audience? And how can you benefit from this? Join us as we explore the answers, along with examples you could use for your future corporate event.

Your eye on the goal

Let’s start with the essence of the emotional journey. Each core message has an abstract feeling you aim to convey. This can be “inspiration”, “shared pride” or even “time for action”. Whether it’s best conveyed through an elaborate experience or straight-to-the-point depends on the organisation, its guests and the message itself. To determine the best strategy, at Plugged Live Shows we always follow the same principle.

Strategy feeds creative. Creative feeds production.

This means that your desired result drives our concept (WHY), which in turn drives all productional aspects (HOW). The more we can define the result our client is looking for, the better we can design the experience.

Let’s say you’re presenting a new strategy to all employees across various departments. This exact situation was on the mind of Darren Huston, CEO of Booking.com. Through MCI Amsterdam we met up and he asked us to develop a strategic event concept communicating the company’s Blue Ocean Strategy. The event would be elaborate, covering multiple areas, time slots and emotional states. Quite an elaborate ask, which we happen to love. So we got to work.

We sat together with Darren and MCI to further define the goal. What was the strategic reasoning behind this event? In the end, each guest should understand the Blue Ocean strategy, feel curious to expand upon it and be motivated to use it.

Conviction is emotional

Alright, the goal is defined. Next step, how do we get there? It is important to note that to be convinced is largely an emotional state. Facts and figures serve to underline what your gut recognises as truth. Emotion and reason come in many shapes and sizes, but you’ll always need both to really convince a person. This is why, when designing experiences, we don’t simply design a stand-alone moment (kick-off, welcome speech, or closing show). We look for the ideal “emotional journey” and which part of that journey takes place in that moment. From the first arrivals to the last goodbyes, each step points towards the end result. The music, the scenography, the video content, and more.

Acts and figures serve to underline what your gut recognises as truth.

For the Booking.com event, we created an overarching concept where the strategy could shine in various ways. A world where the core message felt undeniable and alive. An intriguing kick-off invited curiosity. Break-out sessions provided understanding. Lounge-areas helped guests unwind, with subtle hints of the concept sprinkled here and there. Of course, the corporate festival at the end incorporated fitting shows and design aspects that made for a memorable and exciting finale.

From excitement to meaningful memories

We’ve guided the Booking.com guests through a day of activities and information, and arrived at the finish line. The closing party. One last chance to solidify the core message. The final emotional focus: excitement.

When your guests feel dopamine and adrenaline rushing through their body, your message gets solidified in their memory.

During the day, the program focused on breaking down barriers by dismantling obstacles and creating a sense of comfort and intrigue. When the evening came, we went all out. The final push to lock the message in. The Blue Ocean stretched across the entire area, far beyond the stage. Guests were surrounded by curious creatures and grand spectacle to hype them up. Thanks to the dopamine and adrenaline rushing through their bodies, the core message got solidified in their memory.

Be a voice, not an echo

Every corporate event is an opportunity to tell a story, to make a statement that resonates with your audience. By using the emotional power of live experiences, you build conviction and make your message memorable. That is what strategic experience design is all about.

At Plugged Live Shows, we specialise in creating bespoke experiences that captivate, inspire, and leave a lasting impression. Let us help you craft an event that not only meets your objectives but exceeds your expectations.

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