The Psychology of "Little Details"

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According to contextual learning psychologists, when people engage an experience, they process it in one of two ways. Either they absorb it “globally”—meaning they take in the big picture of the experience all at once—or they take it in “locally,” in which they process smaller details in order to form an opinion about the total experience.


More and more, experiences are being absorbed locally by attendees—which is why, more and more, marketers are putting added emphasis on those “little details” that make up their big experiences. To make sure your little details drive big experiences, keep these five contextual learning lessons in mind:


Size Doesn’t Matter. From the check-in process to the flowers on the table at lunch to the soundtrack attendees hear—even the information provided in an app, on a site, on a sign. Studies show that recall is often higher for smaller details than larger ones. Which means that some event attendees may remember the branded earbuds they used to plug into your second-screen app than they will the opening keynote.


The Logic of Layout. Behavioral experts say that when people engage a space, they take in both the look and feel of it, but also the “logic” of it—whether the space is easy to navigate, has a flow and offers well-defined paths. It’s why attention (and spending) on wayfinding, guest flow and the overall attendee continuum are up.


Copy That. Attendees take in and notice the copy and graphics used across events—the words, the message, the actual phrases. And they notice them across the event’s “screened spectrum”—from signage to apps to streams to stages to media. Surveys find that attendees look for messages to be clear, concise, informational and directional—free of typos and grammatically correct.


Body Language. Detail-oriented attendees notice how the staff is carrying themselves—there’s a big difference to them between someone who is slouching and someone who is holding their head high. Just extra fodder to consider when training your brand ambassadors.


Out of Order. Detail-oriented attendees are great investigators that notice when something is out of place. One psychologist said that “attendees notice when a pearl is missing from the strand.” It means they notice when a/v is different in a breakout room, when the keynote stage screen ratio changes, when the layout seems off, etc.


Indeed, event marketers are adding more smaller elements to their events. Keep the above in mind to make sure your attendees pick up a big experience from your little details.


Posted by Mark Dante | Request as a Speaker