The Hero’s Journey
In his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the famous mythologist Joseph Campbell introduced the universal narrative of the Hero’s Journey.
According to Campbell, most mythological and adventure stories across the globe, follow the same, easily recognizable patterns. The hero is at first reluctant to leave the comforts of home and/or a familiar life but is motivated by a guardian angel or mentor to leave their humdrum life behind and go on an adventure.
As they step into the unknown, they face many unexpected challenges but also receive help from different mentors and companions.
These challenges usually culminate in a major crisis which tests the protagonist’s mettle and ultimately helps them evolve into a more mature, accomplished being.
By the time they return to their quote ‘normal’ life, they are usually laden with gifts and are better equipped to lead a more fulfilled life.
This idea has stood the test of time. Not just mythology and folklore, one sees the hero’s journey running as the recurring strain in all popular adventure stories, including action and fantasy films. This beautiful infographic on venngage.com that succinctly explores the Hero’s Journey in six iconic movies: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Star Wars (1977), The Matrix (1999), Spider-Man (2002), The Lion King (1994) and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003).
We wondered if this underlying narrative would fit into any given attendee’s journey as well. And we found that it did, very much so in fact!
The Attendee’s Journey
Call to Action
The call to register for an event often represents an important milestone in first-time attendee’s professional career.
Many different types of triggers can do the magic in convincing new attendees to sign up. It could be a recommendation from past attendees, or their own happy experience at your previous event. For new attendees, it’s often your posts and messages via multiple channels that encourage attendees to step out of their comfort zone.
Key stats, enticing highlights from past events as well as frequent sneak previews of showcase features at your upcoming event can go a long way in converting followers on the fence.
Your team is their guardian angel who helps them overcome their inertia and convinces them to sign up for a new and transformative experience.
Preparation & Transition
Once signed up, attendees need mentoring and resources. This is the phase where step by step instructions, information on the digital tools available to them as well as timely reminders on important deadlines help them stay on course.
This is also the time when they are eager to learn about the new products and services they will find at your tradeshow, and the new techniques and processes they’ll learn in your educational sessions.
It is always reassuring for attendees to receive these periodic updates and reminders from your team. It motivates them to explore your offerings in more details and ultimately, recognize the value of their participation in your event.
They continue to consume this information as they get to the event venue and start engaging in person with all the content, new information and interactive opportunities available to them.
Helpers, mentors, and powerful tools come to an attendee’s aid pretty much as they do for a hero in an adventure story.
Attendees’ consumption of an event’s digital offerings doesn’t end when they are onsite.
In fact, at a2z we’ve found that in most cases, it actually intensifies as they pull their mobile devices repeatedly to check the event map and their personalized calendars, post pictures and comments on social media and message each other.
This means that your team needs to continue to serve them reminders and alerts and bulletins to make sure they stay tuned in. If they have planned their itinerary well, have access to resources they need and are able to maximize their time – making new & useful connections, tuning into what’s new and trending, they’ll feel beyond satisfied.
Onsite is also the best time to get in-the-moment feedback and testimonials from attendees – this is when they feel most connected to your brand.
For attendees, being fully immersed at an event is akin to the ‘Revelation and Transformation’ stage in the Hero’s Journey.
When the attendees return to their everyday life from a successful event participation experience, they are more knowledgeable about their role and better connected with influencers in their professional arena.
Because they attended the event, they are now equipped with resources that can help them be more successful in their given role. This is the ‘gift’ that they carry back with them.
And the cyclical nature of this journey now comes into play because you can remind them of their successful participation and convert them into a returning attendee as well as an influencer for your event.
This content was originally presented in a webinar hosted for a2z user group members.
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