Creating 'Emotional Intensity' through digital parks?
For a start there is wide use of the word 'digital' when it comes to all things new. From hardware inserted into parks to software applications and social media. I was pleased to see straight away and consistently discussed during the day that ‘digital’ is seen as a means to an end and we shouldn’t get seduced by the tech.
The stand out phrase of the day was ‘emotional intensity’. If your digital solution can achieve that moment you’re on to a winner. Strong emotions turn us into activists and givers of money and/or time. Signs don’t create emotional moments, they are information not interpretation. Digital interpretation is hugely important to explain the significance and create these emotions.
A variety of projects were showcased to deliver engagement through digital art. Intriguing in themselves but is it the digital technology or the location that is attracting people? Did they actually attract a new audience if that’s what they set about to do? An engaged audience were shown to be more willing to help, only when they’ve had a good intense, emotional experience though. So your art better be good.
MyParkScotland showed how information on the space and interpretation of it go hand in hand with funding requests. They are also savvy enough to work with online partners to build an accumulative audience for themselves. And they were the first to mention analytics, hurrah!
This brings me on to the subject of apps. I’m waiting to be convinced that the time and costs of developing bespoke app solutions get the use to justify their existence. Show me the stats. Curiously no-one did. And don’t forget the ongoing software development costs of apps. These things are built in an ever changing environment and need updating. Have you got the ongoing budget?
I’m still amazed local groups and parks professionals don’t invest more time in updating Wikipedia? It’s often missed as the universal digital platform for content, it’s well supported and appears top of a Google search most of the time.
'Donate' by the National Funding Scheme is a mobile web application (different from an app in that it’s not stored on your device but needs good connectivity). This system focuses on the fact that £1.5bn of donations made in the UK every year are under £100 and that a third of all online purchases are made from a device. So make it really quick and easy for people to donate.
This is where emotional intensity appears again. The appeals that were supported by explainer videos are the most successful. I watch a video, I’m emotionally touched, I can donate straight away. And videos are 12x more likely to be shared online, so you turn your emotionally engaged audience into a marketing force.
There’s also a parrot that talks to you if you give it money and a seat that tells you a story while promoting you to think of leaving a legacy in your will conveniently situated opposite an affluent neighbourhood. Both in Bournemouth! Know your audience and get the right tools for them.
Thanks to Nesta for supporting and hosting the event.