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Summer Course 2016 – Part III: Creating Memorable Events Using the 5-Senses Model


Humans react to all sorts of stimuli; the way we perceive the world is through the use of our 5 senses: taste, sight, hearing, touch and smell. These senses do not only allow us to receive sensory information, but they also influence our decision making process. For example:

Have you ever wondered why when entering a casino, the carpets on the floor are always bright-coloured and with disturbing patterns? Or why there is a certain type of music being played inside shopping malls? Ever thought why certain clothing boutiques use perfumes in their stores? Or why children opt for small toys when entering a toy store? How about the free cheese samples in a supermarket?

The 5 senses effect

  • The carpets in the casino are deliberately designed for keeping your eyes directed to the slot machines only. To that extent, everything – except from the slot machines – need to be so disruptive for you to only focus on gambling!
  • The musical background playing inside the shopping malls aims to make people feel more relaxed and keep them browsing through the stores longer than planned. Why? To spend more money and shop for more products obviously.
  • The subtle perfume smell in some boutiques is there to make you react to a certain clothing pattern or colour which can make you buy something different than you would in the first place. How many times did you purchase something and later on you could not explain to yourself (or to others) why you made that choice?
  • As for the children, they will go straight to the small toys department because the sense of touch is extremely important when it comes to the way we perceive the world – in this case certain products -. As a result, children end up developing strong preference for a certain toy and parents usually proceed with buying it because they have seen them playing with it.
  • Last but not least, the cheese samples in a supermarket; the sample alone is not the reason that will make you purchase that specific brand product. But by association of taste, you will end up buying a lot more food than initially planned, most likely the brand type you were previously “testing” on one of the aisles while looking for another type of product!


Experiential event: Amplification of the 5 senses

So what has all this to do with living an event experience? A quick recap: An experience is the mastery of activating the audience during an event, through involvement in or exposure to it, resulting in full engagement of the audience (or behavioural change). How do people perceive information and live these types of experiences? By using our 5 senses of course! The key here is to find the right formula that stimulates those senses and bring your audience closer to the experience we always aim to achieve with the organisation of an event.

An event invitation sent out the ‘old-fashioned’ way via post, had its importance: guests would ‘feel’ the event by touching the invitation, feeling the paper, and visualising its content. There is a strong chance that they can even ‘smell’ the event already. This awakening of the senses helps creating the right level of expectations for the event long before it is scheduled to take place. For event professionals however, this is the moment when the experience actually begins to develop.

Pre – and post – event communication are vital for closing the circle around the concept of living an experience. Using the five-senses model as much and as relevantly as possible, will help creating the feeling of excitement and impatience before the event and is expected to reinforce the experience we got the chance to live long after the actual event took place. In conclusion, in order to elevate participants to the active experimentation (the change of behavior or the change of opinion), it all starts with immersing them into an experience, engaging them through triggering the right emotions, by making use of the 5 senses timely and effectively.

“You have to strongly perceive your surroundings, in order to live the experience” and perception is nothing more but the ability to become aware of something through the senses. Live the experience! Perceive the surroundings! Use your 5 senses!

For more information on the Summer Course, please contact Nuraan Hendricks, Marketing and Communications Manager, MCI Amsterdam on


Read more tips here and for more inspiration read our clients success stories here.
Contact us here to find out how we can help you engage and activate your audiences.

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