MEDIA & MARKETING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Rebel & Soul's Kristy Castleton eyes expansion with event technology lab

She aims to conquer Asia Pacific’s events marketing industry through neuroscience and technology.

While other event planners may be busy networking and cold-calling clients, Rebel & Soul founder Kristy Castleton is preoccupied with a more scientific approach to client acquisition these days: Putting up her agency's event technology lab in Singapore this year.

For the 39-year-old entrepreneur, the new event technology lab will take Rebel & Soul to its next level of growth - probably more than any networking effort can.

Castleton explains that Rebel & Soul started in 2014 and in the past three years has become popular as an events agency that deftly uses virtual reality, augmented reality and holographic projects to stage unforgettable events. The new, bigger lab will enable her team to develop even more groundbreaking technologies and creative applications. By staging cooler events, she is banking on the attendees and clients to spread the word like wildfire.

Talking to Castleton, one quickly realises that the lab is part of her masterplan to conquer Asia Pacific's events marketing industry through the powerful combination of neuroscience and technology.

Earlier this year, she launched Rebel & Soul's soon-to-be patented process, INVOLVE, on Richard Branson's Necker Island. INVOLVE makes a bold promise to brands: Your event - and its branding messages - will cut through the glut of marketing and stick to memory like glue. This promise has resonated so far with high-profile brands the agency has already worked with like Heineken, Chanel and MINI and agencies such as Dentsu and Saatchi & Saatchi.

"[Our brain's] programmed to filter out unnecessary information. Unfortunately for brands, that’s most of the information that they are trying to convey," says Castleton. "We have developed a method that works to bypass that filter so that the experience is banked as a long-term memory."

"One of the most powerful ways to engage consumers as part of the INVOLVE process is by creating something new, something the brain has never seen before, so I set about bringing the best in class technologies to Asia and creating in house event technologies," she says.

Clients that consult with Rebel & Soul are presented with an array of technologies ranging from the latest holographic projection materials, virtual reality flying experiences, mind reading coffee machines, to augmented reality golf games, the last of which was recently activated in a ‘beat the pro’s' game at the HSBC Golf on Sentosa.

If there is anything that Castleton has plenty of, it is tenacity, curiosity and a love for new experiences - traits that are driving her agency. In 2008 she was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, a muscle disorder that can make movement almost impossible, and she spent two years unable to work.

“This is where my fascination with the mind and body and specifically neuroscience, was born. I read extensively to understand how our brains are wired and how those wires could be influenced. I transformed myself back to health using those techniques and now apply the same overall principles for influencing consumer behaviour,” she says.

Aside from the new technology lab, Castleton is looking to create Rebel & Soul’s branded “highly experiential” dinner series in venues across Singapore, which allows attendees of charity events to connect with beneficiaries through social media to know more about them.

The agency, as socially conscious business, provides pro bono event consultancy for local charities and non-profit organisations, including Billion Bricks, Thomson Reuters Trust Forum, Buy1Give1, and the 100 Resilient Cities initiative by the Rockefeller Foundation.

“If you didn’t have reason already, by connecting, you will have given a family in Ethiopia access to clean water for a day. 

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