Sensory Marketing: Using The Senses for Brand Building

By on March 3, 2014

sensory marketingSensory marketing (also known as sensory branding) is a type of marketing that uses the power of the human senses to appeal to the target audience at an emotional level. A multi sensory marketing or brand experience generates emotions and feelings that create a stronger and more relevant perception of a brand in the consumers mind.

The Science behind Sensory Marketing

We human have always been sentient beings. Feelings and emotions have always been more important to us than cold logic or facts. But the extent to which our senses or emotions influence our perception was more of a mystery until recent times. In recent times scientists have come up with compelling evidence that explain how our five senses interact with each other to influence how and why we like or dislike things from the food we eat to the environment we live in.

Research has also concluded that a complete experience involving as much of our senses as possible is far more effective in brand recognition than involving only one sense. A multi-sensory approach to marketing or branding is more in tune with what neuroscience research has shown till now.

Sensory Marketing and its Five Elements

Now let us understand how the five senses can be leveraged to provide a multi sensory branding experience.

Visual Branding – The Power of Sight

Since the genesis of advertising and branding our sight has played a major role. Advertising and branding, over the years, has predominantly catered to our eyes. And rightly so.

  • 92.6% of the population puts more emphasis on visual factors such as colour and shape when buying a product.
  • Visual factors such as color shape are dominant factors in creating first impressions about a product.
  • Color influences on- shelf product visibility in a mall by as much as 80%.
  • Colors ads are read more by 42% than black and white ads.
  • Market researchers have also determined the influence of different colors on different kinds of shoppers.

It is no wonder that maintaining color and shape consistency across all marketing and branding collaterals is one of the main pillars of branding

But only the visual appeal of a product is not enough for full experience of the brand. And that’s where other senses come in.

Auditory Branding – The Power of Hearing

Different sounds evoke different feelings in us and we have always been sensitive to different sounds.

  • Experiments conducted in a restaurant showed that when music that is slower than the rhythm of heartbeats was played, the customers ate more.
  • When whirring and tinkling sounds were removed from slot machines in Las Vegas, earnings fell by 24%.

Examples of Auditory Branding

  • Audi associated the sounds of a steady heartbeat, a piano and a breath with its automobiles.
  • Mercedes Benz assigned a team to create the most appealing sound for a closing card door.
  • The distinctive “chug” of a Harley Davidson motorcycle has elevated its position among motorcycles. In India, Royal Enfield uses the same sound to distinguish its motor cycles from the rest.
  • In the earlier days of radio, jingles used to be the most important tool for brand recall and association.

Olfactory Branding – The Power of Smell

Our sense of smell is the most impressionable of all the five senses and every smell evokes a distinctive feeling.

  • Just 1 drop of perfume is enough to be noticed in a three room apartment.
  • Our sense of smell triggers as much as 755 of our emotions.
  • Smell is a major distinguishing factor for what we taste.
  • Human beings are capable of distinguishing over 10,000 different odors.

Examples of Olfactory Branding

  • Rolls Royce combines the smells of mahogany wood, motor oil and leather to convey the luxurious identity of the brand.
  • Some real estate companies sold more houses by using the aromas of fresh baked cookies and popcorn (to evoke memories of childhood and togetherness).

Gustative Branding – The Power of Taste

People can detect 5 basic tastes – sweet, salty, sour, bitter & umani. But combined with our olfactory sense, we can perceive a variety of flavors and these flavors can be associated with a variety of feelings and emotions.

Example of Gustative Branding

  • In 2007 Skoda Fabia baked a cake that looked exactly like the real car and they filmed this whole process. They wanted to project Fabia as a “sweet & tasty” car. During the first week of the campaign, sales went up by 160 percent.

Tactile Branding – The Power of Touch

Human skin has more than 4 million sensory receptors that can be easily influenced through the material, softness, texture and weight of your product. Touch induces a personal association with the product and in turn, a brand.

Examples of Tactile Branding

  • A fruit juice brand using the texture of actual fruit in the product packaging to make the juice feel more “real.”
  • The unique metallic surface of the iPhone can be associated with the brand even without seeing it.

Examples of Multi – Sensory Marketing – Using all the Senses to create an “Experience”

Apple: Apple is famous for creating a unique brand experience using all the senses. A customer can “experience” the brand in its full form in any Apple concept store. In any of these stores customer can see, touch, listen and even smell Apple.

Starbucks: Starbucks firmly believes in the philosophy of providing a complete brand experience by engaging the various senses. A Starbucks restaurant smells like freshly grinded coffee. They even stopped serving breakfast because the smell of eggs interferes with the rich aroma of coffee. Add to it, the cozy interiors, the nice baristas and you get the “Starbucks experience”.

Singapore Airlines: They pioneered sensory branding the airline industry. The staff uniform, the make-up of the attendants, their mannerisms, the unique perfume inside the flight all evoked feelings of comfort and luxury and and uniquely associated these feelings with the brand.

About Vicky