What is Sensory Marketing?
Sensory marketing is when a business uses many different senses to create a positive impression for a brand. Appealing to multiple senses and sensory cues helps in winning a customer’s attention and trust by appealing to each of the five senses. Put simply, sensory marketing involves implementing a marketing campaign that appeals to the audience’s five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.
Using sensory marketing tactics involves finding creative ways to appeal to the needs and wants of customers, and to make a lasting impression through unique marketing tools that can trigger sensory stimuli.
Human beings make decisions using a lot more cues than just their visual sense. Sensory perception extends to taste, touch, smell, and sound, which play a big part in the feelings we have about a brand. In fact, your brand personality, and brand identity can be shaped just as much by the sensory aspect of what you do as much as your pricing, service, or any other aspect.
In this article, we will try to give you a basic idea and show a few examples of sensory marketing from renowned brands.
Why Does Sensory Marketing Work?
Today, great marketing is all about the customer experience. This is as true for something like website design as it is for product creation. If the user isn’t having a great time, none of it matters.
As you can imagine, sensory marketing ties into this concept quite nicely.
Because it’s all about enhancing customer experience, sensory marketing has become a go-to tactic for many multinational brands. For example, Abercrombie & Fitch and Dunkin’ Donuts, both used sensory marketing to increase sales at one South Korea outlet by 29 percent.
Sensory marketing provides a complete experience. For this reason, it stands out as a uniquely interactive way to win audience attention. Sometimes, you may need to focus on more than one of the media senses to make a bigger impact and achieve better results.
Example of sensory marketing by renowned brands:
1. Sensory Branding by Visa
As mentioned above, Visa has started incorporating a sensory branding experience at the end of their users’ transactions. That’s because they’ve found that sound plays a part in how consumers make purchases.
Once a Visa cardholder uses their card and their transaction is officially complete, consumers hear a unique sound — one the company worked long and hard to perfect. When customers hear this sound, they know their purchase was finalized successfully and securely. This type of sensory branding provides comfort and consistency for Visa cardholders. The Visa Checkout sound fosters a feeling of trust and safety that consumers associate with the brand.
2. Sensory Branding by Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines’ branding targets multiple senses — specifically, scent and sight. The airline has a one-of-a-kind, refreshing, and subtle scent (rose, lavender, and citrus) worn by all flight attendants that’s also sprayed onto their towels and throughout other elements throughout services. This specific smell is one you’ll only experience while flying with the airline.
Additionally, the airline requires all flight attendants to wear “The Singapore Girl” uniform, in the color and pattern that matches their earned designation. These sensory branding examples are uniquely Singapore Airlines and add a professional, high-end, and consistent experience for the flyers who make up their target audience.
3. Sensory Branding by Apple
Apple taps into numerous senses at once with its branding. Their stores, for example, are all white, minimalist, and clean — this gives customers the feeling of a modern, sleek, and high-end tech company. Their packaging provides the same feeling through a similar look. In addition to sight and touch, Apple targets its customers through sound.
For example, when one of the hundreds of millions of iPhone users go to lock their iPhones, the devices all make the same, identifiable, and memorable noise.
The lock noise sounds a bit like something is latching or clicking together, which contributes to users feeling as though they’re closing their phone securely. This sound is universal among all iPhones which provide a sense of consistency and familiarity.
4. Sensory Branding by Starbucks
The smell of fresh coffee in all Starbucks stores is known to be strong — that’s because every store is required to grind their unique coffee beans. This allows for the coffee aroma to float around the store and hit customers the moment they walk through the door.
Starbucks ensures the aroma is potent in its stores so that it elicits a sensory reaction from customers. The company does this even though it has been found that it’d be more cost-effective to grind and package the beans, and then send them to individual stores.
This would also allow the baristas more time to focus on other tasks. However, Starbucks knows its stores would no longer have the same aroma if they made this change. Instead, they go for the memorable, soothing, and consistent aroma their coffee beans provide for customers in stores across the globe to help boost customer loyalty and improve sales.
5. Sensory Branding by Mastercard
Mastercard is using sensory branding to create a new identity for consumers using their credit cards — the “sonic identity”, to be exact. Consumers hear the sonic sound when they complete a transaction. the sound is meant to symbolize the intersection of the red and yellow circles in Mastercard’s logo.
A sonic sound is a form of sensory branding that consumers hear while shopping with their Mastercards online, in stores, and while using voice search. The noise provides a sense of security and consistency — consumers know their transactions were successful due to the familiar sound. Additionally, although the sonic sound isn’t actually made by the circles in the Mastercard logo intersecting, it still provides an imaginary visual experience for customers, too.
Embracing the science of sensory marketing
As consumers from every background begin to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of marketing messages they have to contend with, it’s crucial for brands to start re-thinking the way they engage with their audience.
Research suggest that shoppers are continually feeling a range of different emotions when they connect with brands – both positive and negative. The best way to make sure that your customers remember you is to manipulate those feelings through sensory experiences.
A sensory marketing strategy is one of the smartest ways for any company to trigger emotion instantly in their audience and maintain long-term engagement. Whether it’s the color of your product packaging or the signature scent in your stores, the more you can reach out to your audience’s senses, the more likely they are to remember you and the things that you sell.
While getting to the bottom of sensory marketing can seem complicated at first, the truth is that any brand can take advantage of this simple marketing tactic. All you need to do is figure out how to translate the critical characteristics of your brand into compelling sensory experiences.
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