Sensory experiences have the power to create strong memories, intensify our experience, trigger powerful emotions and tap into unconscious desires. Our favourite things frequently multi-sensory like luxury leather, cool cut grass, a lullaby, Playdoh, a Ferrari, a kiss or a kitten. They appeal to the senses and they touch our hearts.
Brands put a lot of thought into how they look, but very few consciously pay attention to the way they are experienced. Yet the more senses you appeal to, the stronger your relationship will be. Engaging all the senses builds captivating brands, creates desire and establishes loyalty which transcends logic and dependence on price and competition.
Studies prove that not only does it make good commercial sense to consider all five senses, but it is critical for successful brands of the future. For most companies this is uncharted territory.
Our senses are all so closely inter-related, they can't be approached in isolation. What you see, affects what you hear (have you come across the McGurk affect? See here..) and taste and smell and so on. Multi-sensory design must consider the impact on the other senses, on perception and on emotions.
Decisions are frequently made on instictive reactions to stimulus, media and our environments. We might like to believe that decision making is a process of careful analysis, but in reality our decicion making is an emotional response based on our senses, before the cognitive process has even begun. So once it starts, the 'thinking' part of the processing is frequently to post-rationalise.
In the end, it comes back to love. Sensory branding, like life, is about touching people's hearts.
Commerce, customer retention, attention, attractiveness, mood and memory are all proven to be dramatically improved by altering the olfactory landscape. Smell has the strongest power of recall, leaping straight to the heart, and giving direct access to the gallery of memory and emotion. Smell is a powerful tool that can be used to boost your brand, retail and customer experiences. It flows with untapped potential yet it is frequently left to chance. In addition, following our nose frequently leads to the discovery of new commercial opportunities. Not to be sniffed at.
Taste is one of our greatest sensual pleasures: without it life can seem bland, yet it is a preoccupation frequently left to food and beverage based businesses. Taste works intimately with smell and it is exclusive to physical location but it could play a lead role in an experience like popcorn at the movies. Taste offers the opportunity to seduce, developing new revenue streams and increasing the exposure of your brand.
Our response to sound is emotional. It has the power instantly to engage people. Music, voice and sounds define mood, tone and pace, and enable us to speak directly to our audience across cultural and language barriers. The way a brand speaks and the stories it tells are a critical part of bringing a brand to life and differentiating it from its competitors whether written or spoken. With the right music customers stay longer, spend more, and are more likely to return. Sound also offers great opportunities as a mnemonic, navigation tool and revenue generator.
Visual design is the sensual territory most covered in brand development. Images communicate complex stories, emotions, styles, impressions, associations and moods in an instant, offering instant clues and recognition across all mediums. When we see thousands of brands every day on shelves, online and in ambient media, it is hard to stand out. It is vital to consider how sight works with the other senses in order to maximise . Visual theatre, performance, wayfinding and the use of new technologies are powerful tools in the visual medium to create a point of difference.
We use touch to understand the world around us and gain pleasure through tactile experience. Through touch, things become real. The way something feels is essential to good design and can become as definitive as visual identity. Over 60% of customers buying cars make their decisions by the way the interior feels and smells. At Vetyver, we believe that touch is much broader than the directly physical. Each touchpoint on the customer journey affects the perception of a brand. By making an experience personal and tangibly pleasurable you can create strong emotional connections, memorability and trust.