Sensory Branding: Is There More to Your Brand Than Meets the Eye?

Steve Harvey
Jun 3, 2019 · 5 min read

It’s easy to over-simplify the definition of the term “brand.”

Many companies refine branding down into the choice of a specific series of colors or the design of a particular logo. However, the truth is that your brand can be a complete sensory experience, capable of engaging the emotions of your target audience.

Studies show that the decisions we make as consumers are guided by instinctive, subconscious and emotional factors. In other words, it’s not just what you look like that compels customers to buy from you, it’s also the way you smell, sound, feel and so much more.

With #SensoryBranding, you can unlock brand-new ways of connecting with your target audience and build an experience that truly makes your business stand out.

But how do you make sense of sensory branding?

Making sense of sensory branding

A brand isn’t just a logo or a certain attitude that you infuse into your marketing. Brands are emotional concepts rooted in abstract ideas like human emotion and perception. As various industries grow more competitive, it’s no longer enough to try and make the right impression through visual assets alone.

Today, the best #BrandStrategy is the one that embraces every opportunity to engage customers and takes advantage of all the senses.

For instance, Nike, one of the world’s best-known sports companies, discovered that by simply adding a signature scent to their stores, they could increase purchase intent by 80% among their customers. Similarly, a petrol station and mini-mart improved their coffee sales by 300% after adding the scent of coffee around their fuel pumps.

Other popular stores like Abercrombie & Fitch use similar strategies to define themselves as a #SensoryBrand. For instance, you may have noticed that every Abercrombie store plays loud music to help the company connect with their younger audience and that they all smell like the best-selling “Fierce” scent by Abercrombie & Fitch too.

On the other hand, Airlines like Singapore Airlines bring sensory strategies into everything they do. Not only do they use the same consistent colors in all of their airplanes, but every flight attendant wears the same perfume, and every cabin is decorated with the same high-quality materials. When you take advantage of sensory branding, the touch of silk, the smell of a certain perfume, or even a simple sound can instantly remind your customer of positive moments with your brand.

The channels associated with sensory branding

We’re living in an era when customers need more from their favorite brands. Currently, around 2 in 5 customers say that they’re often overwhelmed by the volume of marketing messages they receive every day. That doesn’t necessarily mean that companies should give up on talking to their target audience. Instead, it means that you need to find a more immersive way to cut through the noise.

Sensory branding gives organizations a variety of ways to create memorable and engaging experiences with their audience through channels like:

  • Sight: Everything from the colors you choose for your website, to the shape of your typography can affect the way that customers feel about you. In an era of ocular overload, today’s businesses need to work harder than ever before to stay top-of-mind with their customers through sight alone.
  • Smell: Smell is one of the most influential senses of all when you’re trying to make an emotional impact on your target audience. The sense of smell is directly connected to the limbic system, which is the part of the brain responsible for controlling both memories and behavior.
  • Sound: Have you ever heard a jingle that stayed in your head for weeks? Audio branding is a crucial part of the sensory branding strategy. Whether it’s the sound of your on-hold music, or the noise your application makes when someone clicks the “Buy Now” button, sound has a significant impact on your customers.
  • Touch: The way that a product feels when you hold it can change your perception of the brand that creates it. For instance, the soft curves on a Dove antiperspirant bottle might remind you of the curves of the female form, identifying Dove as a “feminine” brand.
  • Taste: Companies in the food and beverage industry automatically rely on taste as one of their key #BrandingChannels. However, any business can associate their company with specific flavors. Something as simple as placing a bowl of candies on your reception desk can be enough to remind a customer of you the next time that they taste a similar sugary treat.

Seducing the senses with sensory branding

There’s more than one way to interact with your target audience.

It’s rarely just the appearance of your website or the colors in your logo that will dictate how a consumer feels about you. As the world around us becomes increasingly crowded, businesses are now under more pressure to provide their target audience with a full sensory experience at every possible touchpoint.

Sensory branding can take the emotional impact of your company to the next level and help you to resonate more effectively with your target customer. The more senses you engage, the more opportunities you have to remind your audience of your brand, and what it can do for them. It turns out that the best recipes for #BrandLoyalty involve sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.

To find out how you can use sensory branding to your advantage, click here to find out more about connecting to your customer’s senses. On the other hand, you can always reach out to the branding experts here at Fabrik to learn more about using sensory strategies to your advantage.

Is your company more than meets the eye?

Steve Harvey

Written by

Co-owner of creative agency Fabrik Brands, London.

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