Branding and marketing, since its inception, have always taken advantage of what appeals to the senses — the most capturing colours, designs, fonts, etc. Sensory branding is not exactly a new concept, it has just been coined recently. As per Martin Lindstorm, the bestselling author of ‘Brand Sense: Sensory Secrets Behind the Stuff We Buy’, if a branding strategy can tap more than three senses of the customer, their engagement has a chance of growing over 70 per cent. Now that’s what we would call a winning strategy, and that’s all sensory branding is about; tapping the senses of your target audience, in the best possible way. Despite this important statistic, Lindstorm also reveals that only 3 per cent of the Fortune 1000 companies actually make use of this branding technique. Preposterous!
So, the million-dollar question is, how to do it?
Sell that Smell
In the 90s, Rolls Royce realised that how the premium smell of its leather upholstery appealed to its buyers. It played its branding into that direction and thus issues a full-print advert quoting “This, in essence, is Rolls Royce,” in the July 199 issue of Architectural Digest. Rolls Royce reinvented the smell of its 1965 model. It then went on to offer a test drive to the potential buyers of the luxury vehicle. Needless to say, it was one successful campaign. The sense of smell facilitating sales is also quite evident in bookstores. In today’s digital era too, numerous reading pages build up traffic on the fact that there is a certain smell that resides in the pages, old or new.
In childhood, elders used to say, that if you relate the text to visual elements, it will be ingrained in your mind forever. Let’s just say, that generation foresaw the digital advent and gave us the key to a crucial branding tactic. Interestingly, this is one form of sensory branding which has been used well by brands. Head of Sensory Design Research Lab at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, Geoff Crook, states that nearly 83 per cent of the information that is retained by people, is visual. Even Lindstorm agrees as he states that even the sales of perfume, an industry entirely reliant on smell, is dependent on the sense of sight. He goes on to say that nearly 40 per cent of perfume sales is dependent on the packaging or the design of the bottle.
For instance, if you see the logos of Apple or McDonalds even via your peripheral vision, it’s unlikely that you’ll make a mistake. Their logos have been so well thought out in terms of colours and formation, that they are embedded in our very senses. The commercials and advertisements too play a huge role here, as they appeal to two senses; sight as well as sound. Together, they impact the psyche of the customer in a huge manner.
The Midas ‘Touch’
Touch is another sense which is extremely important, often overlooked. This sense is especially required in fabric purchases. An excellent example of utilising branding by way of touch was when Asda, a British supermarket chain, tried the cut-out technique at its outlet. They simply cut a portion of the plastic packaging of their toilet paper rolls, so that the customers Ould actually touch and feel the texture before making an informed choice. Simple and effective.
Tap to that Sound
Remember how there are signature tunes of every toon that you have watched? Be it that of Warner Brothers Looney Tunes, or even Disneys cartoons, or the famous roar of the MGM lion before Tom & Jerry kicked in. You’d recognise that sound anywhere, wouldn’t you? These are perfect examples of sound branding; creating tunes and sounds so powerful that they are remembered for an eternity, creating an inseparable bond between the brand and its customer.
‘The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy’, a book by Joel Beckerman and Tyler Gray, states the same. Be it the signature Apple tune in an iPhone or any other device, or even the crunch that the potato chips made, everything is catering to familiar sounds which the ultimate consumer can remember.
Taste that Successful Campaign
The biggest example of this is something which is in every household across the world; Kellogg’s cornflakes. The quintessential crunch and taste has become synonymous with the brand, so much so that even if other brands come up with similar product, Kellogg’s is the name that comes to the mouth when one wants to place an order. Do you know that this crunch sound isn’t natural?
It was actually conceptualised by Kellogg’s branding agency and eventually customised and created in a laboratory. It was made sure that this be the sound that people would associate with Kellogg’s cornflakes’ unique taste, or the lack of it. The result is for all to see.
Sensory branding is the past, present, and future of branding. Familiarise yourself with it to reap long-term benefits.