A Short Guide to Sensory Branding

sensory marketing

Marketing today is almost just about branding – building a business or product name and marketing it to make the service or product on offer synonymous with the name.  There are many forms of branding today and sensory branding is the most intriguing, effective and to some extent challenging.

What is sensory branding?

Sensory branding is a form of marketing where marketers try to influence people’s buying behavior by implanting subconscious sensory triggers that affect the target’s decision making.  For instance, a perfume marketer can market a product as ‘sexy and feminine with Jenifer Lopez’s allure’.  Although shoppers have to smell the fragrance to understand it, the message itself is passed through sensory means.

 Forms of Sensory Branding

Sensory branding involves manipulating all the five human senses: visual, audio, smell, taste and touch.

  • Sight: Visual communication is the most effective marketing tool that often precedes all the other sensory communications.  Using a logo, images, fonts, colors and themes to brand a product or business is a good example.
  • Hearing: Second most effective and favorite sense used by marketers, audio communication is a strong connect to auditory senses that is easy to target and easy to deliver to the target audience.  A good example is the Nokia ‘Connecting people’ tone.
  • Smell: The Olfactory sense happens to be the most responsive and least ignored of the five senses.  Smell invokes memories of people, places, items and situations associated with a smell since the brain does not filter or analyze smell.
  • Taste: The food industry, in particular, capitalizes on the use of taste to market products and build and promote a brand.  Taste can be a powerful sense to use to sway a customer and create a habit.  McDonalds markets its burgers by invoking taste memories and create a brand by making all its burgers taste the same – whether you buy it in the Miami, Moscow or Johannesburg.
  • Touch: The feel of a product – from a patterned carbon fiber back of a smartphone to the smooth touch of a fabric washed with detergent X – is a major drive for many product sales.  Many people don’t shop for some items online for the sole reason that they cannot feel the product.