By Carol Chapman, Principal & Co-founder, The Brand Ascension Group
According to Martin Lindstrom, author of Brand Sense, there is a true correlation between the more sensory memories you activate within others, the stronger the bond you create with your brand. Organizations can build a powerful brand by leveraging all the senses within their business, however most businesses tend to leverage just sight and/or sound. Perhaps it is time to focus on more than these two senses—by appealing to all the 5 physical senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and the 6th sense: intuition.
83% of the information people retain has been taken in visually. So, how consistent are you leveraging the sense of sight to be consistent with what your brand stands for?
How consistent is your brand showing up in the colors and graphics that represent your brand through your website, the décor in your office or retail outlet; your marketing materials, signage, the packaging of your products and how you present your services. A great example of a brand that has leveraged sight is Apple with the distinctive stylish design of their computers. Not to mention the sleek design of the iPod, down to the unique smooth look and feel of their earphones. Apple has fully integrated a distinctive visual design into all their products. They’ve been doing it for years.
It’s a great way to leverage and create a distinctive brand. Sound is hard-wired into our emotional circuits. Songs from time past, when you hear them, evoke powerful emotions and memories. Sound is essential to creating the mood of your brand story. A great example is Disney and how they deliberately and carefully choreograph music and sounds reinforcing the entire experience in their theme parks. The music reflects the songs of highly recognized and enduring cartoon characters that have been a part of the Disney experience for years. A sensory experience to delight in.
A variety of surveys have demonstrated that the “olfactory bulbs” in our noses make smell the most impressionable, memory enhancement device of all the senses. Smells invoke a variety of memories within us. Singapore Airlines has been voted one of the best airlines in Asia. They patented a botanical scent and infused that scent throughout the cabin of their aircraft, the towels each passenger receives when they come onboard—even the flight attendants wear this scent. It creates a calming effect – Singapore Air leverages all the senses in the guest experience. I flew them a lot while living in Asia. The scent continues to linger in my memory banks.
A Home nursing care organization (Nurse Next Door) has established a traditional “humble pie” flavor to its brand in their efforts to serve the customer and recover from a mistake. They introduced a few years back and continue to use the humble pie along with a hand-written note of apology to their customers when they make a mistake or receive negative feedback. The CEO reported in their first year of introduction they spent about $1,300 in pies, but estimated they retained over $90,000 worth of continued business. Wow, how creative is that! And they’re not even in the food business.
Our skin is the largest organ in our body and quickly alerts us to a sense of well-being or pain. The touch of a hot pan quickly travels from the skin to the brain and triggers the cortex indicating a warning signal – Ouch! When you think about branding, I have to admit the feel of certain products are important to me in my purchase decision. I buy cutlery based on the size and weight—the heavier and more solid the better. I buy a car, in part, based on the size and feel of the seats, and the feel of the steering wheel. The feel of Bang & Olufsen’s electronics has a unique sensory appeal to their designs. Their tactile designs have enabled them to lead the pack against their competitors.
I’d have to say that Singapore Airlines has demonstrated an understanding in leveraging all of the senses including intuition. I have to admit that my intuitive sense delighted at the thought of flying them given the entire sensory experience. They have integrated all the senses and understand the importance of creating a bond with their customers. Whenever I had to fly a different airline I was truly disappointed—especially when I returned to the U.S. Singapore Air has done a fabulous job appealing to all the senses.
Suffice it to say—the information we take in through the senses is unique to each of us leaving lingering memories either positive or negative. Businesses can leverage the senses, but why haven’t more caught on to this phenomenon. There are huge opportunities just waiting to be birthed by every business, but few companies have integrated them into their brand-building strategies.
So, why don’t you start now? Download this complimentary sensory development tool and begin to build an integrated, powerful branded experience for your customers. Click here for sensory tool download.