The Sense of Brands
Let’s face it; we are surrounded by a number of crazy branding tactics which companies come up with to create a pleasant aura for their brand. Marketeers go to daring extents to create an alluring personality for their brand-often, for which, accused for targeting the person’s subconscious. Sensory branding is one such tactic which targets the subconscious mind. If you think you are not a victim of sensory branding, let us tell you what sensory branding is. Sensory branding is a form of marketing where marketers try to influence people’s perception about the brand and their buying behavior by targeting their senses. For instance, Starbucks: Starbucks firmly believes in providing a complete and unique brand experience by engaging the various senses. A Starbucks restaurant smells like freshly grinded coffee. They’ve stopped serving breakfast because the smell of eggs interferes with the rich aroma of coffee. Add to it, the cozy interiors, the nice baristas and you get the “Starbucks experience”.
Sensory Branding aims at targeting either or all of the five senses, enticing people into accepting the brand as a companion they would love to keep. Sensory Branding can be differentiated into five different forms depending on the specific sensory organ which is targeted to send pleasing hints to the brain.
Forms of Sensory Branding
Sight: Visual communication is obviosly the most effective, surpassing all the other sensory communications. Using logo, images, fonts, colors and themes to brand a product or business is a good example.
For e.g: Dairy Milk Silk ads showing the smooth texture of the chocolate, people eating the chocolate while it drips and covers their mouth.
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. This is the very reason why ads have jingles. People often recollect brands because of their jingles. A good example is the Nokia ‘Connecting people’ tone. Britania’s “Tin-tin-ti-tin”. Nirma washing powder’s song, “Washing powder, Nirma.”
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.
For e.g: Singapore Airlines has used its scent called Stefan Florida Waters, on its hot towels and on its flight attendants. This way the plane smells fresh when you board, and the scent is spread every time an attendant walks past. According to the airline this enhances the travelers experience of a relaxed flight. After your holiday you will want to book with them again.
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. McDonald’s markets its burgers by invoking taste memories and create a brand by making all its burgers taste the same – whether you buy it in Mumbai, Miami, Moscow or Johannesburg.
Touch: The feel of a product – from a patterned carbon fibre 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.
For e.g: A light-sensitive chip was placed in a special jacket in the newspapers by Volkswagen. The moment a reader opened that particular section of the paper, the vibrator was activated. The headline read, “Feel the shiver of excitement.”
This just goes to prove how important branding is to a product. Brands are personalities in themselves, and they need to have a certain aura which is created through these branding tactics. Though clearly the subconscious of the person is targeted, it’s not hoodwinking. It’s really just adding characteristic traits to the brand.