It’s a sad fact, but research suggests that we remember only 5% of what we see. It’s perhaps useful when we are reeling from the effects of an awful film or some messy road kill, but it leads to a bit of head scratching when a client can’t recall something we did a year ago, that we saw as truly unforgettable. But today, with a little imagination, Brands and Companies really can leap off a page.
Brands and Companies still need to look great in print or online, but we can do so much more than look good – branding can make real impressions on all the other senses as well. And it’s not that new – we have been used to multi-sensory branding for a while. The uplifting ‘de-de-de-derrr’ of Microsoft’s Intel inside, or the God like celebratory boom of your iMac a second after you fire it up – they are sonic logos, they are as regular as our morning coffee, and been waking us up for a couple of decades already. And the next generation is already here – the pin sharp satisfaction of iPhone or iPad keyboard clicks, which stays satisfactory for the 2 minutes that it takes to set our preferences. They have quickly become synonymous in serving to remind that we have just made another sure investment. And when it comes to continuing the sensory experience, Apple do it well – who hasn’t enjoyed the intimate first touch with an Apple product as we undress it from its packaging? Apple put us in touch beautifully with our senses, never failing to remind us that we really have invested in a quality product – just feel how the shiny black screen contrasts so perfectly with that mat laminated varnish of the waxy white box.
Walk past a bakery, or a café roasting real coffee – for a moment we are in Paris or Milan. Good or bad, we really do notice what goes up our nose. For those lucky enough to know, the interior of an Aston Martin smells like a Louis Vuitton handbag in a gentleman’s lounge in Mayfair – and James Bond would probably smell the same. And who doesn’t feel nostalgic when clearing up ‘Play-Doh’ ? The salty sweet smell has been part of the brands global success for over 50 years – it comes as no surprise, that the smell, undeniably the Brands most distinctive attribute, has been copyrighted. Café Nero, Aston Martin or Play-Doh – when it comes to recognising who they are, a lot of it is to do with knowing exactly where we are.
Well-being for the wallet.
It would be difficult to rival Play-Doh when it comes to a scented brand, but many Companies are already using scent to make their customers feel good. – the automotive sector is a prime example. Pitched to reduce stress levels while driving to important meetings or enduring long road-trips with the kids, a premium Japanese car brand experimented with bringing a discerning choice of diffused in-car scents, at the touch of a button. The idea was pulled, when tests revealed that those at the wheel were becoming just a little too relaxed, but the science and psychology of scenting has continued, with many car brands today diffusing the smell of green tea and lavender in and around the areas of showroom sales areas or service desks. When it comes to paying, it seems that essential oils can help massage cards from wallets and pacify the initial shock of being presented with costly service bills or deposit payments.
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When it comes to branding, the majority of budget will go on the visual – because it’s undeniably easy to see. Visual elements are easily accountable – it’s the simple fact as to why Brands are missing opportunities to build a deeper sensory experience into their identities.
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Explore new dimensions.
When it comes to pushing identities forward, sensory opportunities of sound, touch and scent are still remarkably ignored when compared to how they can influence the customer or consumer experience. Brands and Companies should consider a wider approach to their marketing and think carefully about which senses to target, and why. If a Brand can target all senses, it can touch and impact its customers completely. Whether rolling out tactile, sonic or scented identities that can help to define a brand just as much as the way it looks. These are exciting and surprising realms that can be pursued and exploited to bring real stand-out. So, the next time you consider where to put your budget, lift your logo up and away from the page or screen, and start planning for wholly immersive experiences to bring new emotion and closer connection between you and your clients or consumers. Sight, sound, smell and touch, aren’t just senses – they are perhaps as yet, unexplored portals of communication opportunity, ready to transport your Company or Brand to just about everywhere.