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Sensory Marketing: Use the Five Senses to Create Memorable Brand Experiences

​​Traditionally, marketing and branding have been considered in visual terms, where a brand is the result of copy and design coming together to create a specific personality or feel. But what if customers could experience a brand, not just through what they see or read, but through all their senses, like touch, taste, sound, and smell? This multi-sensory style of marketing is known as sensory marketing.


What is Sensory Marketing?

Sensory marketing appeals to a customer’s five senses to create a positive brand impression. Think of your favorite smells and sounds, like freshly baked bread or the trickle of water over stones, and the intense emotional impression these sensory experiences leave you with. The goal of sensory marketing is to forge similarly intense connections with brands, to foster customer loyalty and brand affinity.

Like any good branding, sensory marketing speaks to specific customer needs. However, instead of speaking to these needs through strictly visual means, sensory marketing makes use of tools and techniques that trigger all of the senses

What Are Some Examples of Sensory Marketing?

1. Sight and Sensory Marketing

The backbone of all branding and marketing begins with sight. Companies spend a lot of time and money choosing and testing colors, text, graphics, photography, video, and animation to see how their intended customer base will respond to their brand. This is because sight is, for most, the primary sense people use to orient themselves in the world.

Strong, coherent, and consistent visuals are part of any successful brand story in physician, digital, and social spaces. For example, when you interact with a company like Mejuri online, everything from the color palette to the lighting in their photography is consistent with the visual experience you’ll have in one of their stores.

2. Sound and Sensory Marketing

Jingles and commercial tunes might be the first thing that comes to mind when considering how sound might play into sensory marketing, but the truth is, the way brands use sound has evolved and grown over time, especially with the rise of smart home tech.

Alexa, the voice of Amazon’s smart home speaker and personal AI, has such a distinctive voice, cadence, and way of speaking, that she has become a household fixture for many families. Similarly, Google Nest requires users actually say “Okay Google” to interact with the AI, creating a whole new language within the household where customers aren’t passive recipients of brand sound, but active contributors.

3. Smell and Sensory Marketing

No one in the branding world can talk about smell and marketing without instantly thinking of Abercrombie & Fitch and their signature cologne. That smell is familiar to anyone who has walked into one of their stores or worn an item of their clothing. For those who wore Abercrombie & Fitch as a teenager, that scent can transport them back to a specific time and a place, full of memory. Scent can trigger a deep, emotional affinity. This is because scent is thought to be the most emotional of all the senses, as it is processed in the part of the brain responsible for memory.

4. Taste and Sensory Marketing

While other sensory marketing techniques can be applied across multiple industries, taste is one sense whose applications are mostly to be found within the food and beverage space. Like smell, taste is a deeply emotional sense, and companies who have cornered a specific taste can build off the success of that emotional connection.

Some companies have found ways to integrate familiar and much-loved childhood tastes into different forms. Think the Oreo McFlurry at McDonald’s or the Oreo Blizzard at Dairy Queen. Oreo is such a distinct flavor that fast-food chains partner with Oreo so they can offer their customers that special cookies and cream taste.

5. Touch and Sensory Marketing

The sumptuous feel of a velvet couch in a changing room. Self-serve order iPads. Today’s successful brands craft touch-based customer experiences in their flagship stores and pop-up shops. But brick-and-mortar isn’t the only opportunity for brands to speak to their customers through touch. Consider Casper mattresses and their 100-night risk-free sleep trial. Customers are able to order a mattress to their home and experience the feel of Casper’s unique memory foam for themselves, without ever setting foot in a store.

Why is Sensory Marketing Important to Brands?

Sensory marketing is a unique way to win customers and build lasting relationships in today’s digital marketing, in-person marketing, and social media marketing landscapes. The more associations brands build across the five senses, the more points of reference customers have for experiencing that brand. Sensory marketing is vital because it allows customers to experience a brand personality and story on multiple levels, and increases the chances that one of those levels will resonate.


Choose Fifth and Cor to Create Sensory Marketing Experiences

Curious to see what sensory marketing can do for your brand? Learn about how Fifth and Cor can provide sensory marketing for your brand and help you build lasting customer relationships.


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