Sensory Branding

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on March 05, 2012

In the consumer market of today, with ever increasing products and services it is required that the marketers differentiate their product clearly and create a lasting impression in the minds of the consumer. It has become necessary for marketers to focus not only on the visual and hearing aspects of advertising, but develop a wholesome experience for the consumer and strengthen the identity and image of the brand. The solution to this lies in sensory branding. Sensory branding tries to achieve the involvement of all the senses in relation to a brand.

Sensory Branding

A recent McKinsey report (on the US Market) says that the effect of TV commercials on influencing consumer choices is likely to fall by around 40 % over the coming years. This requires the development of innovative promotional strategies which influence and differentiate the product from others. Sensory branding thus focuses on the stimulation of different senses in order to form an emotional connection with the customer base of the brand. It helps in differentiating the product or service not only on the basis of quality and price but also on its unique set of functional and emotional benefits that it sets to provide.

The 5 senses - sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste can be used in different ways to make an impression on the consumer. The best use of sensory branding has been exhibited by 'Singapore Airlines'. Its in-flight experience and service appeals to all the senses. The fragrance, music and the manner of the flight attendants creates a memorable experience for the customers. The online shopping of clothes has been unsuccessful because buyers cannot touch and feel the product which is necessary for them while purchasing clothes. Savlon was unsuccessful in capturing the market against Dettol because people associated the sting on application and peculiar smell of Dettol with efficiency of an antiseptic.

Sensory branding aims at enhancing the experience of the consumers related to the brand in the real world. It tries to increase the brand recall and retain the brand image by including as many sensory cues as possible while marketing and product development. The signature tune of Airtel makes the people recognize it even in the absence of the logo.

New products are being launched and occupying shelf space on a regular basis. Thus, various innovations are being done in the products and their advertising. Kohinoor launched a new range of rice and packaged it in bright colored packs to differentiate them from other brands occupying shelf in a retail store. The fragrance used and the music played in a retail store are chosen to make the customer stay for longer periods of time in the store. Various unplanned purchases by the shopper depend on the experience of the product, its smell, touch, feel, sight and sound.

Brands understand the need of sensory marketing and implement it to trigger the desired perceptions in the target audience. Kellogg’s has patented a crunchy sound thus inducing the feel of eating cornflakes. Various tea brands have used smell to assure the users of the purity and authenticity of their product. Britannia is using a crunching sound in its advertisements to convey the freshness of the rusk.

Sensory Branding

Sensory branding successfully achieves its motive of influencing the customers' choices in relation to a brand. Only 3% of top 1000 fortune companies have used smell to appeal to the customers, although smell is responsible for generating 75% of our emotions. With ever increasing competition and plethora of information available to the consumers, it is important to differentiate the product from other brands and create the desired impact on consumers. Sensory branding can be useful in this scenario to create a complete experience of the product or service in the real world and act as a useful tool to promote the brand effectively.

This article has been authored by Nikita Singla from NMIMS

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

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