Sensorial marketing: how to better use it in your communication

22 November 2019

Since the 1950s, modern society has been influenced and directed by advertising: the way we dress, comb our hair, live and much more have been dictated by ever-changing advertising standards. Every day we come into contact with thousands of advertisements without hardly realising it and we are also influenced unconsciously.

From the company’s point of view, however, it is crucial that the advertising remains in the mind of the target customer and is not forgotten. This is where ‘sensory marketing’ comes in. It can be defined as marketing that engages consumers’ senses and influences their perception, judgement and behaviour.

The purpose of sensorial branding is to trigger an empathic response in the consumer, i.e. to create an emotional bond with the brand that leads to the choice of the product over others. This approach uses the five senses to convey sensations that strengthen the brand image and introduce association mechanisms to generate engagement. It changes the consumer’s approach to the product, enriching the brand experience with additional emotions, relationships and interactivity in the relationship between the company and the buyers.

This type of promotional activity was born out of the need to go beyond shouted slogans and battles to lower prices: the objective is to make the consumer touch and taste the experience that the product on sale can give. Having a sensory and emotional involvement will be the lever that will push the buyer to choose a brand instead of another: a successful product must be able to activate our senses, it must excite us and provoke visceral reactions, it must make us excited and happy to have a relationship with the brand.

But how can you use the 5 senses of consumers to your advantage?

Sight

Visual marketing focuses on the visual format, i.e. the use of colours, shapes and sizes, not only of the specific images of advertising, but of everything in the field of visuals. For example, the use of blue on web pages inspires reliability and seriousness, green is linked to tranquillity and health, red immediately evokes strength and passion, and so on.
In addition, it is crucial that the first impression of the product remains positively imprinted in the consumer’s memory, so visual marketing also deals with packaging and careful product display strategies.


Hearing

So-called auditory marketing is based on the human brain’s ability to decipher sounds associated with emotions much more quickly than other types of content. Using music and background sounds (laughter, sighs, etc.) in advertisements allows consumers to perceive the feeling they want to be conveyed, even before it is explicitly stated. This makes the user contextualise the content and associate it with the emotion they want to be stimulated. Moreover, it is much easier to remember the song of a commercial than the ad you are seeing.
The use of auditory marketing is also taking place in physical shops, where it has been shown that music can influence both the mood of customers and entice them to buy more.

Tact

Like hearing, touch promotes brand identity. Touch has gained a lot of importance and significance in recent years in the business world. The focus of tactile marketing is on the product packaging, paying particular attention to the materials used, the temperature and the texture of the material: the whole triggers emotions that can bring the product closer and make it desirable.

Olfaction

The advantage of using the sense of smell is closely linked to memory capacity. Visual memory is effective, but in the long term it tends to fade much more than olfactory memory, which remains in the mind and cannot be broken down. In addition, smells and scents have a huge influence on mood and therefore on purchasing behaviour. They can be used as an attractive ploy, drawing the consumer’s attention to the product (such as the scent of freshly baked bread in supermarkets) or as simple accompanying essences (e.g. scents diffused in the shopping environment in order to evoke emotions by focusing on smells perceived as familiar, such as talcum powder which reminds one of childhood).

Taste

Within the limits of possibility, taste can also be stimulated to elicit emotional reactions. It can be involved by telling a story: good storytelling can bring back memories of a particular taste, acting on perception can revive the desire for a sensory stimulus. Or taste can be an ally that triggers particular sensations and perceptions and lead to the purchase of goods other than food.

These arguments, which are effective in terms of ‘physical’ communication (i.e. on the street or in a shop) are, however, extremely more complex when we talk about digital or printed communication. In this case, the best tool we have at our disposal is storytelling: effective storytelling can be the way to directly activate our brain without going through the senses.

Through our mirror neurons and by whispering emotions, we can in fact increase the excitation of the neural circuits normally activated by our senses: mirror neurons are special neurons that are activated in us both when we perform an action and when we observe someone performing the same action. If someone tells us a story, they are able to activate them as if we were living it in person!

The important thing, therefore, is to have something to tell and to be able to convey it straight to the heart of the brain: emotions, memories and sensations are the levers to be used to establish contact and then a relationship with the consumer. We need to orchestrate an effective and emotional narrative that touches the right buttons in our minds. If we indulge in emotions and memories, we become less rational and more prone to impulse buying.

Do you want to know more? Contact us, our team of experts will be able to give you the best advice for truly effective communication… in every sense of the word!