senses

What two senses get all the attention in advertising? Sight and sound. Print, broadcast, and digital media usually reach only these two, and often just one. In his new book, About Face, Dan Hill spends some time focusing on how reaching the other senses with your marketing can boost sales. Here are a few sensory snippets Hill offers up:

Smell

  • A study showed a 40% improvement in the mood of subjects when exposed to pleasant fragrances.
  • Subjects paid $10 more for shoes in a scented sales area vs. unscented.
  • Only 3% of Fortune 1,000 firms have distinct scents for their brands.

Touch

  • Skin is the bodies largest organ.
  • Touch has a profound impact on well-being: massaged babies add weight up to 50% faster than non-massaged babies.

Taste

  • People have 10,000 taste buds.
  • Marketers often ignore taste due to health concerns about tasting/ingesting something new.

Multisensory Engagement

Here’s the kicker: For products where a certain sense was dominant, e.g., taste or smell, Hill’s firm, Sensory Logic, has found that “the smell, taste, and touch of a product create an engagement level that’s three to four times higher than the engagement level stimulated by merely seeing the product being displayed.

Perhaps not every product is a candidate for multi-sensory marketing, but a little creative thinking can find ways to involve unexpected senses. Hill cites the example of Sony incorporating a bubble-wrap texture in bus-stop ads for its Playstation 2. While that textured surface didn’t feel like a game console, it did engage another sense for viewers. (And, perhaps it evoked a little of the excitement we feel when we unbox a new piece of consumer electronics gear.) Another example of seemingly unrelated (but effective) sensory branding is the oft-cited signature scent used by Singapore Airlines.

Taste is indeed a challenge. While food stores and restaurants can offer samples (simultaneously reaching touch, smell, sight, and taste), it’s more difficult for marketers without that kind of dedicated venue. Mailed or hand-distributed product samples are one popular method, but one firm, First Flavor, is offering Peel ‘N Taste strips that would greatly simplify the logistics of reaching consumer taste buds. (Of course, a little flat rectangle doesn’t do much for sight, touch, or smell.)

Whatever your product, it makes sense (sorry!) to get beyond sight and sound in your marketing.
[Image via Shutterstock]

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