You know what your brand looks like. You have a color scheme, a logo, and beautiful product pictures, but do you know what your brand smells like? Do you know its textures or its tastes?
Go ahead, think about it for a moment, because the answers to these questions are important. New marketing research suggests that a cohesive multi-sensory approach forms much stronger emotional attachments with customers than either a single sensory approach, or isolated sensory efforts.
Senses and Memory
Image via Flickr by GreenFlames09
Businesses have known for a long time that our senses help to form memories. For example, in 1995 Intel added its cheerful, signature four-tone melody to its marketing content, which helped cement its positive image.
Yet, not all senses are equally effective at forming emotional bonds. The brain’s olfactory bulb, which processes smells, connects to the limbic system, also known as the “reptilian brain.” The reptilian brain is an ancient, powerful center of emotions, instincts, and memory storage, which makes smell an extremely effective memory creator.
The brain’s cortex processes words and pictures. The cortex is the seat of rational thought and the newest evolutionary addition to our brain. This means our visual sense is great for analyzing information, but not so good at forming emotional memories.
Eighty-three percent of branded content appeals to our visual sense. At first, this seems logical. It’s far easier to post a billboard, or a Facebook ad, than to get someone to smell something. Appealing to a customer’s “rational brain” is also logical, since free market theory concerns the idea that consumers are rational actors working toward their own enlightened self-interest. However, according to a Harvard University study, “emotions constitute powerful, pervasive, and predictable drivers of decision-making.”
In other words, if you are not incorporating emotion building sensory information, such as sounds or smells, into your content marketing, then you are only appealing to their rational brain. This limp appeal will likely get lost in a sea of similarly uni-dimensional messaging.
At this point you might be thinking, “Great! I’ll just make sure I put some background music in my commercials, maybe pump a scent into my store, and I’ll really stand out from the crowd.”
Not so fast.
While it is important to offer more sensory information, it’s just as important to make sure this sensory information is creating the right effect. For example, many fast food chains smell like stale french fries (aka olfactory sensory information), but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
This is where storytelling, and companies like 522 Productions, becomes so important. Telling a company’s story in a compelling way, 522 specializes in producing high-quality video marketing and video content. Look at a few of their videos and notice how they use sight, sound, and (most importantly), narrative to form an emotional connection with the viewer.
You can create compelling, positive experiences for your customers just by incorporating sensory information. By creating these lasting memories, it will really bring your brand to life.