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The pandemic has left everyone emotionally, physically and financially shattered. The decisions taken are now more precocious. The consumers are simply tired of the business advertisement running up and down wherever the sight goes. Not to blame them and cannot blame the businesses as well. The past one and a half years have been a lot more than tough for all of us. From frequent lockdowns to the “new normal” lifestyles, more or less, everything seems to be retailored, including consumer behaviour.

Businesses are desperately trying to retain their customers by displaying ads in almost every place possible. Be it social media, emails, OTC channels, every platform is filled with promotions. Thankfully, the consumers have the option of blocking the ads and moving promotional emails to spam, however, this does not solve the problems for the businesses.

The time has been cynical for all, but the businesses need to understand the changing consumer behaviour on every front, especially emotionally. If you still want to connect with your customers, you have to know at the right door, at the right time, in the right manner. The strategies that worked before the pandemic, have no stand today. Unquestionably, you have to revise your plans and strategies to retain and attract customers. But the question is – HOW?

The key to this locked puzzle could be – Sensory Marketing. NOw the next question that might pop up in your head is – How digital sensory marketing is the key to appealing to today’s consumer? Well, keep reading and you will get the answer.

How Sensory Marketing Is Attracting The Customers
Sensory marketing is not all that new. However, the idea of adapting this marketing strategy digitally is what is creating the sensation amongst the marketers as well as the consumers. Before we dive into what is sensory marketing and how it can help your brand, let me just quickly jot down a statistic:

The research says that if any brand is able to trigger more than three senses of the five, the brand’s engagement is likely to increase to 70%. 

The above number might have given you some clue about the power of sensory marketing. However, the underlying question is still unanswered, how any marketing strategy can trigger the senses of the consumer, that too in the online world, digitally?

If it would have been in the real world, the concept was understandable, when the customer visited the brick and mortar outlet, you could trigger sound, sight, touch, smell and taste senses somehow. But how is it even possible digitally? Well, it may be surprising for those of you who are not already aware of this marketing tactic, but trust me – It Is POSSIBLE.

How? Keep reading…..

How Sensory Marketing Evokes The Emotions And How It Works
The senses play a key role in consumer perception and exert a powerful influence on purchasing decisions. Marketers have been trying for a long to integrate the senses into marketing and branding strategy, either fully or partially. Today, sensory marketing is recognized as a fundamental tool to strengthen the link between the brand and the consumer, stimulating all the senses and generating emotions.

As part of the marketer’s quest to connect and adapt to constantly evolving and increasingly demanding consumers, sensory marketing is now considered a priority activity. Sensory marketing uses the five senses to influence perceptions, memories and learning processes, with the aim of manipulating the motivations, desires and behaviours of consumers. The goal is to create a sensory experience that strengthens the connection with users through a process that involves both the rational and emotional parts of the brain, albeit to varying degrees.

The development of sensory marketing is enforced mainly by two factors.
•    The first factor is scientific research, especially in the field of neuroscience, which is closely linked to the marketing function. Neuroscience helps us understand the brain processes involved in perception and behaviour, as well as the role emotion and reason play.
•    The second factor is the evolution of the markets. Today’s markets are increasingly competitive. Brands and their ability to differentiate are more important than ever, and buying behaviour is increasingly driven by emotional factors rather than rational processes.

How To Connect To Your Customer’s Senses?
Emotions play a role in marketing now, more than ever. If you want your customers to believe in your brand, you need to start by creating emotional appeal. Think of it this way: the more you connect emotionally with your readers, the more likely they are to remember your brand. This, in turn, will also give you the opportunity to appeal to other senses.

Before moving forward on how your brand can make the most of it, let us see a few examples of who used this marketing strategy even before the pandemic broke and excelled.

•    Dunkin ‘Donuts in South Korea, who performed its company’s jingle on various buses while a spray gave off a coffee aroma. The result was a 16% increase in visits to Dunkin ‘Donuts near bus stops and a 29% increase in sales at these locations.
•    Then there is the BMW M5. To enhance the sporty feel of the car, the model amplified the engine sounds through the car’s speakers even when the audio system was turned off.
•    In the world of hospitality, creating a welcoming and comfortable experience is essential. And for Hyatt Place, scent plays a big role in its appeal. The hotel’s signature aroma, “Seamless”, “provides a sense of comfortable elegance and calm”. Being “fluent” across the 300 Hyatt Place properties has been shown to enhance the visitor experience and increase brand awareness for thousands of customers.
•    When it comes to colour, Behr believes there is more than meets the eye. They created a sensory experience for social media fans through an ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) video of the painting process, complete with soothing sounds and satisfying visual effects like dripping paint.
•    Falling asleep can be very nice. But Casper, the first digital boxed mattress company, lacked showrooms where consumers could test their beds. As a solution, The “Casper Dreamery”, created a comfortable space where people in a hurry can rest and recharge their batteries quickly. For $ 25, customers can slip into silk pyjamas and sleep in a “nap corner” with a Casper bed and pillow, allowing them to smell the IRL product.

So you see, the strategy has proven to be successful in the past and is on the run for another win now in the post-pandemic period.

How You Can Use Sensory Marketing Strategy For Your Brand
The sensory strategy of a brand is developed through various marketing actions, in particular the details of the product itself (name, brand, packaging, formula, etc.), the way in which it is communicated (advertising, promotions, sales pitches, etc.) and actions related to the point of sale (location, merchandising, etc).

1.    Taste:
Taste is a simple concept, but it’s overlooked in today’s highly digital world. It’s hard to convey the flavour of a perfectly stirred glass of wine or Italian dish when you connect with your customers through a computer screen. This is one of the reasons why brands need to take a hybrid approach of marketing when it comes to triggering the taste sense of the consumers, especially if you are dealing in the food or hospitality industry.

Maintaining an offline presence allows food, beverage, and even hospitality brands to undercut the competition by providing their target audience with free samples and tasters of the foods they serve. Use your samples properly and you can even convince customers to become ambassadors for your online stores by sharing reviews, testimonials, and referrals online. A simple ephemeral stand can generate a significant influx of sales, all thanks to the customer’s sense of taste.
2.    Sound:
“Sound” has been a common feature in the marketing world for some time. Countless companies have an “audio” mark to accompany their visual identity, including specific music played in stores, jingles and even sound clips. Even the way your name sounds when spoken aloud can affect your audio branding.

To choose the right soundtrack for your sensory marketing tactics, you will need a thorough understanding of your target audience. For example, some studies suggest that luxury companies that sell jewellery or high-end products perform better when using classical or jazz music.
3.    Touch:
Engaging the sense of touch in a digital context is difficult and has led to the generalization of web rooming and showrooming. These tactics make it difficult for retailers to convert impulse shoppers, but they help provide the customer with the preferred shopping experience. Closely intertwined with AR and VR, mental stimulation is encouraged among consumers. In other words, imagine a specific action like using a product. Brands should also consider using multi-gesture apps and direct touch effects, such as pinch and wrinkle material, to drive conversions online.
4.    Sight:
Consumers’ attention spans are shrinking and for digital marketers, appealing to the sense of sight has become increasingly competitive. Marketers need to go beyond traditional techniques like bold colours, logos, videos and website design and incorporate the latest technology into their strategies. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are gaining popularity as, for the first time, consumers have full control over the interaction. As active participants, they can reinvent the real world and experiment with various combinations before making a buying decision.

From virtual parades, vehicle demonstrations to makeup tests using face tracking algorithms augmented reality and virtual reality make online shopping easier and more accessible for consumers, especially when content is personalized according to the need of the user. AR provides a richer user experience that is more likely to increase the perceived value of products and brands by consumers. VR helps build trust between a brand and the consumer, which is crucial during the “try before you buy” phase.
5.    Smell:
Our sense of smell is linked to the part of the brain involved in motivation, emotions and memory. Therefore, it can affect consumer behaviour and what they remember from a brand experience. Interestingly, when it comes to in-store purchases, scent can boost the emotional level of 28% of consumers, according to an independent sensory marketing study. Depending on the product, digital marketers can create and display images and use emotional language in a way that stimulates mental images of its texture, smell, and even taste. Perfume packaging is also a key tool for brands to develop personalized scents that can be applied across the entire product line to help strengthen the brand identity as a whole or promote individual products.

Shopping is more an act dictated by emotions than by logic in the post-pandemic era. With the change in consumer behaviour, it has become the new normal for buyers to buy the products that make them feel good. Logic and reason enter the equation much later, while emotions take precedence. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to use digital sensory marketing to appeal to today’s consumers.

Appealing to the five main senses through digital marketing can be quite difficult. Despite its limitations, the point is, digital marketing is much faster, with a wider reach, and inexpensive options. With a little creativity, originality and innovation, this challenge can be met and leveraged to generate more sales.

Drive Digital –

Source: How Digital Sensory Marketing Is Key To Appealing To Today’s Consumer | Deccan Herald