Sensory Marketing and Branding: The power of the senses

In this post we will discuss a topic that refers to the work carried out by marketers in order to position a certain brand, maintain its validity on the market and enhance its value; i.e. branding. But also, how it relates to a practice increasingly prolific in the world of marketing: the use of the senses.

Commonly, branding is associated with every graphical stimulus that characterizes a specific brand; that is, its logo, colors, images, icons, characters, etc., as well as the transmission of its values ​​through these. However, this is a quite limited appreciation of what the term represents. Let's say that traditional marketing, as well as other related disciplines has been somewhat unfair to reduce branding to a purely visual expression, being such a fundamental and important variable to the success of a company, brand or organization.

It is common to have everyday work conversations with various professionals of the industry, from graphic designers, advertisers, even other marketers, and relate to this issue as a exclusively visual element, setting aside a whole range of possibilities to exploit the identity, characteristics, values ​​and virtues of a brand.

Fortunately, all is not lost. There are companies that exploit the advantages of branding to a higher level, thus obtaining significant economic benefits, a solid market position and competitive advantages over its competition.

As part of a strategy of differentiation and positioning, modern marketing begins to make use of tools that would have never thought in the past, starts to break traditional schemes, and thinks laterally in order to expand and solidify the mental territory each brand occupies in our brains as consumers. One of such tools is known as sensory marketing, i.e. the exploitation of the senses through stimuli designed to be directly related to a particular brand.

It may sound too sophisticated and for many even perverse, however, that link product-consumer through the description of the first and our sensitivity to receive and process information from the environment in which we live makes it a natural process as always has been, only that it had never properly being exploited as a marketing strategy or at the levels that is done in modern times.

Sight

Until today, the most important variable used by brands to generate recognition and develop an identity in the market is the sense of sight. We can appreciate logos, corporate colors, characters and other graphical tools with which one can identify a specific product. It's rare a person who does not recognize the Apple logo, the golden arches of McDonald's, the white wave on the red background of Coca-Cola, etc. The list goes on and on. These elements, so far, are the epicenter of all business strategy in most corporations. However, this is changing. A study described in the book "Buyology - Truth and lies about why we buy"  (Lindstrom 2009) showed how brands like Marlboro, suffering the brunt of the ban on advertising on many places of the world, decided to invest in the atmosphere of bars and nightclubs with motifs of their brand identity: images of horses and beautiful landscapes on the displays of such centers, mountain-shaped seats, images of racing cars (Marlboro is known for its sponsorship of this important branch), among others. This paid juicy profits resulting from the consumption of cigarettes- and this without having to use their logo. The conclusion of this study was that at the end of the day, the use of the logo is not so important (at least for some brands), provided that the product is adequately positioned and associated to other variables with easier access to our brain, given that as people, when watching such advertising information we tend to have an automatic rejection of the stimulus.

Sound

Perhaps the second most used variable by marketing and advertising is the sense of hearing. Corporations realize that visual objects are not sufficient to influence the consumer purchase decisions and decide to provide new features to their products and brands. Certainly we all recognize the famous Nokia tune, the specific Intel notes at the end of each commercial, the Iusacel ringtone of an incoming call, not to mention a few jingles. As well, separately from the previous examples there are others less obvious but equally or more transcendent as is the case of the "click" of Zipo lighters; Messenger alert sounds, even the sound coming out of the doors of many car brands such as GM or Chrysler is designed to be unique and generate acknowledgement in our mind. Finally, many of the sounds derived from the use of certain particular product begin to be taken advantage of overused to contribute to a consumption experience and therefore an enhanced recall and consumer association.

Touch

Perhaps some readers may have this extraordinary ability to change the TV channel and do something even more sophisticated without ever seeing the remote control, or, as in the case of many teens that are able to send text messages on their cell phones hidden under the palette in their seat while attending math class. This shows how we develop a physical memory and include certain products in our daily activities. Textured book covers, labels and some printed shirts, forms that are better adapted to our hands in bottles of mayonnaise, sauces, beverages; plush, furry fabrics pleasant to the touch, not to mention the mobile devices and sensitive touch screen tablets so common today. No doubt brands recognize our singular sensitivity and natural tendency to feel our environment as a means of interaction and involvement with it.

Taste

Nothing like a nice and very distinctive flavor. Variable overused (for obvious reasons) especially for food and beverage brands. Secret formulas jealously treasured, “x” ingredients, grandma's recipe, exotic ingredients, a whole mystique developed around our favorite food or drink. On the other hand, there are medicines with a pleasant taste for children, and bubble gum flavored toothpaste. However, the involvement of the sense of taste in business strategies has come out of their habitat to start their “baby steps” in unexpected areas: pencils and other office supplies (for those who like to bite incessantly), as well as toys and clothing with flavor for toddlers.

Smell

The human nose can distinguish over 10,000 different odors, besides being the most sensitive of the senses; it has a tremendous evocative power of memories and experiences over the years. I still remember as if it was yesterday the smell of my Bubble Gummers (bubble gum scented tennis), the shopping mall I used to visit every Sunday with my family and the characteristic smell of the food court, which I still visit from time to time just for the memories it evokes; my first day at school with the smell of Play-Doh and crayons, not to mention the fragrances that remind us of some person, place or thing. You will agree that like it or not, a myriad of brands have been with us throughout life, which from the cold, commercial standpoint of business quite functional.

Not everything applies to all products, but certainly it's worth experimenting a little and making sure what we are doing for our brand. To find out if it's being seen, felt - to find out if it is actually present.

 

A History of Western Typefaces (Infographic)

 

Hey there designers! Here's a neat infographic created by one of my favorite blogs (Mashable, of course), that illustrates the different typefaces throughout history, its origins and its uses.

A fun treat for the eyes, no doubt. Enjoy!

 

The “Youtube Effect” on Brands

 

For her first post on More Than Branding, Loyda de la Cruz names her favorite brands on Youtube and what she likes best about them. 

 

Youtube is currently one of the websites with the largest number users in the world. More than 2 billion videos are watched each day, with hundreds of viewers interacting and aware of what's happening in this particular site. Brands should not look the other way, instead understand its potential as a positioning tool and as a slingshot to attract a desired audience.

This platform has emerged as the nexus between "emotions" that are generated in the consumer-brand interaction. An important fact is that YouTube has already surpassed 113 million unique visitors, 14.2 million video views and 11 million searches. Inquiries related to business exceed 1.5 million weekly. It is for this reason that YouTube has won a spot as a video hub for a useful and meaningful brand.

Here are 5 examples of branded channels on YouTube which highlight design, content and a different brand display:

Nokia

Nokia is a multinational company and the manufacturer of the first mobile phone in the world, making it one of the leading companies in the telecommunications sector.

With presence on YouTube, Nokia has an attractive channel in terms of design and content. They use this space to post hundreds of videos related to the brand, from the promotional sort, to video tutorials on applications and the use of your computer.

Subscribers: 76,916

Channel Views: 90,429,619

 

GoPro

The GoPro channel reflects the lifestyle of consumers with the brand - specifically people who like extreme sports and adrenaline.

Subscribers: 190,219

Channel Views: 111,379,002

 

 

Blackberry

This channel brand reflects dynamism, youth, interaction and innovation- the design and content of this channel complement this space making it unique and addictive.

Subscribers: 70,048

Channel Views:32,086,021

 

Walmart

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is a U.S. based multinational company and world's largest retailer - in sales and number of employees. The Walmart brand channel on YouTube shows promotional videos related to services and current offerings.

Subscribers: 5,338

Channel Views:6,799,683

 

 

Starbucks Coffee

One of my favorite brands, Starbucks Coffee Company is the world's largest coffee chains, with about 17,800 locations in 49 countries.

The Starbucks brand channel features promotional videos presented amidst a clean and attractive corporate design, making the viewer feel as if he/she is sitting in a Starbucks drinking their favorite coffee.

Subscribers: 13,231

Channel Views: 8,365,021


 

AMC’s new series “The Pitch”, on the business of advertising

 

It all starts with the pitch.

Following the success of Mad Men, AMC is bringing us the glitz and drama of the advertising world with a new show called "The Pitch", that will air with a sneak preview on April 8th. The unscripted series will chronicle the deadlines and hustle-and-bustle of ad agencies when they set out to find new business. With only 7 days to prepare their creative and strategic proposal, we'll see what it's like when ad men go head-to-head for clients.

The agencies pitching each week will be: The Ad Store, Bandujo, BooneOakley, Bozell, Conversation, DIGO, FKM, Jones Advertising, Kovel/Fuller, McKinney, Muse Communications, SK+G, The Hive, WDCW and WOMENK!ND, and will be presented in a documentary style fashion, in order to capture the high stakes experienced during the process. Some of the brands that will be featured include: Frangelico/Campari, the Subway restaurants, Benjamin Frankilin Plumbing, Mister Sparky, among others.

"Advertising is really the idea business, but with incredibly high stakes; and Studio Lambert has captured, in a very feature doc style, just how hard it is to come up with a great idea, only to walk into a room and have it all ride on The Pitch." says Joel Stillerman, Executive Vice President of Original Programming for AMC.

Look out Don Draper fans. The shiz just got real.


 

 

An addiction called PINTEREST (with Infographics)

 

If you're in the world of marketing and advertising, chances are you're familiar with Pinterest. (if not, then you better get a move on, and I mean pronto.)  Pinterest is the fastest growing social network right now, or as Stephanie Buck describes it: " an addiction that seems to be spreading like a zombie apocalypse virus." People can't seem to get enough of it.

This virtual pin board and social network allows users to "pin" things that are of interest to them, which in turn lets them promote them for free. With a growth of 4000% in the last six months, marketers cannot turn their heads to its potential. For photographers, retailers and fashion designers, it's an excellent digital portfolio that showcases their products and best work. In view of its success, here are two infographics which I find illustrate the fascination, craze and ins and outs of this new revolution. Oh, and here's a look at its most popular categories.

Happy pinning everyone!