Cracking The Sensory Marketing Secret for Billion-Dollar Business

by Manas Chowdhury
3 minutes read

Starbucks – it’s more than just coffee, isn’t it? As soon as you enter their franchise, it provides an experience not just to stimulate your brain but your heart and soul too.

Whether it is chit-chatting with your friends or skimming through the pages of your favorite book or magazine or morning newspaper, with the comfortable environment of Starbucks, everything is tranquilizing.

The pleasant lighting together with the green and yellow interior creates visuals that are a sight to sore eyes. The ‘sound of Starbucks’ is the most soothing music you’ll offer your ears. The aroma and taste of freshly ground coffee, and in the end, the texture and comfort those armchairs offer, everything together creates a SENSORY experience that shapes up your emotions and memories.

That’s the secret to the billion-dollar business of Starbucks – SENSORY MARKETING!

It is sensory marketing that makes Starbucks the third most visited place after home and office.

Sensory Marketing

Seeing isn’t always believing. Although it is the first of all human senses to take over others, we always want to experience more, which is the main aim of sensory marketing.

Sensory marketing targets all five human senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) to approach the customer on an emotional level.

Human emotions have been ignored long enough though we have been aware of their significance. Every person’s experience of consumption and purchase depends on how they were approached on the sensual level. 

Integrating the five senses in your daily marketing and advertising strategies can help you generate revenues.

The Smell Sense

Have you ever changed your path while heading somewhere and stepped into some other street because that taco vendor just knocked on your smell senses, and all you need now is a fresh taco?

Or do you remember the way you want to stay in Bloomingdale’s for long enough because their carefully chosen scents in their departments won’t let you step out?

That is the power of smell!

Magazines offering fragrance samples, brands using earthy scents like sandal, cedar, or a pine forest, or vendors cooking fresh food because they know the aroma of fresh food is second to none to seduce the crowds, is all marketing using the smell sense.

The Sight Sense

Can you count the number of posters and signboards that catch your eyes during your commute? Probably not! They are too many to count.

Using visuals for marketing dates back to hundreds of years. Things like images, text, color, graphics, video, or light catch our eyes first. Each component affects human emotions differently.

If we see images of people doing a certain thing or carrying out a certain task, we, humans, by instincts, tend to mimic that.

The colors play another important role. Each color is associated with some perception. Like red is a strong color showing excitement or desirability, green color is associated with calmness and coolness, black shows sophistication, yellow is for wealth, sincerity is felt with orange color, while nobility is sensed with purple, and transparent objects show honesty and purity.

That is why each brand has its signature color associated with it that triggers specific emotions in consumers.

Graphics, light, video, and text each have their perception that presses different buttons for different emotions.

The Hearing Sense

You do have a playlist that you often set to replay according to your mood, don’t you? Because people attach meaning to sound. Music shapes a person’s identity and is often a source of inspiration.

Studies show the importance of music on human behavior when it is played in stores. The arousal for purchasing, in-store traffic flow, and the time spent in the environment significantly depends on the music.

The sound effects used in advertisements amplify the ad’s objective; thematic music is set according to the visuals and lyrics, and the voiceovers are a great way to persuade consumers.

The rhythm, pattern, style, and loudness all appeal to the auditory sense and influence perception, and stimulate feelings and cognition, thus revealing the customer’s mood.

The Taste Sense

What do you do when you’re stressed out? For me, a drink of homemade hot chocolate topped up with marshmallows works perfectly. It soothes me emotionally.

Taste plays an important role in our lives in physical, social, and even emotional sense, and successful brands know that!

The sense of taste is closely associated with smell and other senses as well. Like the aroma of food creates a flavor sensation and attracts consumers. The sound of uncapping a soda bottle in advertisements creates an illusion of a refreshing and cooling drink for a thirsty consumer.

Brands use adjectives like low-fat, healthy, tasty, or good to bring out the consumers’ emotional values. Some brands also market their foods and beverages through samples in supermarkets. While some also introduce new flavors when their existing ones are running smoothly.

The Touch Sense

You most probably bought your car after a hands-on touch. Just observation and words of the salesperson were not enough.

Touch sense has an impact on perceptions and ultimately on the purchases. Touching offers a sensation that other senses cannot deliver, like weight, roughness, smoothness, and temperature.

While buying clothes, you want to try them on before investing your money in them. The same goes for your next armchair that you need to keep in your front yard.

Cars and electronic goods need a hand-on try to see if they work for you.

Touching even allows consumers to decide the quality of the product. To improve consumer satisfaction, it is essential to offer a trying experience.

Last Words

A survey conducted by MoodMedia showed that 78% people make in-store purchases because of the enjoyable in-store environment. What do you think this enjoyable environment means? Of course, marketing tactics that affect people’s senses, trigger their emotions, and finally make them throw good money.

Combining different senses and attracting people’s hearts and minds addressing both the right and left sides of the brain to create an exceptional sensory experience is the most successful strategy.

Senses are directly associated with emotions, and if brands play the right cards, they can easily trigger those emotions allowing consumers to cough up their pockets.

Studies show that sensory marketing influences purchasing behaviors by using sensual stimulants.

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