A fundamental aspect of branding that many entrepreneurs miss is developing brand experiences that go beyond one or two senses. When you create a logo, ad, or package design, for example, a limited number of senses are piqued for consumers who come into contact with that logo, ad, or package.
A logo is consumed by sight while an ad could be consumed by sight and sound. A package design is typically consumed by sight and touch. However, when your brand can be consumed through even more senses, consumers instantly become more emotionally connected to it.
An emotionally connected consumer is more likely to buy your brand, become loyal to it, and tell other people about it. As a result, sales will increase.
Start with Sight
The most obvious sense for branding is sight. This is often the first sense that people encounter with a brand. A logo, stationery, business card, website, brochure, or a print or digital banner ad are all seen first.
Therefore, your brand identity elements must communicate your brand promise visually. A logo design that uses stock images or standard typefaces is a great choice if you want your brand to blend in, but if you want it to be instantly differentiated from the competition, you need a custom designed logo.
Most people think about designing the icon that goes with the logo such as the trademarked Nike swoosh or the AT&T globe, but they forget to choose a unique typeface for their logos. The best logos blend a unique icon with distinctive text, or the text is so unique that it becomes the icon. Think of the Disney and Coca-Cola logos as examples.
Move Beyond Sight to Touch
Developing your brand identity and marketing materials should always include discussions with your designer about opportunities to appeal to multiple senses. Think about the type of paper and printing techniques you’ll use to produce your business cards and stationery.
In your office or retail store, consider signage, interior design elements, and furniture as well as displays, boxes, and bags for merchandise. Even the lighting can affect people’s perceptions of your brand.
Do you know what the Harley Davidson engine roar sounds like? What about the MGM lion’s roar? The NBC chime? All three are are trademarked sounds that allow the brands to communicate with consumers through an added sense rather then simply displaying their logos.
Your business could incorporate an original sound into your brand elements – add it to your website, audio and video ads, social media videos, telephone on hold audio, and more.
Did you know that of all the senses, scent is the only one that bypasses the thalamus and travels directly to the cerebral cortex? That means people emotionally react to scent faster than any other sensory signals.
Scent is processed by the limbic system, which is responsible for our emotions. Using specific scents in your retail store or other physical branded experiences can completely change people’s moods and their perceptions of your brand.
Obviously, every brand experience can’t include an element of taste, but when it’s appropriate for your business, brand, and the specific experience, offering taste tests of your own product or providing some type of food or beverage at a branded event can further connect people to your brand.
There is a reason why friends and family so often come together to share meals. We associate sharing food with camaraderie. Enabling consumers to feel camaraderie with your brand can boost sales.
Why limit consumers’ experiences with your brand to just one or two senses when you can appeal to three or more? Look for every opportunity you can to connect consumers to your brand beyond a simple visual connection.