When creating a marketing campaign, most entrepreneurs spend a great deal of time figuring out what that campaign will look like—but rarely ask themselves how that campaign will be experienced. When people experience something for the first time, they use all the senses available to them to create a memory. This is why we often associate the holidays with our sense of smell or have a stronger emotional connection to a movie when the soundtrack sets the tone.
The more senses your audience can use to create a memory of your brand, the more your audience will feel engaged. However, since marketing is so strongly based upon visuals, it can seem difficult to find ways to associate your brand with the other senses of the body. Here are a few ideas that can help tailor your marketing strategy to cater to all five senses.
Sight is such a common consideration in marketing that we even use related terms when discussing marketing strategies—for example, getting “more eyes” on your brand. Marketing to a sense of sight typically includes a strong visual brand identity through branded colors, branded font faces and, of course, a logo. But there are other areas where a strong visual identity is crucial. For example, consider the pictures you have posted on your social networking profiles or even the way you present yourself when meeting with potential customers.
If your business produces or sells a physical object, the feel of that product will go a long way toward creating a strong sense memory of your brand. Whether it’s your product or your marketing collateral, using high-quality materials is the first step toward a positive association with your brand, since this conveys a sense of durability and luxury.
Marketing materials with custom die cuts will feel different from traditional media, meaning recipients are less likely to dispose of them because they feel unique. Special options like embossing and textured coatings are like magnets for the hands—people can’t help but want to reach out and touch them.
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The customer's sense of taste may seem like unexplored territory for any entrepreneur who isn’t working in the food industry—after all, not every brand can hand out free samples to tantalize the customer’s tastebuds. But you could offer free candy (with your company’s logo printed on the wrapper) in your lobby or take a potential client out to dinner to seal the deal. You can also order branded marketing materials that are associated with taste—for example, offering the customer a cup of coffee in a branded mug.
Your brand has a smell (whether you want it to or not), and if it’s strong enough, people will remember it. One technique is to create marketing materials and add perfume or scratch-and-sniff elements to your design. However, an easier way of incorporating smell could be as simple as a tax preparer keeping his office smelling like freshly brewed coffee so his clients feel at ease or a real estate agent using potpourri to make a potential property smell more appealing.
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The customer’s sense of hearing is obviously affected by radio and video advertising, but these are not the only times when the customer is listening to your brand. For example, consider the tone of voice you use when talking to potential clients. Do you seem friendly or aggressive? Are you too loud or too quiet? Do you enunciate, or are you hard to understand?
Never underestimate the effect of your on-hold music. I made the mistake of doing so, and I actually received complaints about the obnoxious hold music from my customers. Sometimes placing a customer on hold for an extended period of time is unavoidable, but consider how much worse the wait can feel for the customer if he or she is irritated by the music.
The biggest lesson to be learned is that a customer is always using all of his or her senses to experience your brand, even when you’re not aware of it. Not only is it crucial that your brand create positive sense memories with your customers, it’s also important to try and avoid creating any negative associations with your brand. Forget putting yourself in your customer’s shoes—put yourself in their eyes, ears, mouth, nose and hands so you can really get a feel for how your brand is being experienced.
OPEN Cardmember Vladimir Gendelman is the founder and CEO of www.CompanyFolders.com, an online boutique specializing in custom presentation folders and marketing materials.
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