« Back

The Multisensory Brand Experience

April 25, 2019

Brands come to life in a number of ways, but what people most frequently relate to is how brands manifest themselves visually. What is the color palette? Is the logo contemporary, classic or quirky? How does the signage, packaging and décor compliment each other? What is spelled out in the brand guidelines?

As a Certified Brand Strategist and agency member of the Brand Establishment, the first thing we teach our clients is that a brand is not a logo, packaging, or pantone color. The brand is a claim of distinction – it’s who a company is at their core, and what separates them from the competition. A brand promise needs to be defendable in the marketplace, deliverable in a consistent manner, and desirable to the audience.

“It takes more than just graphics to bring a brand to life.”

While brand visuals are extremely important, there additional considerations that will help create a more holistic brand experience. The more subliminal parts of a brand relate to our other senses beyond site – specifically sound and smell. Connecting with your audience through multiple senses can deepen their recall and affinity to your brand.

So, how does your brand sound? How do the jingles or riffs often found in ad campaigns become part of the brand experience equation? It’s a proven fact that sound can actually spur people to act, to buy, to remember. And in a saturated world of marketing, audio plays a crucial and persuasive role in creating brand experiences.

I first noticed audio branding when I was a young professional traveling a lot on business. Our agency flew the “friendly skies” of United whenever it could. I started to become familiar with the Gershwin backdrop of “Rhapsody in Blue” whether I was listening to on-hold music on the phone (back before we booked travel online), waiting to board at the gate, or sitting in the airplane itself. That’s when I realized there was another dimension to consider when building a brand – according to a Marketing Prof’s article, it’s about “the discipline of using unique proprietary sound and music to create a brand’s distinct audio identity, expressing its values at all necessary customer touch points.” And, in today’s digital marketplace, it is easier than ever to deliver sound as part of your brand experience.

The Olfactory System

Now let’s talk about a more elusive sense, your olfactory system. Have you ever considered what your brand smells like? There is big business in creating a scent for retail and hospitality industries – typically delivered to a store or hotel lobby in an atomizing machine through the HVAC. Or sprayed onto objects – like your car’s upholstery for that “new car” smell. According to Brand Sense by Martin Lindstrom, Singapore airlines coordinated its brand scent through their stewardesses perfume, the hot towels they deliver after an overnight flight and permeated throughout their cabins.

There are other ways where the brand scent comes into play though – whether it’s delivered through candles, flowers, fireplaces, linens, brands who add the extra dimension of scent can count on attracting customers, building loyalty, generating more revenue, improving the customer experience, and creating stronger engagement. One such brand is my oft-lauded hospitality brand, the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, AZ. Their signature scent is Icelandic Moonflower and is custom made for all their toiletries and room sprays. When you walk into your room at the Valley Ho, it is an exclusive experience like no other. They have deep soaking tubs and the body wash, hair products, and lotions all smell wonderful – a scent I look forward to every time I return. (And full disclosure, sometimes a scent I take back with me if I tuck sphere of soap in my bag – for those who have visited the Valley Ho, you know what I’m talking about.)

Ask Yourself

Whether thinking about enhancing your brand experience through sight, sound, smell – or touch and taste for that matter – you must still go through the same process to ensure your brand is defendable in the marketplace, deliverable in a consistent manner, and desirable to your audience. So ask yourself these questions:

What does your brand stand for – what is your claim of distinction?

What is your brand’s personality?

What are people buying? (Different than what you are selling.)

Where is your audience interacting with your brand; what are all the various touch points and what are the various senses that come into play at each touch point?

When you can answer these questions – and align the right sensory touch points to deliver on your brand promise – you can put into place the systems that will truly deliver a multi-sensory brand experience.

To learn more about how you can become a Certified Brand Strategist, click here.

About The Brand Establishment

The Brand Establishment perfected the first contemporary brand development process specifically for small to mid-sized advertisers more than two decades ago. These tools and procedures have been utilized by companies in virtually every business sector – hundreds of times.