Advertising and branding is all around us from the time we wake up to the time we sleep. We all know that our eyes are being bombarded by visual signs telling us that the mobile phone we use is a ‘Motorola’ or ‘Nokia’ etc. The label on the can of deodorant we put on this morning reminds us that it is ‘Lynx’. (Interestingly I don’t use ‘Lynx’, but when I thought what brand would I use as an example here, ‘Lynx’ instantly popped into my head, now that shows the power of their marketing).

But successful marketing goes beyond just the visual and employs the other senses too. Imagine watching a movie without the accompanying sound track. The sound creates narrative, it builds tension or lets you slip into romantic passion. The same goes for visual advertising, as most TV adverts simply don’t work with the sound down (radio advertising of course relies purely on audio) and often the strongest recall of a commercial is the jingle. We all do it, we all find ourselves humming a jingle that ‘got stuck in my head’. Let’s face it as kids the ‘Cottees’ or ‘Happy Little Vegemite’ jingle was locked into the brain, and now just like our parents did, we purchase these items for our
own kids.

As mentioned earlier, the fact that ‘Lynx’ is so strong in the market place is also due to the fact that it smells good. All the advertising money in the world won’t get repeat purchases if the product itself stinks (excuse the pun). Again smell is a sense that evokes an emotional response and is especially important in the food and beverage, cosmetics, and cleansing and
hygiene markets.

When Anita Roddick opened her first Body Shop store she applied scents to the pavement outside the shop to stop and draw customers off the street and into the store.

If you want to sell coffee what better way to get people to your stand than by wafting the smell of freshly brewed coffee, and then of course using the sense of taste through sample cups. Free taste samples of food or beverage items is a great way to capture a market, and I know it certainly works on me, I can’t resist a free tasting at a promotional stand and always end up buying some if it tastes good.

Which brings us to the fifth sense of touch. From the very first stage of new product development, the touch and feel of it needs to be researched and designed strategically. Tools held in the hand should be designed ergonomically for comfort and ease of use. With food the texture in the mouth is important (especially with children).

And the way the product is packaged relies heavily on the tactical feel, not just the visual appeal. Coke does it so well with their bottle, not only is it visually iconic but the feel in the hand is just right, you know you are holding a Coke bottle, not a smooth nameless bottle.

At Jack in the box we strategically and creatively market using the senses to achieve optimum potency, from scratch ‘n’ sniff paper packaging to music scores in commercials.

Try it yourself, if you use only some of your senses does your brand still communicate to you through your remaining senses?