Whether it’s through ad blockers, the mute button, or simply staring down at phones, consumers have learned how to block traditional marketing efforts such as ads. So how do you reach those target consumers? Through Experiential Marketing (that’s why you’re on this site right?)
Experiential marketing is an ideal strategy for standing out from the competition. Experiential marketing allows you to capture and retain consumer attention, communicate key brand messaging, and establish emotional connections with your audience. Importantly, experiential marketing is the perfect partner for sensory marketing. Sensory marketing relies on using multisensory experiences to influence consumers’ perceptions of brands and establish positive emotional connections.
The great advantage of experiential marketing campaigns is that brands can make use of multiple senses to maximize their success. We are all familiar with the five senses – smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound. Successfully using any one sense is likely to increase a consumer’s memory of your brand. But when two or more senses are engaged in a consistent way, they amplify each other! As Hyphen* explains, “The more brands can engage with people’s senses in a meaningful way, the higher the level of product recall and brand loyalty they’ll achieve.”
Let’s consider the advantages of tapping into different senses.
Sight is an extremely powerful sense. We process visual information 60,000 times quicker than the written word! It takes as little as 45 milliseconds for the brain to register visual information. Experiences should be visually appealing from a distance as well as up close. You could also amplify the power of visual stimuli by using VR.
Don’t forget — sight is not limited to what the audience in front of you sees! A study by Event Marketer revealed that half of consumers at experiential marketing events will share two to five photos, videos or social media posts, and 14 percent will share more than six posts. Photos and videos shared by your audience increase the reach of your marketing, so be sure to create campaigns that are visually appealing on social media.
Sound has the advantage of being able to trigger emotions without the consumer even realizing it. Listening to pleasing music can cause an endorphin release, generating pleasure and increasing a person’s positive impression of a brand experience. When using sound, consider creating an atmosphere that positively impacts the mood of your event.
The sound you choose should be consistent with the message you are trying to communicate. For example, listening to jazz increases feelings of relaxation. (Extra tip: An impact of sound that can get lost in the shuffle of planning an event is the tone of voice used by staff!)
According to research by the Scent Marketing Institute**, scent is the only one of our senses that goes directly into the limbic system of our brain. This powerful system is where our emotions, learned associations, and memories are stored. Scents impact consumers’ moods, sense of well-being, how long they remember an experience, and how they perceive and feel about brands! While slower than reactions to visual cues, smell has a longer lasting impression on emotions.
A great example of the power of touch is Apple. Apple stores provide consumers with the opportunity to touch, pick up, and use the tech products available for purchase. Tactile opportunities abound at events – consider allowing the audience to try your product for themselves. Touch interacts with sight: being able to both see AND touch an objects allows consumers to make judgments about the product much faster and with less effort than they would with sight alone. The greatest impact of touch is on the perception of a brand or product’s quality. Allowing your audience to touch samples of your product removes the guessing game of whether a product is well-made.
Interestingly, the taste that people perceive is strongly related to their other four senses. This is why appealing to multiple senses is so effective at creating emotional reactions! The brain associates eating and drinking with positive memories. You may wonder if there are any benefits of taste if your campaign and/or brand is not a food or beverage. However, consider the example of salons and spas. Many wellness service providers offer their customers coffee, tea, flavored water, or even small bites. Over time, their customers associate these flavors with the brand and may return for more. Consider if there is a food or beverage element that could complement your event. For example, if you want to invoke feelings of nostalgia in an American audience, consider including samples of classic comfort food!
A great example of an experiential campaign that tapped into the 5 senses is our Abita Big Easy IPA Pop-Up Brewery Band Tour. Consumers were initially attracted by the sounds of an authentic New Orleans Second Line Band and introduced to a new Abita Brewing flavor by a brand ambassador. The audience was encouraged to take selfies and share socially using event hashtags. The campaign even included touch — cards with information on where to purchase the product were attached to classic Mardi Gras beads!
Ready to tap into the power of multisensory experiential marketing? Pro Motion is here to help. Call us today!