Sensory branding: Touch

Uncategorized By Josanne Griffin-Mason, 26th January 2015

Sensory branding seduces the consumer on that personal, deep-rooted level that generic mass marketing could never conquer.

Last week, we covered the interesting things that brands are doing with smell to manipulate sales. This week, we look how the physical aspect of touch can influence a customer’s emotional state and subsequent behaviour.

Getting up close and personal

We possess five senses; smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch.

It’s impossible to turn these instinctual reactions off, thus they are constantly open to manipulation from internal and external stimuli alike.

When it comes to branding, touch is used by many of the world’s most successful businesses to make recipients feel phenomenal, and build a long lasting, emotional connection between a product and its buyer.

Let’s talk about Apple, the emperor of sensual stimulation.

When you get a brand new Apple product, whether it’s a Macbook or an iPhone, you give it respect.

You don’t tear that packaging apart. You embark on an entire ritual of carefully sliding the box open, softly unfolding each piece of tissue paper and gently prising your new trophy from its smooth enclave.

The entire Apple experience is symbolic and completely unforgettable. It has to be; after all, the company relies on its appeal to the creative and appearance conscious to secure those premium RRPs, and keep them coming back for more.

It doesn’t just start at the packaging.

More and more, we’re seeing brands get tactile before they’ve even planted their product in a consumer’s hands, with pop-up concept stores and events mustering serious leverage in the brand awareness department.

Cider brewers Rekorderlig are becoming old hands at this, running several themed pop-ups throughout the year, with the most recent being a winter ski lodge on London’s Southbank.

By providing a complete sensory experience for its audience (and let’s note, punters could initially just be there for the ski lodge and not the cider), Rekorderlig are able to form solid brand association through the utilisation of tangible memories. So, every time someone that attended the ski lodge sits on solid oak or snuggles up under a faux fur throw, they’ll subconsciously connect it to the drinks brand, and potentially reach for a warm cider.

How to touch people with your brand

A tactile marketing strategy is worth investing in because of the brand longevity that it can secure, as opposed to standard print or digital campaigns, which are generally fleeting.

Below, we’ve put together a list of touchy-feely ideas to inspire your next venture:

  • Evaluate the packaging you use – if you’re selling toiletries, make sure you provide a luxurious experience, if you’re selling a business proposal, deliver it in a sleek, sturdy folder to demonstrate your professionalism.
  • Start popping up! This is a great way to showcase your latest products and services in a setting that activates all five senses, and you may even spark the interest of passers-by, whom ordinarily would not have any link with your brand.
  • Provide free samples with your sales or as part of an outreach promotional programme. The items you give away may not even be a product you sell, but instead, could be a tool to put across the feelings you want to associated with your brand. For instance, you could give away hand warmers on an icy winter’s morning branded with your café’s name to invite people in for a hot cup of coffee.

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