William Joseph Communications

Sensory Marketing – Make Your Brand Irresistible Without Saying A Word

Pretend for a second that you’ve got a glass Coke bottle in your hand. You can imagine it there, can’t you? Its distinctive curvy shape and cold, smooth surface – you can perceive how it feels even though its not there. You can probably even imagine the sensation of putting the bottle to your mouth; the way the rounded rim feels as it rests on your bottom lip and the rush of bubbly sweetness you taste when the dark liquid inside washes over your tongue. It’s a pretty vivid image, isn’t it? Now consider this: is the image you conjure as vivid if you replace that Coke bottle with a bottle of say, Ginger Ale? Can you imagine that bottle so well in your hand? Probably not. That, dear friends, is the power of effective sensory marketing.

If good marketing is all about creating positive customer experiences (and it is) then sensory marketing techniques are a way to hotwire those experiences in customer’s minds. Scientific studies have shown that what we perceive through our senses influences our thinking, mood and decision making on a subconscious level, which means the right combination of sensory experiences can influence how customers think and feel about your brand, and greatly increase the likelihood that they will want to engage with it. When it comes to sensory marketing, subtlety is powerful. Consumers don’t perceive subtle sensory tactics as marketing messages, and therefore don’t react with the sort of skepticism or resistance that ads or promotions sometimes generate. Rule of thumb is, it’s better to tread lightly than be heavy handed when it comes to sensory marketing.

The glass Coke bottle is a great example of tactile sensory marketing (sense of touch), but what about the other four senses?

Smell: Our sense of smell is the sense most closely correlated to memory. The aroma of freshly baked bread may take you back to being a kid in your grandmother’s kitchen; the smell of a fairground may bring up memories of feeling shy and nervous on your first junior high school date. Marketers have cleverly employed aroma for decades to influence how customers feel in a place of business and encourage them to make purchases as well. Dunkin’ Donuts ran a hugely successful sensory campaign on South Korea’s transit system a few years back. The company jingle was played over bus sound systems while an atomizer simultaneously emitted the smell of fresh coffee in the air. Dunkin’ Donuts stores saw a 16% increase in visits during the campaign, and a 29% increase in sales.

Sound: Background noise can soothe, stimulate and aggravate us. It can make us feel happy and it can make us feel sad. What we hear in terms of sensory marketing very often is so subtle we hardly realize it’s there – but the effects of sound are undeniable. If high-end spas started playing punk rock music in their treatment rooms (rather than sounds of nature, for example) do you think customers would still walk away feeling relaxed and refreshed? Pay attention to what’s coming through the speakers the next time you’re in retail environment. Victoria’s Secret, for one, plays classical music in its stores to make the experience of lingerie shopping there feel classy and exclusive.

Sight: How a place of business looks is every bit as important as what it sells. Marketers spend millions creating environments that reflect the essence of a business’s brand, and consistency between stores is key. Walk into a McDonald’s restaurant and the look is always the same, regardless of whether you’re in Tampa or Tokyo. Colour impacts how we feel about a brand too. Although culture and personal experiences influence how colour is perceived, generally speaking, the spectrum of colour running from cool tones to hot tones correlates directly to feelings of calm to those of excitement.

Taste: Taste is the most specific of the five senses, and the most personal too. What appeals to one palate may be repulsive to another, and taste is highly influenced by other senses – smell, in particular. Very often the experience of eating or drinking something is highlighted by where we are when we consume it. So for sensory marketing, when it comes to taste, connecting feelings (such as fun or satisfaction) to the brand is important. Successful restauranteurs know that the ambiance in the room is every bit as important as what’s on the plate – and sometimes the charm of being a “hole in the wall” establishment with incredible food is part of a winning customer experience.

There are lots of ways your business can incorporate successful sensory marketing techniques, no matter what industry you’re in. Let our talented team help you discover and make the most of them.

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone
> Back to Blog


Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 at 1:50pm
#YXE We have a WJ Univeristy session coming for you! Join AM Preston Cicchine TOMORROW at 11:30am for our Art & Science of Marketing seminar and kick your year off right! Reserve your spot! https://t.co/aulFl6hFcw https://t.co/YQqZyGGZKF wj_agency photo
Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 at 1:41pm
Heads up #YYC! We're hosting a WJ University session - Connecting your Business with Customers - tomorrow and still have a few spots left! Be sure to reserve your FREE spot and we 'll see you at 11:30AM! https://t.co/8kTBAWyeKB
Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 at 2:29pm
Despite learning from the ongoing ebbs and flows of the economy, businesses always seem to fall into a pattern of cutting their marketing budgets when times get tough. Learn how marketing can help your bottom line rather than hurt it. https://t.co/dRMvVGX5M1
Monday, January 7th, 2019 at 3:07pm
Are you ready to kick off your best year yet? We have a few spots left in our Art & Science of Marketing session this Thurs at 11:30 a.m. Join our CEO Ryan Townend and gain a deeper understanding of how to develop a marketing plan! Limited space available! https://t.co/iulur5Mjlv
Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 at 2:26pm
We were doing a little bit of cleaning up before the new year and found the ULTIMATE hashtag#TBT - our first piece of promotional material ever created 16 years ago.
We may have come a LONG way since then, but it’s clear that we’ve always remained true to the mission and values. https://t.co/lVor71DM96
wj_agency photo


William Joseph Communications

We are the difference between momentary achievement and enduring success.Your success requires an agency that offers a fully integrated solution. One that has the vision to see beyond your current borders and the troops to guide you there. With us as your allies, be confident that you can achieve your boldest ambitions. At William Joseph we offer complete marketing solutions composed of strategies, tactics, and designs that effectively tell your story and address your unique marketing goals. Everything from advertising campaigns to experiential design, our team takes your corporate identity and translates it through a wide array of mediums to successfully champion your company.
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsThursday, January 17th, 2019 at 12:20am
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsThursday, January 17th, 2019 at 12:15am
Saskatoon are you ready to start fresh this January? Join Account Manager Preston Cicchine this Thursday, January 17th for a WJU Art & Science of Marketing session!

The Art of Marketing Science seminar provides a clear understanding of how to develop and implement a marketing plan. Areas of discussion include research, strategic planning, brand development, tactical implementation and the importance of measurement. Join us at 11:30am for the informative and innovative session. Attendance is free but space is limited, so be sure to reserve a spot while they last!

William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsWednesday, January 16th, 2019 at 10:35am
SASKATOON!!! Enter to win 2 tickets to see Dierks Bentley at SaskTel Centre (our amazing client) on Wednesday January 23. To enter to win we need you to like this post, share the post and tag who you would take as your date! Draw being done at random Monday January 21. Good luck!!!
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsTuesday, January 15th, 2019 at 5:25pm
Despite learning from the ongoing ebbs and flows of the economy, businesses always seem to fall into a pattern of cutting their marketing budgets when times get tough. While cutting excess spending to keep afloat is crucial during tough times, research (and experience) has shown us that cutting all marketing initiatives will do more harm than good in the long run.

Times are tough. Learn how to use marketing effectively to help your bottom line rather than hurt it.
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsMonday, January 14th, 2019 at 8:35pm
Due to super high demand we have added a third session for business owners on branding and marketing in Grande Prairie this Wednesday, January 16 at 3 pm. Please rsvp to secure your spot!



Thursday, January 10th, 2019 at 5:08pm
  • 29
  • 0
Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 at 4:11pm
  • 50
  • 1
Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 at 1:53pm
  • 42
  • 4
Tuesday, December 25th, 2018 at 2:59pm
  • 47
  • 2
Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 at 6:03pm
  • 50
  • 3