Ask yourself this question: What was your best-ever brand experience?
Maybe it was staying at the Bellagio Hotel – the multi-colored, multi-shaped large hand-blown glass flower ceiling in their signature lobby, or perhaps owning your first iPad – the thrill of opening the package and the anticipation of accessing world wisdom in the palm of your hands. Or simply a vivid memory of opening a cold Coke on a hot day – the ultimate satisfaction of quenching your primal thirst!
Today brands like Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have permeated our waking hours. They are seamlessly integrated in our digital lives. They have brought forth all the benefits of connectedness and immediacy. By doing so, they have subtly shifted our worldview and our brand priorities. Maggie Jackson, in her book Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, believes that the never-ending stream of emails, instant messages, text messages, and tweets stifles creativity and leads to less critical thinking and less fulfilled lives. We are hyper-connected, yet we have lost the real true meaning of connectedness. In the rush to be digital, brands have overemphasized these channels at the expense of real human interaction. “The risk is that consumers become desensitized. That’s why there is now the beginning of a move the other way–not a backlash, but a turning toward more real, human, and meaningful connections.”
In this ceaseless climate of detachment, fragmentation and distraction multisensory branding is gaining much traction as brands are being challenged in their expansion of consumer memorability. Sensory branding, the idea that humans are more receptive when all five senses are engaged, is a field of major study in the field of cognitive neuroscience. “It’s clear that no amount of time on a Mercedes-Benz website will give consumers a true sense of what it feels like to close a car door, smell the brand-new leather interior, or run their hands over the dashboard.” These memorable, multisensory experiences are critical in engaging with a brand. When they do, the rewards are phenomenal. NIKETOWN, Apple Stores, the Samsung Experience, Mercedes-Benz World, Disney Stores, and LEGOLAND are all testimonies to the power of multi-sensory brand experiences around an existing product.
Granted all brands do not have the prowess of the mega brands mentioned above. Yet, these brands do set an example as to how to incorporate multisensory marketing examples in your trade show booth design. Imagine the richness of visuals that may define your space, the sound that defines the new product launch, the scent that evokes the memory of reliability or the color that gives your product a new dimension.
In his book, The End of Marketing As We Know It, Sergio Zyrman writes, “Mass Marketing has lost the ability to move the masses………Technology has given people many more options than they had in the past and created a consumer democracy……… Marketers increasingly need to find ways to speak to customers individually, or in smaller and smaller groups.” Focused groups, trade shows and events are proven to infuse your brand with life and vigor. Remember, “marketing is a science. It is about experimentation, analysis, refinement and replication. You must be willing to change your mind.”
Engage the five senses to create expectations in delivering your brand promise.
In the past few weeks, I immersed myself in the study of multisensory branding to find out the art and the science of sensual stimuli. The result is a 70 page visual look book that might stir your imagination and perhaps spur new ideas for your next multisensory exhibit design.