by DJ Heckes
“Our success is a direct result of knowing how to market a brand and having the right people representing the brand” – Greg Norman
Have you ever been to the Walt Disney World Epcot Center? When you walk in, not only are there great attractions that visibly catch your eye, but all of your senses are awakened and engaged. You see native architecture and employees that are dressed in native garb. The employees themselves are natives of the countries represented, so you get to hear the native language, and see the ethnic features of the region. Visitors are immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of the country and restaurants offer the opportunity to sample authentic cuisine. While your business may not be a Walt Disney World theme park, you should take advantage of every opportunity to create an enjoyable experience in the minds of the prospective customers.
Your brand sensory package represents the combined look, feel, sound, smell, and taste of the business and its products and services as perceived by the customers. This combination of every experience a customer has with a company is developed through this sensory package.
How you design a sensory package is dependent on one thing only – your customers! It is imperative to know what they expect. What do the demographic and psychographic studies say? What is the overall positioning strategy? The answers to these key questions help develop a brand sensory package. What appeals to you is not important. It is all about the customers and what appeals to them.
The image of a business is the picture created in the minds of the customers and prospects, along with the emotional impression they associate with it. It is the same combination of conscious plus unconscious, reason plus impulse, and logic plus emotion. It is the emotional, impulsive, unconscious part of us that holds most of the cards when it comes to how people perceive a business.
The image people have of a business is mostly the emotional impression they have of it. People form these images through all the elements of the sensory package – all the things they come into contact with. It is what they hear, see, taste, smell, and touch. Everything they sense leaves an impression with them.
A company’s sensory package is the one thing that can be controlled. The image created by the sensory package is left to each customer. Create your business sensory package for the most favorable image in the minds of the most desired customers by using what is determined about their demographics and their psychographic information.
Recognizing and Utilizing Objectives for Your Sensory Package
A company name is one of the first sensory impressions made on customers’ unconscious minds and can contribute significantly to the expectation they have about potential interaction with the company.
If possible, a business name, along with the products and services being offered, should accomplish four objectives:|
- Instant recognition of your products, services, and company
- Differentiation and positioning among other products, services, and businesses in your industry
- Favorable associations and impressions linked with the company name
- Promise of emotional gratification when seeing your company name
A great example of using a company name for a branding sensory package is McDonald’s when using the “Mc” in their name to every possible advantage. They associate their name with Big Macs, McNuggets, McMuffins and even McCafe. The McDonald’s naming philosophy is an essential part of their brand.
When trying to determine what color to use for your company name and sensory package, put together some variations of colors used and ask for feedback. There are four considerations when choosing shapes and colors for a business: visibility, retention, preference, and association. When looking at the visibility side of the shape or color, certain colors and shapes are more easily seen by both the conscious and unconscious mind. For example, yellow is a high-visibility color while blue is low visibility. Red and yellow used in combination create hunger and thus are used in the fast-food business (example: McDonalds, Burger King). For retention, certain colors and shapes can be more easily remembered by the customer’s unconscious mind and will be more easily recognized and remembered.
In performing some marketing research, I have learned that some colors and shapes are innately more appealing than others. Among men, blue enjoys high preference in all its shades and variations. Similarly, variations of basic shapes have the same preference as the basic shape they most resemble.
A great example is that rectangles are simply another version of a square, and angular pointed shapes like five-pointed stars fall into the triangle category. Each color and shape provides a stimulus to the customer’s unconscious mind. However, be aware of cultural differences when dealing with colors and shapes. Understand the color and shape impressions that are created. The mind perceives the shape suggested by the overall configuration of the visual elements.
Do not underestimate the importance of a brand sensory package. It speaks directly to the unconscious minds of your customers and prospective customers. It speaks a language of perceptions, emotions, impressions, good and bad associations, and expectations of gratification.
If an overall brand sensory package is created that communicates the wrong signal, then great products and services, great location, and the impeccable customer service your company delivers will be undermined. If the brand sensory package is right for the target customers, then the business has a much greater chance of growing.
To develop a successful brand sensory package strategy, it is important not to plunge right in and start adjusting the look, feel, sound, smell, and taste of your brand. Do research as set out above and formulate a sensory package by setting the stage. Allow careful selection of the channels, tools, and senses you intend to tap into when building your future brand sensory package.