Customers are bombarded from every direction with marketing messages; to such an extent that consumers can tend to become a bit oblivious to them. Brands looking to differentiate themselves must focus on delivering sensory appeal as it is no longer what the brand looks like; but what does it feel like.
This translates into the fact that no matter what brands have to say about their products, it is the memories associated with the brand that will dictate future choices, and user experience that will determine the lasting impressions of the brand.
Brand marketers must move beyond the realm of visuals and sound and should strive to engage with consumers through all the five senses. To feel true brand affiliation, people need a meaningful emotional connection. According to “The New Science of Customer Emotions” article on Harvard Business Review when companies connect with customers’ emotions, the payoff can be huge. The article provides concrete evidence of brands increasing profitability by fostering emotional connections with their customers. For example: After a major bank introduced a credit card for Millennials that was designed to inspire emotional connection, use among the segment increased by 70% and new account growth rose by 40%. And when a nationwide apparel retailer reoriented its merchandising and customer experience to its most emotionally connected customer segments, same-store sales growth accelerated more than threefold.
To connect with customers at an emotional level, brands must develop an emotional-connection-based strategy that spans the customer journey so as to maximize customer value. HBR research shows that on a lifetime value basis, emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers.
So how can brands foster emotional connections?
Investing in the touch points that drive emotional connections is a powerful way for brands to increase customer value. Backed by a wealth of science to show its effectiveness, engaging and appealing to all the senses is key to enhancing emotional connections.
A carefully crafted multi-sensory strategy incorporates ambient elements such as scent, sound, touch and taste within the business environment leading to a memorable customer experience; a critically important driver of emotional connection.
A key element to crafting a multi-sensory experience is scent, which provides an innovative and effective way to capitalise on a brand’s existing strategy to deliver a more stimulating, more memorable, more engaging and more enjoyable customer experience. Out of the five senses, the sense of smell is the strongest and is linked the closest to emotions and memory.
It is evident that when evaluating brands, people primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information. Scent stimulates the emotional cortex of the brain triggering emotions that form a unique bond, significantly transforming how one feels about a brand or experience.