Starting on a cheery note – let me start with an anecdote. During my college days, I was bunched in hostel together with like-minded friends and we ended up having frequent drinking sessions in the name of ideating. Once we had just started pouring drinks and as we were to raise the toast, one of my seniors asked, “Do you know why we tinkle the glasses before starting to drink?”
“Well, obviously to say cheers and wish good health to all,” was my immediate reply.
To this he said, “No my friend, you are wrong and not only you, a whole lot of people think so.” “While drinking, not all five senses are engaged – the skin touches the glass, the nose gets to smell the aroma, the tongue tastes the flavour, the eyes get to see the colour of the drink, but the ears have no job to do – so people came up with the idea of saying cheers and tinkling the glasses so that all five senses are engaged and we get the maximum satisfaction from the experience.”
His point of view was an oral history that he had heard somewhere and we all appreciated it. However, the marketers are well aware of this phenomenon and have introduced the involvement of five senses in their marketing pursuits.
I remember a friend of mine from India who often says, “Baingan ko dabake dekhna” meaning you need to press a brinjal before buying. In the past, the marketers well-captured the “touch”, “see” and “feel” aspects of the products in their marketing plans in the past through consistent packaging, colours and ambience respectively.
Consistency and coherence alone is not enough to create the “top of the mind” recall among customers. So the marketers are experimenting with the rest two remaining senses – hearing and smelling – turning the whole exercise into sensory branding.
These days if you visit the leading eateries, you will notice that they follow a certain theme to spread the design throughout the room and create a coherent ambience. However, that alone doesn’t sell. It’s a first time curiosity factor which attracts the customers for the first time. To retain the customers and make them visit again you need to create consistency in the delicacies, aroma and music around the room. A soothing music and fresh fragrance not only refreshes the customers but if the experience is consistent all the time along with the good service, then you are bound to create a horde of loyal customers.
Well, the sensory branding can not only be created in case of eateries alone but for a whole gamut of products that are being produced to cater the customer needs. The only thing that you need to consider is aim for five and not just three senses!