At Huxly we take a multi-sensorial approach to thinking about brands and products.
The Devil, you could say, is in the detail.
Successfully engaging the senses is the reason why people are more likely to buy a car; because the steering wheel felt good in their hands, or the door made a great noise when they shut it. Not because of its safety rating, or the quality of its engine - seriously!
Our colleagues at MMR, masters of the sensory panel, have encouraged the importance of sensorial alignment for brands. It's an approach that allows brands to be elegantly constructed with the utmost diligence and synergy, to positive business effect.
Interestingly, Neuroscientists have proven that the senses can influence one another to make a whole impact that is greater than the sum of its parts. A research team at the University of Oxford found that high-frequency sounds enhance sweetness in food, while low sounds bring out bitterness. (Spence and Shankar June 2010). Food for thought if you are in the restaurant trade, and something British Airways have used to try and tackle the well documented problem that some food flavor's fall flat at altitude. See here.
With this is mind let's take a tour of popular brands who are harnessing the power of the senses, to create a sense of flow.
1. Consider the difficult challenge of the brand team behind toilet paper, trying to communicate to consumers, amongst other things, that their toilet paper feels especially nice and soft on one's... ahem… bottom. Enter the Andrex puppy, the perfect way to bring this to life sensorially, and without awkwardness. It's been such a successful metaphor for the brand that they are still using it 45 years later.
2. Like your chocolate with a side of pain? Managing Toblerone's awkward triangular shape, on paper not a feeling we would actively seek out, creates a fundamentally quirky and pleasurable discomfort that has become an intrinsic part of the brand's sensory experience.
3. This Skoda ad, still one of our all-time favourites, is rich with subtle sensory cues. The slow and delicate touch of the bakers' hands on the car components create a sensation for the viewer that a watching assembly line of robots building the Skoda in a typical car plant could never do!
4. How do you describe the sensation of Diet Coke in your mouth? Watch the brand beautifully bring to life the sensation of your first mouthful from the bottle in this super sensorial TVC.
5. Watch Richard Seymour's Ted Talk on 'How Beauty Feels', in which he talks about the slow 6 second dim of the inside lights inside a BMW. Chances are, it's something you have never thought about, and although we struggle to express why we all like it so much, it does something truly meaningful to our senses.
So next time you're briefing an advertising campaign or setting out to create a new innovation concept, remember that there's a whole world of sensorial benefits that could make all the difference for a consumer picking your brand over a competitor's.
Huxly have some great approaches to exploring sensorial insights – get in touch if you'd like to know more.
Karen Poole, 27th June, 2018