Ever-faster change, greater customer choice, and channel proliferation are realities every business faces today.

In this still-challenging time, developing an exceptional brand that will differ from the competition is more crucial than ever; businesses need to focus their attention across multiple touchpoints, Employee Experience, Customer Experience, and Sensorial Experience to enable them to build loyalty so they can grow their profit.

To achieve this, you need to understand your internal and external customers’ behaviour, experience, and emotions. A retail study by Motista shows that consumers with an emotional connection to brands have 306 percent better lifetime value than satisfied customers.

Connecting at an emotional level means putting the five senses into practice. Smell, touch and taste are linked to our limbic system, the right side of the brain which is responsible for creativity, memories, feelings, and emotions. It’s these senses in particular that can make a brand more impressionable to a consumer and influence their purchasing habits.

However, it is estimated that 83 percent of all branding only appeals to the eyes. Visual cues, such as gifs, pictures, and videos are processed in the cortex, the left side of the brain, which is responsible for thoughts and actions – the analytical, logical brain that is also linked with hearing.

Of course, it’s not physically possible to wear a car, nor to eat clothes, so brands must use sensorial experiences to create associations instead.

By tapping into the emotional triggers that prompt consumers to make unconscious decisions and to buy on impulse and desire, brands can create long-lasting memories.

When McDonald’s wanted to get rid of the negative perception that its outlets smelt of stale French fry cooking oil, they asked for the help of sensory branding experts, Simon Harrop & Partners.

They created a signature fragrance designed to capture and express all the good things the brand stands for. The fragrance could then be used everywhere – incorporated in cleaning products, and diffused in the restaurant, creating a subtle aroma effect, which after research based on scanning some of their consumers’ brains, they concluded that activating the olfactory receptors more than doubled the emotional impact of the dine-in experience.

So here is my challenge to brands – how can you get your customers to taste something that can’t be eaten?

How can they smell something that has a non-descriptive scent? How can they hear something that can’t be heard?

This is where innovative thinking is required.

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