Ever walk into a place instantly feeling in a better mood? Or, suddenly feel somber because the surroundings are dark and cold?
Human senses (sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste) shape our feelings, and ultimately our decisions. A complex biological link exists between how our senses react, interact, and subsequently impact our decisions to act or not: Our senses and subconscious emotions play key roles in the process without us even knowing. It begins the moment you smell an aroma of something pleasant, fresh cookies or fresh bed linen. Or, we hear sweet sounds, see the order of attractively poised products, or touch the decadence of a favored lotion. These types of experiences generally please us, increase our mood, and escalate our desires for the experience.
Marketers are very aware of our senses and how to increase the likelihood of transactions. For example, a wine store [may] play classical music [to] sell more champagne, [whereas] pop music [may]… sell more liquor. Or a store may note something as simple as an objects positioning; for example, a slice of cake is seen as more desirable when the fork next to it is positioned towards the viewer’s dominant hand than when it is not.
Psychologists explain this phenomenon: we feel faster than we think. In simple terms, our limbic system that processes emotions works more rapidly than our rational system. Our rational system, which requires greater cognitive resources, takes longer to process stimuli. Accordingly, when a product is linked to a positive… feeling, our brains quickly create an association between this positive feeling and the product. Thus, that product will be chosen much faster this way than through the computation of rational information.
These sensory experiences are especially important in our era of digital marketing. Brand development, marketing communications, and product loyalty more than ever require market research. Research has shown the ability to influence the design of an object… generates emotional attachment that leads to psychological ownership. The selection of the product’s features… generate feelings of control and ownership, allowing the consumer to feel that an object is “theirs.” It is important to remember that brands are also based on a combination of multi-sensory experiences, as well as emotions. The greater the appeal to the senses and emotive characteristics, the more likely the brand is to elevate themselves among the target audience and, in turn, gain loyalty.
“Nothing we use or hear or touch can be expressed in words
that equal what is given by the senses.”
– Hannah Arendt