According to our friends at Wikipedia, Sensory branding is a type of marketing that appeals to all the senses in relation to the brand. It uses the senses to relate with customers on an emotional level. Brands can forge emotional associations in the customers’ minds by appealing to their senses. A multi-sensory brand experience generates certain beliefs, feelings, thoughts and opinions to create a brand image in the consumer’s mind.[1]

Sense: Any of the faculties, as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from outside or inside the body.[2]

Sensory marketing: Marketing techniques that aim to seduce the consumer by using his senses to influence his feelings and behaviour.[3]

Sensory branding is used to relate to the customer in a more personal way than mass marketing. It is a technique that does what traditional forms of advertising cannot.[4] It is used in retail design, magazines, showrooms, trade-fair booths, service centres, and corporate headquarters.[5] A multi-sensory experience occurs when the customer is appealed to by two or more senses.
According to Rieunier (2002), the sensory marketing approach tries to fill in the deficiencies of the “traditional marketing” which is too rational. Classic marketing is based on the idea that the customer is rational, that his behaviour is broke up in defined reasoned steps, according to the offer, the competition, the answer to his needs…By contrast, sensory marketing put the experiences lived by the consumers and his feelings in the process. These experiences have sensorial, emotional, cognitive, behavioural and relational dimensions, not only functional. It aims to create the adequacy of the products with their design and their packaging, and then to valorise them in a commercial environment to make them attractive. There, the consumer is behaving according to his compulsions and emotions, more than his reason.[6]
Marketers mostly appeal to sight and sound.[7] 99% of all brand communication focuses on sight and sound. However in many instances, sound and smell are more effective than sight when branding a product or organisation. Also, visual images are more distinctive when matched with a second sense.[8]
The main use for sensory branding is to appeal to the consumer’s senses. It is also used to understand the emotions and experiences of the consumer when being drawn to, purchasing or using the product, penetrate and dominate market share, increase profitability and to ensure initial and repeat purchases.[4] Sensory branding is used to create an atmosphere that encourages the customer to pay money and can be influenced by sight, noise, touch, taste and smell.
Sensory marketing is defined as a way of: • measuring and explaining consumer emotions • spotting and capitalizing on new market opportunities • an opportunity to maximize product profitability • ensuring first and repeat purchase (loyalty) • ensuring long-lasting product success [9]


Sight is the most used sense for marketing because it is the one most responsive to the environment.[4] We can appreciate logos, corporate colors, characters and other graphical tools with which one can identify a specific product. According to fashion retailer Gina Tricot, ‘the eyes buy 70 or 80 percent of what people buy.’ Sight is how the customer knows the product offering, quality, changes, store layout, materials, lights and colours. Shapes and colour are the first aspects of a brand that is noticed by the customer.

Colour is a big influence on visual branding because it can affect people emotionally. According to the Seoul International Colour Expo, The colour of a brand logo improves brand recognition by 80%. And 84% of people believe that colour amounted to the major consideration when they choose a brand. Different colours affect people differently, for example, red ‘is the highest stimulation hue. It increases pulse and heart rate, raises blood pressure and stimulates appetite.’ This can be used by sensory branding in restaurants to stimulate hunger or in bars to because of its exciting properties.[10]


Sound is used in branding to evoke emotions and feelings to influence brand experiences and interpretations.[1] Perhaps the second most used variable by marketing and advertising is the sense of hearing. Sound when matched with a message is a powerful way to make the customer remember it. Background music is an effective way to influence customer behaviour at the point of purchase. If used properly, music can create a mood for the consumer that encourages them to buy, for example playing rock and roll music in a guitar store.


Smell is used in branding because it increases the customers’ remembrance of the brand.[1] The human nose can distinguish over 10,000 different odors, besides being the most sensitive of the senses; it has a tremendous evocative power of memories and experiences over the years. Smell is the sense most linked to our emotional recollection. It can create instant connections between a brand and other memories. Neuromarketing studies show that 75% of emotions are triggered by smell. Smell is linked to pleasure and wellbeing, emotion and memory. Therefore it can influence customers’ emotional state and mood to make the customers more susceptible to impact customer behaviour. Restaurants sometimes send artificial smells into the areas around the venue to increase awareness of their product.

Research by the Sense of Smell Institute indicates that while people’s visual recall of images sinks to approximately 50% after only three months, they recall smells with a 65% accuracy after an entire year. Similarly, a study carried out at the Rockefeller University shows that in the short term we remember just 1% of what we touch, 2% of what we hear, 5% of what we see, 15% of what we taste and 35% of what we smell.[11]


Taste fuses all the different senses together to create a holistic brand experience. Therefore name, presentation, environment, scent, sound and texture must all be considered when branding with taste. Taste is linked to emotional states, and so it can alter mood and brand perception. Gustative marketing is usually used (for obvious reasons) especially for food and beverage brands.


Touch strengthens brand identity and image by appealing to this sense. Touch considers physical and psychological interaction between the customer and the product. Touch is a way to control the ‘unconscious of the consumers, their perceptions, feelings and tastes’.[4] Touch can be manipulated through materials, weight, softness, and comfort of the product.