Creating Immersive Sensory Experiences for Fun and Profit

create a truly sensory experienceMarketing in the past was more general, interruptive and one-way, and it is no surprise, since it relied almost exclusively on broadcast media such as radio and television. The idea was that the sponsors would pay to support the free programming and therefore had the right to interrupt said programming with their marketing messages.

Today we have nearly limitless sources of information, with hundreds of television stations, local radio, multiple streaming services and YouTube for audio and video content plus gazillions of websites, social media and apps. As a result, the average consumer is overwhelmed with information and marketing messages and tired of being talked at.

So how can a company get through to its potential customers in a way that is memorable, compelling and pleasant? The key to effective marketing for many kinds of businesses is creating sensory experiences for your customers.

According to JWT Worldwide, “73% of Millennials crave experiences that stimulate their senses.”

When you create an immersive experience for customers, you have accomplished two things that will benefit you: you have gotten their attention with the element of surprise/delight and you have created a lasting memory.

Neuromarketing research shows us that in order to conserve brain resources, we are hardwired to ignore things that are common and ordinary. When we encounter something completely new, we pay much more attention to it in the moment and also when filing that experience away in our memories. We also know that experiences become more intensely felt and remembered when multiple senses are triggered.

For a truly immersive experience, you can create a special event like a pop-up shop, fashion show, exhibit or party. When you control every aspect of the event, you can make it as immersive as you like, touching all of the senses. The lighting and décor will set the mood. You can scent the room or even different parts of the room, provide taste experiences with food (which you can also enhance with scent since smell is a large component of the flavor sensation). Furniture and decorations with different textures will provide haptic sensations for people to feel and music or soundscapes will complete the experience.

If you do not have the budget to create a free-standing sensory experience for your customers, you can do it on a smaller scale at your business location by hosting special events that incorporate some sensory elements. For example, if you have a florist shop, you can have a flower arranging class, scented with honeysuckle flower. A bank or credit union can offer a free seminar on paying for college, with collegiate decorations and the scent of spiced apple cider to invoke the upcoming fall semester. A hotel can give tourists an authentic taste of the locale by featuring a local musical act to perform in the hotel bar, complete with cocktails with local flavors and matching scent.

Here are some things to consider when planning your sensory experience:

Intensify – Engage multiple senses to create truly memorable experiences

Since one of the goals is to make your event, and my extension, your brand memorable, you want attendees to really notice the sensory aspects. The more senses you engage, the more the experience will be immersive and memorable. Make sure, though, that the various sensory elements go together, or you will not get your desired effect.

Invoke – Stimulate the senses to build emotional relationships

Think about how you want the attendees to feel during the event and about you as a company. These emotions and attitudes will determine the sensory elements that will work best. For example, if you want them to be uplifted and cheerful, you may want to have bright, yellow lighting and use a citrus blend fragrance. For a more relaxed, cozy feeling, blue or purple décor and warm smells like amber or vanilla will put people at ease.

Embody – Use sensory metaphors to show what your brand stands for.

We unconsciously associate certain sensory input with more abstract concepts and this is frequently mirrored in the way we talk. You can non-verbally communicate your brand’s values through your event’s images, scent and décor.

Let’s say that one of your brand values is morality and integrity. People associate tall or vertical spaces with good morals, as evidenced in language (looking down on someone, or lofty ideals). Make sure you have high ceilings at your event. You may also want to use a scent that is light and open, maybe with a mint note.

Perhaps your brand specializes in making things easy for your customers. The concept of ease is associated in our subconscious with physical smoothness. Your event should have smooth, shiny surfaces on walls, furniture and decorations to communicate this idea. Use a simple scent to further communicate ease of use.

You can have a lot of fun creating immersive sensory events for your customers and it is one of the most interesting and memorable ways to engage with them. You may even be able to leverage them to get press coverage.

Contact your Air Esscentials rep today to help you put together a truly amazing sensory event.