August 27, 2023


Sensory marketing is a strategy that has a significant effect on the consumer’s senses, influencing their perception, judgment, and behavior. The primary goal of this marketing technique is to communicate a direct message to the consumer’s brain, generating interest and

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Sensory marketing is a strategy that has a significant effect on the consumer’s senses, influencing their perception, judgment, and behavior. The primary goal of this marketing technique is to communicate a direct message to the consumer’s brain, generating interest and tempting them to purchase a particular product, thus creating a bond between the client and the product. Given the crucial role that the five senses play in human life, establishing brands that have a high degree of importance is a vital factor in the continuously growing market. Additionally, sensory brands help to develop a potent sensory connection with clients. The literature on sensory marketing identifies five distinct elements, where sensory stimuli are created, and consumers can be influenced: Visual (Sight), Atmospheric (Smell), Auditory (Hearing), Tactile (Touch), and Gustative (Taste). These sensory elements generate sensory expressions and influence grounded cognition, ultimately impacting consumer behavior.



As is often inherent to human nature, many consumers make purchasing decisions based on the emotions, feelings, and mental image they experience after using a particular product. Marketers around the world have developed marketing trends based on human emotions, taking into account factors such as time spent in a store, satisfaction gained from shopping, prioritizing, choosing retail marketing, store files, satisfaction gained from the product or service, desire, consumption-oriented marketing, decision making based on styles, desire and interest of the consumer. Various research studies have been conducted on the behavior of consumers in relation to their senses, resulting in the concept of “Sensory marketing”. This type of marketing seeks to impact the senses of the consumer, influencing their perception, judgement and behavior. The ultimate goal of Sensory marketing is to send a direct message to the consumer’s brain, creating interest and tempting them to purchase a particular product, thereby building a bond between the client and the product. However, this novel marketing trend has led to consumers feeling more confused, frustrated, tired, and cynical compared to the past. Since the five senses play a crucial role in human life, establishing brands that prioritize sensory experiences is a key factor in a market with ever-increasing brands. Sensory branding helps to establish a powerful sensory relationship with the client, solving many of the advertisement challenges faced in the present market. In other words, Sensory Branding has proven to be an effective marketing communication tool. Researchers have found that products with more sensory components create better brands.


Implementation of sensory marketing strategies and the Consumer behavior

According to the research conducted by Schmitt, Lindstrom, and Kotler, a consumer is frequently drawn towards a specific brand due to its sensory experience. Further studies by Lindstrom and Kotler demonstrate that our understanding of the world is based on the experiences we gain through our senses. It is a well-established fact that our senses possess tremendous power to evoke emotions. By comprehending the precise sensory experiences of the consumer and its impact on the product, manufacturers can create unique brands with a personal touch. In modern times, marketers use sensory branding or emotional branding as a marketing strategy to foster a stronger bond between the consumer and the brand. The five senses and their expressions, namely Visual (Sight), Atmospheric (Smell), Auditory (Hearing), Tactile (Touch), and Gustative (Taste), are crucial in this regard.


Visual factors (Sight)

Sight is a crucial aspect of our lives and plays a pivotal role in our daily activities. Similarly, in the world of marketing, sight is considered as the strongest sense and is a potent tool. Over 80% of commercial and shopping communications are transmitted through the sense of sight. It is imperative that creative teams utilize their imaginative and artistic abilities to the fullest extent to design visually captivating campaigns and messages that can capture the heart and mind of the consumer. One can make any product visually appealing by using logos, creating color codes, designing attractive packaging, and developing a branding strategy.

Speaking of sight, the eye is the most critical component of this sense. The lens focuses light through the vitreous humor, which is a clear gel-like substance that fills the back of the eye and supports the retina. The retina receives the image that the cornea focuses through the eye’s internal lens and transforms this image into electrical impulses that are carried by the optic nerve to the brain. This process enables us to see. Sight is vital as it keeps us going throughout the day, from the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed. We rely on our vision every moment of our lives as it enables us to create a mental picture of our daily moments.

As the famous quote goes, “first impression counts!” It is the ultimate responsibility of creative directors and teams to create that perfect image that can capture the consumer’s attention. By looking at the image, they should be able to understand the message and create an appealing impact. The visual appeal of a product can significantly influence the consumer’s decision-making process, and therefore, it is vital to create visually appealing campaigns. The creative team must take into consideration various factors such as the target audience, the brand’s values, and the product’s unique selling proposition. They must use their creativity, imagination, and artistic skills to develop campaigns that can create a lasting impression on the consumer.

Auditory factors (Hearing)

According to Peter Drucker, “the most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” Undoubtedly, hearing is one of the most vital senses that humans possess, playing a significant role in our daily lives. The human ear is capable of identifying a wide range of sounds, ranging from a minimum of 16 cycles per second to as much as 2800 cycles per second. Furthermore, sound is also recognized as an essential element in branding and marketing, serving as a strategy to enhance the brand’s image. When appropriately utilized, sound can create a unique identity for a brand, which can help it stand out from the crowd.

Sound has the power to influence our decision-making process and also significantly affects our attitudes and behaviors towards products and services. Studies have shown that sound can exert a strong influence on our purchasing habits and other unconscious behaviors. Music, for instance, has the ability to lift our spirits and improve our mood, which is why it’s often used in marketing campaigns to create a positive emotional response from consumers.

In marketing, sound is considered an essential tool for communicating with the unconscious needs of consumers. Since consumers have different needs and preferences, it’s essential to use sound effectively to connect with them on a more profound level. By doing this, brands can create an emotional bond with their target audience, which can help to foster loyalty and advocacy in the long run.

Gustative factors (Taste)

It is a daunting task to connect food taste with the preferences of consumers since what one person finds delectable may not appeal to another’s taste buds. The competition in the food industry is always intense, making it crucial to devise innovative ways to make your food taste better than your rivals in a healthy manner. Coca Cola, for instance, provides a “Bite” or “Crispness” as soon as you take a sip, creating a distinct identity for itself. According to studies, to enjoy the taste, other factors such as the ambiance and the way food is served should also contribute significantly. As consumers, we are always willing to try new things, especially if it’s pleasing to our palate. Even if it’s the same food we eat every day, like Roasted Chicken, if it is on the menu as Roasted Chicken with a Twist, it will undoubtedly generate more interest. As a result, it is critical that restaurant owners come up with creative and vivid names to attract more customers. After implementing this strategic approach, restaurant sales have increased by 27%. Martin Lindstrom’s additional research reveals that 16% of the Fortune 1000 companies have incorporated tasting into their brand to boost sales growth.


Atmospheric factors (Smell)

Smell, out of the five senses, has the most exceptional memory. It is omnipresent, and its essence lingers in the air. It creates recollections that can be invoked by the mere whiff of a scent. Unlike the other senses, the eyes can be closed, ears can be covered, one can refuse to taste, but the smell will always be there. Smell is a crucial component of successful communication, accounting for 45% of the brand’s success rate. It is something that remains within us, creating a lasting memory. Our favorite food, the scent of our grandparents, the fragrance of rain that brings back sweet memories, or the aroma of flowers that evokes a sense of sadness – all of these memories are linked to smell.

Smell works in tandem with our emotions, influencing our actions significantly. The same brand of perfume is used repeatedly because it makes us feel good, sensational, and revived. Smell plays a vital role in creating loyal customers and making purchase decisions. It also brings us happiness, contentment, fulfillment, and relaxation. Smell can establish a long-term or short-term image in a customer’s mind. Appealing smells create a long-term memory, and consumers are more likely to make it a part of their daily routine.

When we link our emotional experiences to a particular smell, we remember memorable images linked to that scent. This can be linked to either long-term or short-term marketing strategies. Smell, therefore, holds immense potential in creating a lasting brand image in a customer’s mind. It has the power to establish a connection with the customer that goes beyond the product’s physical attributes. The sense of smell is an often-overlooked sense in marketing, but it should not be underestimated. Smell has the ability to evoke emotions that can influence consumer behavior and create a lasting impression on the customer’s mind.

Tactile factors (Touch)

Touch, being the first sense we acquire, has proven to be a secret weapon in many successful relationships. In the human body, touch is considered the largest sensory organ. Furthermore, the sense of touch associated with brand building shares a whopping 25%. The feeling of happiness or peacefulness felt through touch is truly amazing. Similarly, simply allowing the consumer to touch the products creates a positive energy within the store and uplifts the attitude in shopping.

In today’s world, with the rapid development in technology, touch screens have drastically changed the lifestyle of humans. With everything within reach through a touch of a button, shopping through a touch screen device encourages the shopper to interact more closely with the product online. Especially when it concerns electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers, and stereos, it’s human nature to touch and experiment with all the options available in that particular product.

Enabling the consumer to touch the products creates a positive attitude towards purchasing the item, which might not have been the case if touching was not allowed. Allowing the consumers to touch the product not only encourages them to purchase, but it also builds up a relationship with the product, creating a trust upon the quality of the product.

Consumers tend to shop in a carefree mindset, so it is crucial that the environment of the store must be customer-friendly, creating a happy, carefree atmosphere for the consumer to shop freely. Restrictions in a store can easily put customers off, so it is vital that retailers create a carefree shopping atmosphere for the client, enabling them to freely touch and feel the products.


Theories pertaining to sensory marketing

The objective of the research is to explore the five senses and identify critical components that can lead to significant discoveries in each of them. The study commences with haptics, which involves investigating person-product, person-person, and person-product haptic interactions. The research also includes a discussion on the notion of disgust. Smell is examined next, with a focus on perception and learning. This is followed by an investigation of audition and taste. Vision, on the other hand, is given little attention due to the extensive research conducted in advertising in the past. The five senses serve as a suitable foundation for our discussion of grounded cognition, which means cognition that is anchored in sensory experiences. The accompanying figure illustrates the conceptual framework for sensory marketing.

Figure 1 is derived from the conceptual framework of sensory marketing.


 Perception plays a pivotal role in shaping grounded cognition.

 The theory of “grounded cognition” stands as a foundational theory for sensory marketing. Despite extensive studies on the topic, there remains no definitive argument on how perception affects an individual’s attitude, behavior, and memory. Nevertheless, debates have arisen surrounding the question of whether an individual’s thoughts are shaped by their perception. Traditional theories on cognition maintain that thought and perception are separate entities, yet an alternative view suggests that an individual’s bodily state, situated actions, and mental simulations collectively shape cognitive processes. An increasing number of individuals support the theory of grounded cognition, and recent research in psychology and marketing has contributed to the development of grounded theories on cognition. While some marketing researchers have explored this theory, they do not explicitly use the term “grounded cognition” in their work, though it remains a fundamental basis for their research. However, a precise definition of the terms bodily state and situated actions has yet to be provided.

The James-Lange theory proposes that emotional experiences are primarily caused by bodily changes, while another statement suggests that an individual’s emotional experience can be strengthened or weakened by associated muscular movement. The concept of grounded cognition has reemerged in psychology work with discussions of attitudes, specifically how attitudes can have various representations, with somatic representations being more significant than those generated from the mind. Recent developments in neuroscience, such as the discovery of mirror neurons and the observation of their activity in the motor systems of monkeys and in individuals with brain damage, have given rise to the revival of grounded cognition. It has been observed that areas involved with motor and somatosensory activities are also occupied in entirely perceptual activities such as stimulus identification.

Grounded cognition and metaphors

Metaphors have become a prominent point of interest within the field of grounded cognition. Certain metaphors, such as those involving sensory experiences like the smell of fish or the feeling of warmth, have gained particular attention. Research has shown that holding a warm cup can influence an individual’s judgments, leading to a greater likelihood of purchasing gifts for others over oneself. Neuroscience has supported this finding by demonstrating that the insula, responsible for processing physical warmth and social warmth in terms of trust, is involved in this decision-making process. While some metaphors representing complex emotions may have a more neutral basis, others, such as fishy smells, can evoke suspicion. This bidirectional association between suspicion and fishy smells suggests that when one is suspicious, a fishy smell will be perceived. Similarly, the link between feeling cold and feeling lonely is also bidirectional. Although current research has only scratched the surface of grounded cognition and much more remains to be discovered, studies have shown that perception plays a significant role in cognition. Further research is necessary to understand how perception impacts learning, how physical sensation relates to a-modal information, and the extent to which language knowledge is grounded in bodily experience.

The last word

Throughout the review, the author endeavors to recognize the fundamental components and concepts of sensory marketing and strives to pinpoint the underlying theory for sensory marketing strategies, which may potentially stimulate further investigation in this specific field of interest. Further research articles would provide the opportunity and resources to generate innovative ideas while also making a significant impact. Sensory marketing is an area that requires extensive research and analysis.




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