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Impact of Sensory Marketing

Keywords: sensory marketing consumer behaviour

Existing clinical tests on sensory marketing attempts concentrate on the broad affect of sensory stimuli on consumer reactions to different brands. This study narrows down the target of sensory elements to olfactory and auditory stimuli and will try to analyze the result of these stimuli on consumer emotions. Further the partnership between emotions made out of these sensory stimuli and consumer purchase decision is being established.


With increasing muddle in the advertising space as multiple brands vie for consumers' attention concurrently, taking the consumers' attention is becoming more challenging than ever before for marketers today. Marketers realize the need for an alternative solution mechanism to fully capture consumer mind talk about in order to enhance brand understanding.

Research implies that 99% of all marketing communication is based on what consumers see and hear. Scientific studies have demonstrated that as humans, 75% in our emotions are linked from what we smell rather than what we see and hear. Marketing generally appears to have neglected this very important sense, given the fact that branding is all about building emotional associations between a product and the buyer.


Marketers are finding new ways to develop stronger connections to their customers and drive desire for their brands by using scent, sound and material textures in immersive customer experiences. Sensory marketing is an emerging business self-discipline that applies analytical ways to amalgamate the utilization of sensory stimuli such as aroma, sound and surface in order to develop strong brands that will be more memorable for customers than typical visual branding techniques alone.

Brands develop strong stories in consumers through content and communication cleverly packaged to appeal to our five senses. This results stronger bonds between consumers and brands. The desk below (a result of a study by Brand sense) shows the importance of consumer emotions with respect to each of the five senses and the percentage marketing spend of Bundle of money 500 companies with respect to each of these senses.

Figure 1: Recognized importance of senses versus marketing spend by Fortune 500 companies


% discovering each sense as "very or somewhat important"

% spend up against the senses by Bundle of money 500 companies
















Source: Brand sense

Sensory marketing applications

Marketers from diverse industries from car to food and leisure to entertainment have leveraged sensory branding in the last few years. One of the first movers to employ sensory branding is the Singapore Airlines, using its patented fragrance 'Stefan Floridian Waters', becoming its hallmark and a typical company fragrance. The hot bath towels served to the customers & perfume worn by journey attendants is standardized to this aroma to generate an enthralling & memorable in-flight experience.

Cinemas have usually uses the aroma of popcorn to arouse the initial feeling of being in a movie hall. The breakfast time cereal company, Kellogg's has trademarked a crunchy audio and feel of eating cornflakes that is exclusive in its own way. Mercedes-Benz experienced setup a section to work on the sound of its car entrances to improve the belief of high quality among its consumers. Similarly many companies have tried out to subtly exploit the impact of sensory perceptions in building their brands and guaranteeing better consumer devotion.

Purpose and range of the study

The reason for this study is always to analyze at a simple level what impact sensory branding has on the purchase behavior of consumers. Hulten, Bertin (2012) seeks to depict consumers' touching behavior with regards to the launch of visible and olfactory sensory cues at point-of-purchase in a retail setting. The findings demonstrate that sensory cues exert a positive impact on consumers' aspire to touch. Sensory cues frame consumers' affective reactions and decision making through involving the sense of touch.

This analysis will aim to see from what extent and how multi-sensory marketing initiatives have a positive impact on the buyer during his purchase decision making process. It would also check out situations of how marketers have leveraged sensory branding to positively influence consumer behaviour and present what exactly are the key takeaways that marketers in particular can work on in order to increase brand recognition and induce studies.



Academic research shows that different sensory impressions impact consumer behaviour and perceptions of goods and services. The sense of sight is the most effective one for learning about changes and distinctions in the environment and is the most frequent sense in perceiving goods or services. Impressions of audio have been analyzed empirically by Garlin and Owen (2006), Sweeney and Wyber (2002). The sense of audio is linked to emotions and feelings and the sense effects brand experience and interpretations. The sense of smell is related to pleasure and well-being which is closely connected to thoughts and memories. The sense of taste is the most unique emotional sense and frequently interacts with other senses. The sense of touch is the tactile one, related to information and thoughts in regards to a product through physical and internal interactions.

A multi-sensory brand-experience takes place when several of the five senses plays a part in the conception of sensory experiences (Hulten, 2009). The writer defines multi-sensory brand experience the following: a multi-sensory brand-experience supports individual value creation and identifies how individuals respond when a company interacts, and facilitates their purchase and usage functions through the participation of the five real human senses in making customer value, experiences, and brand as image.

Sensory marketing model

Sensorial strategies

In relation to the five human being senses


Scent sensors

Sound sensors

Sight sensors

Taste sensors

Touch sensors







Sensory expressions

The multi-sensory brand experience

Customer equity

Figure 2: A model for sensory marketing

Source: Hulten, Bertin (2009)

A sensory marketing model takes its point of departure in the individual brain and senses, where mental flows, processes and psychological reactions happen and lead to a multi-sensory brand-experience. A person's personal and subjective interpretation and knowledge of a multi-sensory brand-experience is referred to here as experiential reasoning. Which means that, for each person, the logic plays a part in forming behavioural, emotional, cognitive, sensory, or symbolic prices.

According to Hulten, Bertin (2009), this consumer experience becomes a graphic, building the mental conceptions and perceptions of connections and inputs in the service process, which constitutes the final results of the multi-sensory experience in just a brand perspective. This perspective is defined here as an individual's beliefs, emotions, thoughts, and thoughts in regards to a brand, based on the entire experience.

Sensors aim at communicating sensations and sensory expressions that strengthen the multi-sensory brand experience for the customer. Sensations aim at expressing a brand's id and principles as something distinctive and sensorial, in facilitating the multi-sensory brand experience.

Influence of olfactory stimulation

Hyojung Ho et al (2010) show that consumers understand the connection between specific product and smell by experiencing and learning. By this natural responses and the principle of classical fitness that build through repetition, olfactory excitement influences people's frame of mind directly. And also, information from organ of smell can produce an affect on people's behaviour unconsciously by hypothalamus which handles an autonomic nerve and the urinary tract.

The author demonstrates perfume can create various sorts of positive feeling but the positive emotion cannot directly affect on determination to buy in other product types. However, scent can be utilized for motivating to purchase. In addition, perfume results in a multitude of positive emotion on fashion goods. Perfume can be utilized on marketing strategy as each product's principle. Moreover, in the case of high technology product, satisfaction was the highest. And in addition, Consumers feel satisfied and impressed from products with scent no matter its product type.

Auditory stimuli and consumer behaviour

Park and Young (1986) analyzed the effect of music (present, absent) and three types of engagement (low involvement, cognitive involvement, affective engagement) on the formation of attitudes toward a brandname in the framework of TV advertisements. Music increased the brand attitude for themes in the reduced participation condition but got a distracting effect for those in the cognitive participation condition. Its impact for those in the affective engagement condition was not clear. They claim that music acted as a peripheral persuasion cue.

The relationship between the fit of the spirits induced music (happy or sad) and the purchase occasion (happy or miserable) and its effect on purchase was studied by Alpert, Alpert, and Maltz (2005). While feeling induced by music didn't exhibit a primary influence on purchase motives, its connection with fit was significant. The creators conclude that whenever music is utilized to evoke emotions congruent with the symbolic interpretation of the merchandise, the likelihood of purchase is increased.

Haptics as a sensory marketing tool

Terry and Childers (2003) show how haptic information affects feelings and consumer purchase behaviour. Haptic information, or information achieved through touch by the hands, is very important to the evaluation of products that range in terms of materials properties related to texture, hardness, temps, and weight. The writers develop and propose a conceptual platform to demonstrate that salience of haptic information differs significantly across products, consumers, and situations. The writers use two experiments to examine how these factors interact to impair or enhance the acquisition and use of haptic information.

Barriers to touch, like a retail display circumstance, can inhibit the use of haptic information and therefore decrease self-assurance in product evaluations and raise the frustration level of consumers who are more determined to touch products. In addition, written explanations and visible depictions of products can partially enhance acquisition of certain types of touch information. The creators synthesize the results of these studies and discuss implications for the effect of haptic information for Internet and other non-store retailing as well for traditional sellers.

Analysis of books with respect to impact on consumer behaviour

The research studies evaluate show that consumers are heavily utilizing their senses to be able to perceive the grade of the product and connect it with positive emotions. The belief of different marketing stimuli includes emotional and cognitive techniques, which happen within the buyer. Based on the findings of these studies, sensory stimuli deriving mainly from the product and the product packaging such as colors, modern style, pleasurable smell, velvety structure and closure presentation sound, affect brand perception favorably resulting in a more powerful (rational and emotional) bond between your brand and the consumer.

Marketers need to give consideration, in addition to the "traditional means" of the marketing mix (advertising, pr, personal offering, sales promotion), to other very important "sensory means", such as product fragrance and consistency, store atmosphere (including store music), seems deriving by their products. Sensory marketing is a relative new concept, which involves the creative synergy between marketing, mindset, neuroscience and neuropsychology. If marketers plainly understand why new concept and make an effort to utilize the understanding of such as this study researches, they can offer a distinctive buying experience with their consumers, significantly increasing the probability of offering their products.


Sensory marketing framework

Sensory marketing can be an application of the understanding of sensation and notion to the field of marketing -to consumer belief, cognition, sentiment, learning, preference, choice, or analysis. (Aradhna Krishna, 2011). A framework can be made which conceptually talks about the process of sensory marketing:

Figure 3: A conceptual platform of sensory marketing

Sensory Perception

Product Stimulus






Source: Krishna, Aradhana (2011)

It is to be noted that feeling and belief are phases of processing involved in sensory marketing. Sensation happens when the stimulus has an effect on the receptor skin cells of your sensory organ-this part is neurological in nature. Understanding is the consciousness or understanding of sensory information.

Analysis of sensory marketing variables

Based on the platform above, it is possible to identify the factors you can use to review sensory marketing.

Stimuli created through anybody or any mixture of the five senses (touch, auditory, olfactory, perspective, tastes) can be discovered as the antecedent factors.

Sensory stimuli - Touch

If the hedonic aspects of touch can increase persuasion, the use of touch in marketing may be more broadly suitable than previously presumed (Joann Peck & Jennifer Wiggins, 2006). It is widely assumed that the role of touch is limited to providing information to the customer about the physical traits of the merchandise; however this type of touch can be used effectively only in contexts where customers have the ability to physically evaluate the product. But the use of touch as a hedonic tool gets the potential to be employed to a broad set of products and even services and in a multitude of contexts such as but are not limited to bundle design, print advertising, direct email advertising, and point-of-purchase exhibits.

Sensory stimuli - Olfactory

There have been studies which have dealt with the partnership between ambient fragrance and storage. Morrin and Ratneshwar (2003) showed that ambient scent increased recall and popularity of brands seen. Previous studies upon this topic also recommended that ambient smells result in recollections and have an impact on elaboration on product information and choice. According to Bosmans (2006), ambient fragrance can result in emotion-based semantic relationships with remembrances (e. g. , roses and newborns) and result in improving product analysis.

Stimuli - auditory

There have been various studies on the result of auditory stimuli on marketing programs. A whole lot of marketing communication is auditory in dynamics - for e. g. radio and tv set advertising announcements, jingles and songs. Addititionally there is prevalence of ambient music in retail areas, hotels, restaurants and airplanes. Also marketers create and deploy signature tones for products for unique identification for his or her brand including the audio for the Home windows OS the particular one hears every time we boot a Laptop or computer.

Ismail M. El Sayed, Dalia A. Farrag, Russell W. Belk (2006) figured the sort of background music played out in malls possessed a distinct influence on the shopping behavior of the guests. They used the Stimulus-Organism-Response paradigm to ascertain the impact of auditory stimuli on purchase behavior.

Stimuli through eyesight and taste

Aydinoёlu and Krishna (2011) demonstrate that size product labels implemented by food vendors can have a major impact on consumers' size judgments and utilization (real and identified), since

consumers assimilate the actual size information from the stimuli, with the semantic cue from the scale label.

The consequent factors identified are improved customer recognition about the brand, increase in brand recall, better brand popularity and customer purchase habit - whether the stimuli actually brings about the customer purchasing the merchandise.

Customer awareness

As a result of stimuli through the senses, the awareness of a product/brand can be enhanced in the customers' minds.

Brand recognition (learning)

Sensory stimuli is more often deployed by marketers in their products in order to ease the procedure of recognizing a brandname for a customer. Auditory and visible stimuli by means of packaging are more regularly used to permit a customer to identify a brand with a higher level of simplicity and convenience.

Brand remember (storage area)

Marketers also use sensory stimuli as a tool to facilitate a higher degree of brand recall among the clients. A typical example is that of the Intel Pentium cpu sound or even the Britannia's jingle in the Indian market.

Purchase behavior

Though sensory stimuli can assist in consciousness and recall, it is finally the conversion into a purchase that is the ultimate goal of marketers of any product. Barry J. Davies, Dion Kooijman and Philippa Ward (2003) show a model of how environmental stimuli by means of ambient scent can affect the shopping behaviour of consumers in a retail set up.

Figure 4: Model of the Affect of Ambient Aroma on Consumer Responses


Approach avoidance reactions

Affective response

Perceived ambient scent

Objective ambient scent

Source: Barry J. Davies, Dion Kooijman and Philippa Ward (2003)

Variables for study

The factors chosen for this analysis would be auditory and olfactory stimuli on the antecedent part and customer purchase tendencies on the consequent aspect.

Antecedents Consequences

Kind of stimuli

Vision Brand awareness

Taste Brand recognition

Purchase behavior

Auditory Brand recall


The opportunity of research would be to identify how marketers have deployed the use of auditory and olfactory stimuli in products, services or environments (stores, etc) to affect the client purchase behavior. The analysis will also examine the two major intermediate parameters mixed up in process - conception of the stimuli and thoughts and cognition taking place at the customer's mind.


Research proposition

This newspaper proposes that olfactory or auditory stimuli deployed by marketers in products or retail surroundings actually lead to positive thoughts and cognitive reactions about the brand for the buyer. Further these cognitive and affective values lead the buyer to the actual purchase decision.

To review the validity of these proposition, we analyze the situation in two different phases:

  • Influence of olfactory and auditory stimuli in creating positive thoughts/affective values in consumers
  • Influence of positive feelings on genuine decision to purchase

Relationship between olfactory stimuli and affective reactions in the consumer

The sense of smell is known as to be the most carefully related to mental reactions. The olfactory light bulb is directly connected to the limbic system in the brain, which is the machine related to immediate sentiment in humans (Wilkie 1995). 75% of feelings are made by smell (Bell and Bell 2007). As a result, smell represents a primary line to emotions of joy and hunger which is a sensory bandwidth that cannot be switched off (Wilkie 1995; Vlahos 2007). Thus, from a marketer's perspective, smell has an instantaneous good or bad effect on our emotional status which, as some research has shown, ultimately affects our shopping and spending habit.

Figure 5: How Objective Ambient Scents Connect to the Perceptual Process

  • Organizing
  • Assimilation
  • Covert objective
  • Objective
  • Conscious level of awareness scent
  • Sensing
  • Attention
  • Reacting
  • Response
  • Reacting
  • Response
  • Sensing
  • Attention
  • Ambient scent
  • Organizing
  • Assimilation

Source: Bradford and Desrochers (2009)

The neurological substrates of olfaction are specially geared for associative learning and mental control. Marketers can link a aroma with an unconditioned stimulus eliciting the required response and eventually prompting a conditioned response from consumers (Herz 2002). Further, because the olfactory bulbs are part of the limbic system and directly connect to the buildings that process sentiment (the amygdala) they also tightly related to to associative learning (the hippocampus) (Herz 2002). No other sensory system has this kind of intimate website link between emotion and associative learning (Herz 2002).

Relationship between auditory stimuli and affective reactions in the consumer

Ambient audio, such as music observed in hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and supermarkets, can influence consumer mood, genuine time put in in a spot, perception of your time spent, and actual spending. For instance, stereotypically French versus German music has been proven to affect the choice of wine-shoppers bought more French (German) wine when French (German) music was played (North, Hargreaves, & McKendrick, 1999); classical music has been proven to improve pleasure, whereas pop-style music to increase arousal (Kellaris & Kent, 1993).

Music in a store also influences shopping pace-slower music produces slower shopping and leads to more purchases since customers progress at a slower tempo as they move through the store (Milliman, 1982). When consumers benefit from the background music, they feel they have spent less time shopping relative to the actual amount of time they have put in in the store; if they dislike it, despite the short amount of time they have actually spent in the store, they claim to have been there for a lot longer (Yalch & Spangenberg, 2000; but, see also Kellaris & Kent, 1992).

Influence of positive feelings on consumer purchase decision

The romantic relationship between pleasant thoughts and purchasing behaviours is relatively well reinforced in the retail books (Donovan and Rossiter, 1994). In particular, the Mehrabian-Russell model (1974), which explains the partnership between environments, intervening factors, and behaviors relevant to retail setting by using a Stimulus-Organism-Response paradigm, has received the widest utilization to explain shopping emotions in consumer research. Based on the Mehrabian-Russell model, three psychological replies of pleasure-displeasure, arousal-non arousal, and dominance-submissiveness mediate people's approach or avoidance reactions to environments. (Lee and Yi, 2008).


Sensory analysis is a methodical discipline which is now utilized by all the primary brands and also companies who want to enhance their brand personal information. Because, Consumers' conception is really as good as fact (Lindstrom, Martin (2010):p106), added (non-edible) aromas prove to the scientists that buyer behaviour is absolutely affected. Nestle, coca-cola, Carlsberg add aroma to the packaging on their products. Open, unwrapped foods are how leading supermarkets and retailers entice their consumers, an example of this might be the waiting for you environment at Wholefoods.

More specific examples include; the Florida hospital which has a seaside centre in which they use scent machines to circulate the smell of sea, coconut and vanilla, with the notion that patients will be soothed and not cancel their consultations. (Hulten, Bertil, Niklas Broweus & Marcus vehicle Dijk, 2009) The Hyatt hotel chain in Paris used their French record of great perfumers and mixed that with in depth sensory brand research to create their own signature scent. Their scent brand was developed by French perfumer Blaise Mautin for the

Park Hyatt Vendome hotel in 2002 and it included eighteen ingredients. It was ultimately described as fresh cement poured over fresh oak plank, plus fresh, ever-so-slightly cinnamony pastry dough with the olfactory consistency of thick, wealthy tan silk (Hulten, Bertil, Niklas Broweus & Marcus van Dijk (2009):p64). Such thorough descriptions is there to provide our dependence on developed terminology around olfaction, due to the fact that our self-confidence and communication around aroma is still expanding. That said, olfactory storage area is not semantic but episodic and customers only come into contact with the experience not the explanation.


Much of marketing communication is auditory in nature-one hears radio and tv set advertising announcements, jingles and tracks; one also hears ambient music in retail spaces, hotels, restaurants and airplanes; then, there are signature does sound from products like the audio for the Intel Pentium chip that a person hears each and every time one starts some type of computer or the tones for Motorola or Verizon cellphones. Notably, even when one reads a word, one hears the word as well-if the dialect is phonetic in characteristics, then your words that a person reads enter a phontactic loop before being encoded in your brain, a lot like spoken words.



The findings from the research point to the actual fact that there surely is a positive romantic relationship between olfactory and auditory stimuli deployed by marketers in products or retail environments and the thoughts that the clients proceed through in the purchase situation. Also the different studies analyzed show that positive feelings produced by sensory encounters lead to an increased probability of genuine purchase decision by the customer. Thus, it could be concluded that sensory marketing attempts do have a direct impact on the purchase decision of the customers.

Limitations and future research

This research is only limited to studying the effect of sensory marketing attempts on consumer purchase behavior. However there are other parameters on which sensory stimuli could have different positive or negative effects on - brand acknowledgement (especially in the case of auditory stimuli used for sonic branding), brand recall (mainly achieved through abundant visual stimuli) or maybe consumer belief of the brand. Future research can concentrate on the effect of every of the average person sensory stimuli separately on these different consequent variables. Also this research has essentially focused on mindful sensory methods to marketing. However this review can be prolonged to the ever more prevalent subliminal solutions considered by marketers to reinforce the brands subconsciously in the minds of consumers.

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