How to trigger emotions in experiential marketing

Multi-Sensory Marketing On average, people are being bombarded with over 10,000 visual advertising and promotional messages per day. While 80% of marketing campaigns are simply visual, how do you know if your message is getting through to your audience? To break through this cluttered environment, we need to enhance consumer’s senses and emotions by adding new elements of engagement that will encourage people to interact with your brand.

Playing on the five senses in marketing is nothing new. It’s all about how we experience things; it’s about giving people something they can see, feel, hear, touch and taste so they can then familiarise themselves with the brand. By triggering our senses, we get an emotional response. The feeling of something comfortable, the taste of a favourite wine, or the smell of a nice coffee, all this can provide an exciting way for people to experience something in sensory delight.

One of the deeply rooted senses that produce an instinctive emotional reaction is ‘smell’. As 75% of our emotions are generated by scents, smell is directly connected to the limbic system in the brain. Therefore, it represents a direct line to feelings of happiness or hunger, both of which are quite difficult to get away from.

From the experiential standpoint, smell has an instantaneous effect on our emotional state that can be either good or bad, and ultimately affects our shopping and spending behavior. Consumers are attracted by favorable scents but disguise other bad odors. As people are able to recognize approximately 10,000 different odors, the opportunity for brands to emotionally engage with consumers by their senses is wide-ranging.

The subconscious messages triggered by sensory elements can drive higher brand recall. Lush cosmetics is a good example of this; the smell of their stores is what differentiate them from any other cosmetic retailer. Their soaps are often designed to look and smell like bars of chocolate or coloured fudge, enabling customers to feel and try their products before making the final purchase.

As experiential experts, we understand how multi-sensory experiential campaigns can build rich experiences and create deeper engagement with consumers. Yet, innovative audio technologies such as audio spotlight devices are being used to play at people’s imagination, getting some amazing reactions from the audience. A great example of this is the experiential campaign ‘Listen to your conscience’ from the Fairtrade Banana in a supermarket in New Zealand.

Today, many emerging technologies can be used to cut through the clutter of purely visual messages and grab the attention of consumers. By creating a multi-sensory experiential campaign that links to people’s emotions, you can certainly develop strong bonds with your audience and offer a real experience for people to feel, touch and connect with your brand on a new level.


Hotcow is a multi-award winning brand engagement agency specialising in experiential marketing. Our mission is simple: to help brands understand the power of “experience-based marketing” and offer expertise in how to develop, plan and execute campaigns in the right way to get the right results, while showing that every pound spent is measurable. If you want to learn how to use senses in your marketing campaign, contact us.

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