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The Future of Multisensory Marketing
Social Technologies Social Technologies
Washington, DC
Sunday, October 28, 2007

Multisensory marketing, also called sensory branding, is becoming an important method of marketing and product development in higher-end markets, according to Kristin Nauth, author of a study, ?Multisensory Marketing,? published by the futurist research and consulting firm Social Technologies.

?Many companies are finding that when they engage consumers with multiple sensory touchpoints?not just the traditional sensory channels of sight or hearing?they can enhance consumers? emotional connection with their products and brands,? Nauth explains.

She notes that multisensory strategies seek to go beyond delivering functionality and value to evoking significant personal identification with products. ?Marketers will increasingly aim to touch consumers deeply, creating connections to memories, values, identity, and aspirations. In effect, they are using sensation as a portal to meaning.?


The drivers behind the multisensory marketing trend include:

? Science?Research into the physiology of the senses and how they interact is exploding, with fields as diverse as brain science, genomics, psychology, and food science contributing to discoveries and applications.

? The market?The democratization of luxury, a well-established consumer trend in many parts of World 1, means that companies are making premium features and designs available to the middle market and that more middle-class consumers expect and seek out these higher-end products.

? Brand differentiation?Proliferation of product choices and omnipresent marketing are forcing companies to find new ways to differentiate their products and capture consumers? attention.

TECHNOLOGY: Creating killer apps

Another driver is technology, which is enabling more refined, targeted, and/ or heightened sensory impacts.

?Early applications of sensory marketing are centered on packaging,? Nauth notes, pointing to manufacturers that are increasingly using scented ink, encapsulated-aroma technologies, and scratch-and-sniff panels to provide personalization or give consumers a sense (literally) of the product inside.

?Proctor & Gamble was a pioneer with its scratch-and-sniff toothpaste packages, and Scentisphere has introduced Rub?nSmell, a scented printable ink that can be used on packaging,? she says.

Sound and touch are also emerging sensory technologies being incorporated into product design.

?Look for in-store advertising to be transformed by hypersonic sound, which projects soundwaves in a beam that can be heard only be someone standing directly in its path,? Nauth adds. ?Mobile phones will also start to gain a tactile dimension with systems like VibeTonz, which provides a library of vibration effects that can convey a laugh or a heartbeat via touch.?


? Multisensory approaches could become much more central to marketing over the next five to 10 years?and, in fact, may become a cost of entry in some industries or product categories.

? Aging baby boomers could be a particularly ripe demographic for multisensory marketing. Not only do many boomers regard small indulgences as part of their routine self-care, but as boomers age they will require stronger sensory inputs.

? Japan, India, and Thailand are among the cultures with longstanding traditions of incorporating the five senses, but in the years to come, more US firms will borrow flavors from abroad and look internationally for novel sensory cues.

? On the flipside, global companies will need to localize their multisensory marketing to fit the tastes and taboos of the countries where they operate; some will find this a deterrent to applying multisensory marketing in all but the most affluent markets.

Kristin Nauth ) Futurist

Kristin Nauth serves as Social Technologies? house editor and also contributes to the firm?s multiclient and custom projects as a senior writer/analyst. Kristin has been in the futures field since 1995, performing services such as trend analysis, environmental scanning, and scenario development for leading firms including Global Business Network, the Institute for Alternative Futures, and Coates & Jarratt, as well as for corporate clients including Procter & Gamble, Kellogg, and Cadbury Adams. Previously a Washington-based business journalist and competitive intelligence professional, Kristin has provided services ranging from primary research and reporting to competitive intelligence for clients including the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Gannett USA, and the Library of Congress. Kristin received her degree in philosophy and English from The Evergreen State College. Areas of expertise: Boomers / Gen X / Gen Y

About ) Social Technologies

Social Technologies is a global research and consulting firm specializing in the integration of foresight, strategy, and innovation. With offices in Washington DC, London, and Shanghai, Social Technologies serves the world?s leading companies, government agencies, and nonprofits. A holistic, long-term perspective combined with actionable business solutions helps clients mitigate risk, make the most of opportunities, and enrich decision-making. For more information visit www.socialtechnologies.com, our newsletter: www.socialtechnologies.com/changewaves, and the Change)Waves blog, http://changewaves.socialtechnologies.com
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