Sensory identity

Had a great conversation with Tony and Nick at The Partners today. The concept of sensory identity came up…

The Partners are specialists in branding and brand identity. What that means these days is becoming increasingly complex. But in many people’s minds (both within clients and within the agency world), branding is all about visual identity. Logos, fonts, colours…

We live in a very visual world. The weird and wacky world of neuro-linguistic programming talks about sensory preferences, and how each of us generally have preferences for visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. The majority of us, it seems, prefer information visually and that seems to reflect in or language: think, for example, of an equivalent term to “visualisation” in another sense than the visual…

To really make a connection emotionally with people, though, a mix of sensory references really helps. Sensory language is what distinguishes a great novel from an instruction manual (well, that and a plot). Some brands are making moves in that direction: many have audio “stings” (think the Nokia tune, or the Intel ‘bongs’, for example); Subway and Lush stores amongst others have an olfactory signature. But the emotional connection that we increasingly have with devices (particularly smart phones) gives brands the opportunity to engage with their clients and customers in multiple media (and therefore multi-sensory) way.

Hence a move- from branding as visual identity to branding as sensory identity.

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