Experiential Marketing: Using the 5 Senses to Bond with Customers

Brant Kelsey / August 25, 2015

The human senses are keen. Touch, tastes, smells, and sounds have the power to evoke powerful memories for people. That’s good news for business owners.

Experiential marketing tactics stimulate senses and are a powerful addition to any brand development arsenal.

With a little creativity, you can employ experiential marketing techniques that get people talking about, and remembering your brand for days, weeks and even years.


Sight is the easiest sense to master and is the one most closely associated with “branding.” Effective visual branding can be done using a memorable logo or a signature color palette.

Taking it a step further, what other visual items could you introduce? Victoria Secret models simply wear underwear, but have “angel” wings. You can spot a brown UPS truck a mile away, even if you can’t see the logo. If you see someone walking the mall with a brown bag, you think Bloomingdale’s.

What can you add to your visual brand experience that will make it instantly recognizable?


It’s crazy. You’re driving down the interstate, and an old song comes on the radio. Memories come flooding back and you’re transported back in time. Before you know it, the song is over and you can’t remember the last 5 miles.

Sound is a powerful tool when building a brand. For decades, companies have used jingles, slogans, songs, and sounds to make products easier to remember and make money. Who doesn’t know the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s giggle? Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there! Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese. Heck, even Harley-Davidson attempted to trademark their famous sound. Welcome to Moe’s!

Can you add something audible to your marketing or customer experience?


You might think “taste” is only for restauranteurs. Wrong. Even if you don’t sell food, taste can be part of your brand.

Banks have been doing this for years – visit the drive-thru and get a lollipop!

When I was a kid, Skelly Oil used the “taste” trick. When the driver would come to fill up the gasoline tanks at our farm, he would leave a pile of Tootsie Rolls with the bill in the farm shop when they left. Even though they are no longer around, in my mind Skelly Oil and Tootsie Rolls are synonymous.


Imagine going to the mall (remember those?) and catching a whiff of the sweet scent of Cinnabon. As you kept walking, you could smell Abercrombie & Fitch. Even further down would be Bath & Body Works. Each of these companies has learned that, for them, the way to our wallet is through our noses. Could your company have a signature smell?


Touch is probably the hardest to way to brand your business, but it can be done. You can brand your product through the use of unique packaging. Beverage companies are especially good at this.  Crown Royal sells their canadian whiskey in a purple cloth bag and Coca-Cola has their signature hourglass bottles.

But touch isn’t restricted to packaging only. One stay at a Westin hotel and you’ll understand how they have successfully used their heavenly beds as a marketing tool.

Get Started With Experiential Marketing

It’s not always about “what” you are selling, the price of the item, or your crazy awesome service. As illustrated above, it can be the “experience” of the brand delivery. Next time you need a great new marketing idea, remember experiential marketing and the five senses you may be overlooking.

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