Seeing beyond sight in research
Increasingly, brands are tapping into senses beyond sight in a bid to enhance engagement with consumers. In the last year alone we’ve seen Glenfiddich experiment with sound-infused whisky, and high-street bookstore Foyles launch a new shop complete with sounds and smells. By engaging the other senses, brands are able to be more relevant, connecting with consumers on a more emotional, human level.
So, given the power of senses in branding, how can they be used to enhance consumer research?
Integrating all five senses into research allows access to a deeper, more implicit response to brand design. Sound, smell, texture and taste tap into our sub-conscious mind, unlocking emotions more readily than purely visual stimuli. Engaging consumers in this way can deliver a richer, more articulate response, on anything from design, to retail, and even multi-dimensional brand experience.
It’s an approach we used to uncover the relationship between consumers and the in-store experience in a recent project for NEXT. We found that by integrating sounds and textures into our method, consumers were able to express a more emotionally-driven, detailed response to the store design. This helped reveal that consumers actively seek a more gratifying shopping experience, and allowed NEXT to see the store through the eyes of the consumer – quite literally!
Multi-sensory research is something we’re really interested in, so we’ve developed Sense It – a bespoke toolkit, complete with methods and stimulants that encompass all five senses. Given how powerful a tool the senses seem to be, it’s surprising to consider how research still tends to focus primarily on sight. Perhaps this is something we’ll soon see change….