Multisensory Marketing and Its Application in Tourism Flashcard

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Multi-sensory Marketing and its application in tourisM Nearly all brand communications appeal to two senses – visual and auditory. Yet the way we interact with the environment around us contradicts this practice. In fact, branding is many times defined as the sum total of ALL experiences. Multisensory marketing allows tourism managers and marketers to directly impact all five senses and thus create a strong emotional bond with current and prospective customers for higher margins, higher recall rates and protection from price-based competition. see Hear sMell toucH aste joshua G GiordmaiNa Joshua G Giordimaina is a graduate and member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK) and lectures for the Institute on a regular basis.

He has contributed to and authored a number of thought leadership articles and white papers. He has been involved in several industries and for the last few years has specialised in the tourism sector. Presently, Mr Giordimaina is the Marketing Executive for VISET Malta plc, developers and operators of the Valletta Waterfront and Valletta Cruise Passenger Terminal. JOURNAL OF THE INSTITUTE OF TOURISM STUDIES ISSUE 2 DEcEMbER 2008 | WANTED: A new paradigm shift in tourism marketing The diminishing effectiveness of traditional marketing communication tools, the increased proliferation of undifferentiated tourism services and products, the augmented sophistication of today’s tourists … these are only some of the more pronounced trends that today’s marketers and managers of tourism services have to deal with. The standard response is usually to continue doing more of the same … increase advertising, spend, reduce prices, etc. However, the more innovative managers work smarter, rather than harder.

They understand that a new paradigm shift is required in finding new and more engaging ways to interact with tourists during their visit, with the objective of getting them to walk into their restaurant, visit their attraction or spend money on the extra services in their hotel. Many times this pushes tourism services providers to seek to differentiate their position in the market using intangible, rather than tangible, benefits, by working more on the softer side of the product offer … by creating a bond between the tourist and their services, between the tourist and their brand.Multi-sensory marketing offers us a way of creating this emotional bond by directly impacting on the five senses of current and prospective customers, with the objective of influencing behaviour and attitudes towards a particular brand. This tapping into the emotional side of customers also influences the memories that visitors take away with them when they leave our Island. Multi-sensory marketing gives managers the emotional engagement with customers they need for their communications to fly over the clutter of advertising in the market, and differentiate their positioning from that of their competitors.

For the brand manager multi-sensory marketing also adds longevity to branding and marketing efforts (improving return on marketing investment), whilst for the customer it reduces cognitive workload (making brand associations easier) and facilitates recall (making positive word-of-mouth promotion more likely). The current context Multi-sensory marketing is not new. It has been in use by various major brands across the globe for quite some time.For example, Kellogg’s design the sound of their cereals in a lab to appeal to the sense of sound, Singapore Airlines matches the aroma in the cabin (sense of smell) with the interior color scheme and the uniforms worn by flight attendants (sense of sight). What is still underexploited and sometimes underrated however, is the strategic approach required for the full benefits of multisensory marketing to be harnessed, and the broad utilisation of more than 2 senses concurrently.

The benefits that can be gained from developing positive brand-related sensory experiences cannot be underestimated. According to the Behavioural Science and Cognitive Studies at the University of California Press, “People remember 20% of what they hear. If they see and hear it they remember about 80%. ” This study was concerned with the holistic management of two senses. Imagine the results that could be obtained by harnessing more than two!The link between multi-sensory marketing and tourism is simple, yet in many cases elusive – experiences inform our Multi-sensory marketing offers us a way of creating this emotional bond by directly impacting on the five senses of current and prospective customers, with the objective of influencing behaviour and attitudes towards a particular brand w elcome TRAvEL TOURISM cULTURE HERITAgE senses, the senses being linked to our memory. And memories tap right into our emotional makeups.

Thus, the tourism manager who is able to develop relevant and targeted sensorial experiences is able to tap into tourists’ emotions, creating positive and long-lasting memories – memories which visitors can later retrieve to create positiveword-of-mouth about the service and destination, with families and friends. Let’s take a look at those senses which tend to be very often overlooked and underestimated. Smell When designing campaigns and brand environments, marketers many times tend to over-focus on the visual and auditory elements of their communications.Whilst sight and sound are crucial components (we will discuss how sight and sound can be used in innovative ways to stimulate consumer perceptions and behaviour in subsequent articles), we are overwhelming our audiences with messages similar in content, structure and style. This in turn has forced our customers to develop mechanisms to ignore most of the marketing messages that reach them, drastically reducing return on marketing investment and the effectiveness of our budgets.

Seamlessly incorporating smells and odors within traditional marketing plans ensures that messages are not only unique, but more effective by stimulating otherwise underutilised senses. The potential which can be unlocked through the sense of smell is enormous. Suffice to say that the sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than the sense of taste. Smell can also be harnessed by managers to add longevity to otherwise short-term expensive marketing campaigns.This because the average human is 100 times more likely to remember a scent over something seen, heard or touched. In fact, “memory for odor is markedly resistant to time, easily accessed and tends to be characterised by a degree of emotion, clarity and vividness.

” (Laird 1935; Engen & Ross 1973; Hertz and Cupchik 1992) Such conclusions are further supported by research from the Sense of Smell Institute which found that “people can recall smells with 65% accuracy after a year, while the visual recall of photos sinks to about 50% after only three months. But what does this mean in practice for the owner of, say, a restaurant pre-occupied with such performance metrics as percentage of repeat customers? By having customers associate a unique and positive odor with a restaurant develops quick associations with the brand, thus making any branding and marketing efforts more effective. It also allows you to stand out from the crowd and differentiate your brand from competition in a sustainable manner which is very hard to copy.The enhancement of the restaurant environment also upgrades the value of your product, which could well lead to higher billing per capita.

The most crucial aspect is to ensure that olfactory marketing is not used as an end in itself, but rather as a means to end – the end being the enhancement of your brand communications. It is only through this strategic and seamless integration that a differentiated market position can be achieved. There are various other benefits.For example, the diffusion of brand-associated odors, through the public areas of a hotel, would strengthen the recollection factor of guests, thus making it easier for guests to recall memories of their stay and create valuable word of mouth – which in turns leads to repeat business from current guests and new business from their families and friends. Olfactory can also be strategically used within the context of emotional branding. This due to the fact that smell is the most ensitive of all our senses, mainly because each person has 30 million olfactory cells (or receptors) that enable us to distinguish around 10,000 smells.

It is also the only sense that works directly with the emotional side of the brain. Various emotions can be evoked in customers to facilitate specific responses and behaviour. For example, smell can be used to excite a client at a casino, create a sense of calmness in a customer care office (normally associated with the stress of submitting complaints), or conjure images of the Caribbean in a travel agency.What we are talking about here is not manipulation.

The objective is not to force a customer into undertaking a transaction which otherwise would not have occurred. The The link between multi-sensory marketing and tourism is simple, yet in many cases elusive – experiences inform our senses, the senses being linked to our memory. And memories tap right into our emotional makeups JOURNAL OF THE INSTITUTE OF TOURISM STUDIES ISSUE 2 DEcEMbER 2008 | 5 avvy marketer aims to use olfactory marketing and odors to create an environment which facilitates and strengthens the story you want to tell, the story of your core brand. Touch The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and the input of experiences and emotions through the sense of touch is literally ingrained in all of us. It alerts us to a sense of well being or pain; it allows us to feel the texture of products and informs our emotions.

For the innovative marketer looking to solidify their brand message in the minds of customers, tapping into the sense of touch is a truly powerful tool. Incorporating the sense of touch in the branding communications of certain products is not difficult. This can be achieved, for example, by giving customers the encouragement and opportunity to handle products such as in a retail environment – rather than putting up DO NOT TOUCH signs across the whole outlet! However, there are also ample opportunities for exploiting the sense of touch even within a service environment.Human contact, such as a firm handshake, can do wonders to the experience and expectations of a customer in a restaurant, or the client of a taxi.

Museums are especially well placed to take advantage of this sensorial experience. For the modern day tourist walking into a museum for the first time, the level of curiosity and expectations is high. However, unfortunately, the ultimate experience many times tends to be somewhat disappointing – especially when the only interaction with exhibits can be had from behind glass panels and at a certain distance.Museums would do well to invest in replicas of the most interesting and visited exhibits and encourage their visitors to handle these objects – in essence, to interact with the brand at a physical and emotional level. Imagine, for example, what difference would it make to the experience of a visitor (not to mention the effects it would have on recall and word-of-mouth) if he has the opportunity to wear the replica of the armour used by the Knights of St John and to feel the weight and texture of a sword.Furthermore, if this sense of touch can be actually ‘packaged’ and the customer allowed to take this away with them, managers can literally use their customers to do their communications work for them – by showing the object to families and friends and recounting their experiences.

Museums would do well to invest in replicas of the most interesting and visited exhibits and encourage their visitors to handle these objects – in essence, to interact with the brand at a physical and emotional levelTaste The sense of taste is hard to introduce in a tourism service environment. However, it can be immensely effective in augmenting the brand environment and creating an emotional bond between the customer and the service. By being able to determine what your brand tastes like and incorporating that within your brand message, you will be giving your customers a sensorial experience which is hard to forget (the level of recall on taste is extremely high) and makes you stand out from the crowd of competition in the market.One of the biggest hurdles in the service industry, is the lack of ability in bringing the service experience within marketing communications. A customer is unable to experience the service until the actual transaction is undertaken, augmenting the level of associated risk from the customer perspective.

This puts service marketers at a disadvantage when compared to product marketers. By incorporating the sense of taste within the communications of the brand, service marketers are able to add a channel through which a sensorial experience is created for rospective customers, thus not only allowing them to ‘sample’ the experience, but also reduces the level of risk as perceived by the customer and reducing the effects of pricebased competition. The important thing, as mentioned in other parts, is to make sure that the taste developed is related to your core brand. Putting it all together It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that sensorial experiences can be created to buying off-the-shelf solutions and implementing them the same day – maybe by simply adding background music to a retail environment or making staff wear a specific type of perfume.However, multi-sensory marketing is only effective when it is strategically planned for and seamlessly integrated within a holistic strategic plan. It also needs to be faithful to the core brand message – after all, it is only this which sets you apart from your competition.

Developing sensorial experiences based on your core brand identity ensures that your messages are unique, hard to imitate and appeal to your particular market segment. W

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