Monday, August 12, 2013

Use Synesthesia to Reinforce Store Image

Synesthesia is the cross-sensory phenomenon where certain sounds produce in the shopper’s brain perceptions of colors, each sound bringing forth a particular hue. Or how the sounds of music can arouse sensations of taste.
     Synesthesia can be used to reinforce the image you’d like your store to project. In university laboratories and retail field settings, researchers at Freie Universität Berlin and Technische Universität Berlin exposed consumers to different feelings of surface hardness or to different temperatures. The results of the studies indicate that greater amounts of hardness make consumers somewhat more likely to think of a retail business as rugged. Higher temperatures—as long as they’re not too high to be pleasant—make consumers more likely to think of a retail business as having a warm personality.
     Sophisticated brain mapping technologies allow for an explanation of synesthesia in terms of adjacent and overlapping anatomical pathways. Other explanations concern the associations among tastes, smells, textures, sights, and sounds which we’ve learned over our lifetimes as consumers. Specifically, taste can be stimulated by verbal descriptions, not just by the sensory experiences themselves. Consumer researchers also refer to this as “affective ventriloquism.” And the more of these senses that are pleasantly stimulated, the more likely the shopper’s movement toward the sale.
     The quality of background music in a restaurant influences gustatory experiences when eating and thereby, the image the diner carries away as the restaurant image. Specifically, research from Oxford University finds:
  • Sweet tastes and sour tastes are accentuated by higher-pitched music 
  • Bitter, smoky, and woody tastes come through better with lower-pitched music 
  • Piano or woodwind strengthens fruity flavors 
     Referring to multiple senses might add to affective ventriloquism. University of Michigan researchers presented one of two chewing gum ads to consumers. The first version read “Stimulate your senses.” The other ad mentioned only taste, reading “Long-lasting flavor.” All the study participants then sampled the gum.
     Those people reading the multiple-sensory version before the sampling gave higher ratings to the flavor of the gum. The researchers repeated the multiple-sensory versus taste-only advertising/sampling with potato chips and with popcorn. The results were fundamentally the same.
     Use descriptions that appeal to the full range of sensations in your ads, promotional materials, signage, and packaging text or menu text. Then provide in-store sensory experiences to reinforce your business’s image. You’ll gain an edge at the time the consumer samples your store and the items you sell.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Sin No More with Synesthesia 
Reach Out for What Will Touch Your Shoppers 
Practice Personality

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