It is with great pleasure that I repost an article by PPB’s editor, Tina Filipski. It’s good reading. Enjoy!
Guest blog by Tina Berres Filipski, editor, PPB magazine | Originally published in Advertising Week Social Club, September 15, 2015
With the abundance of ad messages coming at consumers from multiple sources, it’s not surprising that ad avoidance is at an all-time high. This tendency to close an ad or change the channel is a real concern because marketers want their audience to desire engagement with their brands. Best-selling author, entrepreneur and agent of change, Seth Godin, whose blog is one of the most popular in the world, recently wrote that the most valuable forms of marketing are consumed voluntarily.
Advertisers have discovered that the way to the decision-making part of the brain is not only through a prospect’s eyes or ears. Advertising that appeals to people’s sense of smell (a branded pen filled with vanilla-scented ink), taste (a gift box of silky chocolates) and touch (the softness of a Pima cotton logoed t-shirt) is a fresh approach to driving sales and, more importantly, to making the advertising message stick.
Today, we hold more computer power in the palm of our hand than Apollo 11 had when it landed a man on the moon. Technology feeds us a constant stream of news, notes, entertainment, educational content and advertising messages 24/7, on the device of choice, at our desks, in airports, on busses, trains and planes, in bars and restaurants, in our cars, on the street and in our homes. It’s conservatively estimated that the average adult is exposed to no fewer than 200 visual advertising messages a day; that’s 70,000 per year. Amid all the noise, it’s easy to filter ad messages, confuse them or tune them out completely.
It’s not surprising then, that the average adult has an attention span of eight seconds (the average goldfish can pay attention for nine seconds) so advertisers must create messages and methods of communicating them that are innovative, engaging and memorable.
This is where taking a multi-sensory approach with sound, touch, taste and smell reinforce the visual message to produce a more powerful and memorable experience both for the advertiser and the prospect. Yasushi Kusume, a brand and innovation designer, author, speaker and lecturer says that applying multi-sensory design to all the touch points (moments of contact with a user) allows a product or service to produce a more complete, and ultimately better brand experience.
Appealing to the senses can also positively affect consumers’ memory about the brand. In one example, scientists discovered that adding tea tree oil to wooden pencils helped recipients remember the logo on the pencils. Two weeks later, recipients who received fragrance-free pencils experienced a 73-percent decline in recall but for those who used the scented pencils, there was only an eight-percent decline.
So how do you create a multi-sensory experience? Pairing an online ad with an offer for a tangible promotional product (such as a logoed travel cup offered in an online ad from a state tourism department) is a proven way to keep the ad message top of mind. Liquor distributors have found value in promoting new brands by partnering with bars to serve up their drinks in LED-lit take-home glasses. Real estate agents and homebuilders keep their names in front of new homeowners by gifting them with a logoed key chain embedded with a sound chip. Likewise, take-out restaurants can remain memorable longer if they tuck a sound-activated refrigerator magnet into each order. Car dealers can also keep that new-car smell fresh in a new owner’s mind with a scented car air freshener. Insurance companies and banks can put a smile on clients’ faces by sending them home with a chocolate-scented pen or beribboned gift pack of the real thing.
By creating multi-sensory experiences in pairing the tactile value of promotional products with visual or auditory media, advertisers are also reinforcing name recognition for the brand as research shows that 88 percent of consumers were able to recall the advertiser’s name on a promotional product received in the past 12 months, while only 71 percent could recall a newspaper ad seen the week before.
“If a picture’s worth a thousand words, what’s the worth of the real thing?” asks promotional consultant, author and speaker Jae M. Rang, MAS, in her new book Sensory Media. “I’m going to suggest its image to the power of five—five representing our five senses. Here’s why: When you hold a promotional product you hold the “brand in your hand.” It’s different than seeing a billboard or watching a commercial. A promotional product is an interactive, multi-sensory communication tool that can create or recreate a brand experience. Each time you pick up that pen, wear that t-shirt, drink from that water bottle, or write on that sticky note, you’re reminded of where it came from and are, in some way, interacting with the brand imprinted on the product.”
Unlike all other forms of advertising, promotional products recipients actually say “thank-you” to the giver and then keep and use the product for up to two years on average. No other media can claim that.
In a world where consumers are flooded with ad messages, and the staying power of the impression can be as fleeting as an Instagram post, promotional products offer a tangible, memorable and refreshingly innovative way to promote a brand.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tina Berres Filipski is editor of PPB (Promotional Products Business) magazine, the flagship publication of Promotional Products Association International, the trade association serving more than 11,000 manufacturers, decorators and promotional agencies in the U.S. and around the world. Before joining PPAI in 1995, she produced publications for the meetings/hospitality and home furnishings industries, as well as a consumer magazine for upscale Dallas-Ft. Worth homeowners.