Academic journal article Journal of Media Research

The Impact of Sensory Branding on Consumer Behavior

Academic journal article Journal of Media Research

The Impact of Sensory Branding on Consumer Behavior

Article excerpt


This paper aims at generating an insight on the study of unconventional advertising, meaning those techniques that are different from classic advertising by attractive images and persuasive messages and by 'exploring' the consumers' minds, experiences and senses. The theoretical basis will generate a review of the main concepts revolving around the phenomenon known as "sensory branding". The empirical data will be obtained by conducting a series of interviews with specialists in advertising and focus-groups that will target students. Both theoretical and empirical sections will answer to three research questions that will subsequently reveal the importance of sensory experiences in nowadays advertising.

Keywords: brand, sensory branding, senses, consumer behavior, perception.


The field of advertising faces a constant challenge: to always bring something new and effective in order to keep the audience interested and the clients satisfied. In order to do so, advertisers must integrate new, interesting elements into the campaigns' strategies and pay attention to what converts an individual into a loyal consumer, engaged in a close relationship with brands. Thus, the current paper attempts to bring relevant arguments and collect data with regard to the importance of an unconventional advertising branch - sensory branding - on the way consumers behave when involved in the buying process.

Firstly, the need of such a study relies in the social-psychological and economic trends of the nowadays society. The fact that we live in a "consumer society", like the French theorist Jean Baudrillard used to say, is a general truth and it is an inherent characteristic of the post-modern human being. Consumerism is more than a society phenomenon; it is an insertion in the collective mind of society. More than the people's dependence on material goods and possessions, the world faces a more specific challenge, which is known as "hypermodemism". Hypermodemism implies consumption not only for achieving a certain social status, but also for one's own desires and benefit. Consequently, advertisers and marketers must focus all their attention on the consumer experience during the buying process, which implies the use of senses, emotions and unique experiences.1

Secondly, nowadays consumers have become more intelligent and more sophisticated, as far as consumption is concerned. The individual is constantly 'attacked' by thousands of commercials, which generated the phenomenon of oversaturation and made him less perceptive of the advertising images and messages around him. According to a study, an individual sees over one million ads throughout his life (which would actually mean around eight hours of ads per day, for six years)2. Once the consumer loses his interest, advertisers must search for new ways of attracting their target. In addition to this, the nowadays consumer takes certain product attributes - such as price or quality - for granted, which reflects the need for different brand associations, especially more emotional ones, in order to create a strong relationship between the individual and the brand, one that is based on trust and loyalty.

The third reason for the necessity of a research on sensory advertising refers to the evolution of new technologies, such as the Internet, in general, and e-commerce, on a more particular basis, which allows the home delivering of products and services. This way, the customer does not have to get actively involved in the buying process (he just needs to sit comfortably on his couch and click the confirmation button on his online shopping cart). As a consequence, stores and offline companies are forced to make more effort than they previously used to by simply exhibiting and promoting their products through classic ways. They need to make use of unusual methods in order to make the consumer give up the comfort of his own home and come to the store to buy what he needs. …

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