When we think of our favourite places, we can often see them clearly in our minds. We can hear what it sounds like to stand on our favourite beach, or smell the spices in our favourite home-cooked meal. Our five senses help us remember things, and they act as triggers to recall past experiences we’ve had. The same principle applies to events, and brands are beginning to seek the benefits of sensory experiences. By incorporating the five senses into brand experiences and events, you can leave a lasting impression on attendees and ensure your brand stays top-of-mind.
Let’s start with the sense we use most frequently to navigate the world: sight. The way a brand looks is often our first impression. Brands that use sight effectively don't just showcase their products; they craft a visual narrative that resonates with their audience. Sight is becoming increasingly important as immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality become more popular. Immersive art installations have exploded in popularity, from the Monet exhibit at THE LUME Melbourne to the incredible light projections on the Sydney Opera House during Vivid Sydney. Brands are also entering this space, as demonstrated by Qantas’s 100-year anniversary experience in 2020, an immersive light and sound experience projected onto a Boeing 747 in Queensland.
Luminescent Longreach by Qantas
Consider adding immersive elements such as light installations or video projections to your next event to make the experience more memorable.
Sound can evoke emotion and transport us to another place or time, and it is one of the most powerful tools that can be used by event managers or brands. Interactive sound installations that respond to touch or movement can make an event more interactive, and silent discos allow attendees to control the noise level and personalise their experience. AR sound experiences or audio tours can help your guests explore the event space, and branded playlists can extend the experience beyond a one-time event.
One company that knows how to incorporate sound into its events and brand activations is Song Division. Song Division offers a variety of experiences involving music, and each experience is customised to your event. After asking you a few questions, they’ll create a custom jingle for your team that embodies the spirit of your brand or company. They also host ‘battle of the bands’ style workshops where teams can compete to create their own songs or craft a brand anthem.
Consider featuring live performances at your next event, or creating custom soundscapes to match the theme of your activation. Other ways to incorporate sound could include sound-infused art, sound-responsive lighting, voice-activated experiences or sound-based competitions.
Smell can be a potent trigger for nostalgia and emotion. Brands that infuse scent into their activations can create connections that go beyond the transactional and form a stronger bond with their audience. Scented environments can be created by introducing diffusers, scent machines, or scented candles to fill the event space with a specific fragrance that aligns with your brand or event theme. You can develop custom scented products such as candles, air fresheners, or perfumes that attendees can take home as souvenirs, or host workshops for guests to create these products themselves. Scents can also be used to differentiate between different areas in an event space or guide attendees through different experiences. You can incorporate scent into marketing materials like brochures, invitations or postcards so guests are greeted with a delightful fragrance. And finally, brands can create scented relaxation areas with calming scents to provide attendees with a sensory retreat.
The sense of taste can transform a regular interaction into a culinary adventure. Brands that tantalise your taste buds create lasting impressions that are as sweet as they are unforgettable. Brands can incorporate taste into activations and events through chef collaborations, themed menus, cooking workshops, or even food pairing experiences.
One brand that understands the importance of taste is Taste Film, an immersive dining experience in London that pairs cult-classic movies with the foods you see on-screen. Devour a chocolate cake while watching Matilda’s classmate do the same, or try a bite of Ratatouille as Remy prepares the dish onscreen. Taste Film immerses guests in the world of each film to create a uniquely memorable experience that leaves guests wanting more.
Taste Film, London
Last but definitely not least, the sense of touch. Brands are getting hands-on with their activations, inviting us to engage on a tactile level. With sensory items like fidget toys gaining popularity, brands recognise the potential of tactile experiences to engage with their audience. Hands-on installations that encourage attendees to touch, feel, and interact with different textures and materials will leave more of an impression than a strictly visual installation. Brands can set up displays with samples of their products or materials, inviting attendees to touch and experience the quality firsthand. They can also offer branded giveaways that attendees can physically interact with, such as stress balls, fidget toys, or textured accessories. Tactile experiences can also make an event more inclusive, such as incorporating braille displays to engage with visually impaired attendees. Tactile engagement can enhance the overall event experience and leave a lasting impression, making your event more memorable and meaningful.
Brands don’t need to engage all five senses in every event or activation in order to connect with attendees, but if you can incorporate some of these tactics in a way that feels natural to your brand, the results will speak for themselves. Next time you attend an event or brand activation that leaves a lasting impression, ask yourself which of your five senses were engaged during the experience.
Want to work directly with an accomplished experiential marketing and event management agency? VEE Agency is an industry leader in creating engaging, effective campaigns. Reach out to us at email@example.com to discuss your next project.