Imagine a dinner party at your home: You consider the guests who are coming and what they need to be comfortable. Then you try to make the space a welcoming extension of your own personality. You choose the right songs to play on the stereo, arrange the furniture to let guests move and interact, and adjust the lighting. You carefully plan the food, and perhaps buy scented candles. Everything should work together to give guests a specific experience. If you get it right, you can turn a bad day around for them or make a good day into a great one. These same sensory elements can separate an average customer experience from a great one in your brand's business environment.
Every office or store environment, including yours, has a certain ambiance. This "feeling" in the air has an immediate and lasting impact on everyone who walks in, from CEO to employees to customers. If you arrive at work or try to run errands while having a terrible day, all of the issues hanging over you will make it difficult to get things done with ease. Refocusing and getting back in the right mood is hard for most people to do on their own. The result is often limited productivity and poor results across the board.
Many businesses don't consider the impact that the five senses can have on the office environment, and by extension, the "brand mood" that it creates. To succeed, brands have to connect in an intentional, emotional way with customers. That is exactly how Ken Eissing of Mood Media has made a successful business -- by helping companies set the right mood.
Eissing, a YPO member, spent years as an executive in large financial services companies but today focuses less on the numbers and more on the softer side of life. Eissing advises that what a person sees, hears, smells, touches and tastes in your business has a strong impact on how they view your brand, both consciously and unconsciously, affecting their resulting mood and behavior. Here are Eissing's tips - considering each of the five senses - for putting people in the right mood within your business environment:
1. First, look at sight.
For most, the first encounter with an environment is what they see and that drives their first impressions. Eissing says, "Ask yourself, 'what do I want people to see and experience when they are waiting in line, standing or sitting here or there?" In addition to pleasing the eye with attractive décor, think about making information easy to access. Innovations like digital signage can help both customers and employees interact more successfully with products and services.
2. Next, sound out the sounds.
"Just as your business has a certain look, feel and personality, it also has its own unique voice - a music all its own and sound that says, 'This is who we are'," Eissing advises. Be aware of the ambient noises in the space, and whether these are soothing or grating. If you make musical selections, choose things that will speak to your target audience, which will emotionally reinforce their identification with your brand. That in turn inspires brand perception, buying behavior and brand loyalty.
3. Sniff out the right smells.
Research shows that, for humans, sense of smell is a powerful connector, the only sense directly connected to the part of the brain that stores emotional connections and memories. "It also shows that there is a 40% improvement in mood after being exposed to pleasant scents," he says, "So, scent is an excellent avenue to create a more memorable experience of your brand." When used correctly, can strongly influence people's mood choices.
4. Get in touch with touch.
According to Eissing, "Touch is often overlooked, but shouldn't be ignored. People want to feel that they can be can comfortably be 'hands-on' in a business. It is one of the advantages of brick-and-mortar in a digital age: online customers and telecommuting workers can't physically touch or interact with products or services. That creates an opportunity for deeper meaning and appreciation when they do walk in to your space."
5. Finally, exercise a tasteful approach to taste.
"This is a consideration that shouldn't be limited just to those in the food service industry," Eissing insists. For many, food is one of life's most pleasurable experiences. "If you find ways to bring taste into the experiential mix, that can establish connections with your brand that are more immediate, personal and interactive."
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