Welcome to the Age of Multisensory Digital Experiences

26 Sep 2017|Added Value

We live in an increasingly digital world. We communicate, work, shop and play digitally most of the time or at least a digital device is used at some point during these activities. Basically most of our daily activities are done, shared or experienced with some type of digital device and that is what drives the current digital marketing trend.

However, it is important not to lose sight of what really matters to customers. When asked to spontaneously think about brands, more than 50% of customers talk about the product or service experience. Its look, feel, sound, smell, and taste. The more digitization is entering our world, the more importance we attach to real and tangible experiences. It is our sensory perceptions that cause feelings and long-lasting positive emotions and, in the end, affect our behaviour.

The fact that sensory product experiences increase the first choice rates for customers (+27%) as well as non-customers (+66%) serves to prove this hypothesis. Therefore, it is specific sensory experiences that drive sales. In addition, they positively affect long-term brand strength (+37% among customers, +53% among non-customers). So even though consumers often remain unaware of them, sensory experiences create and shape strong and iconic brands.

This is why the future of marketing does not lie in digitization as an end in itself, but as a means to end to create digital multisensory experiences and to optimize the sensory experience chain. Only in contributing to a unique experience proposition, digital marketing can unfold its full potential.

Digital developments offer great opportunities to improve sensory experiences at various touchpoints. One example is Augmented Reality, which allows brands to be visually present in unexpected ways and places and thus allows the creation of new perspectives. Apple recently launched a new ARKit developer software which enables app developers to efficiently connect the real and augmented worlds with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Facebook is working on AR smart glasses to integrate the power of Augmented Reality into its platform.

Image credit: Noah Berger, AP

AR allows for three-dimensional thinking where users not only see ads in front of them, but all around them. Moreover, it enables consumers to envision the product experience in 3D. IKEA, the Swedish home goods giant, just launched its new app IKEA Place. It helps customers to virtually furnish rooms with objects and accessories from the IKEA catalogue. Thus, it provides the possibility to actually see the products as they would appear against the colour of the wall, the dimensions of the room, to get an impression of the texture of the fabric, light and shadows. This demonstrates a great example of how digital technology can help to provide real sensory product experiences.

Image credit: IKEA Place

Another example of how digitization can help to optimize the sensory experience chain are digital assistants that give a voice to brands. Amazon’s Alexa-controlled wireless Echo speaker allows users to interact using speech, making the brand and shopping experience feel much more natural, tangible and responsive. With this invention, Amazon is becoming the new Google for ecommerce and 55% of US online searches now start on Amazon. This service is now being expanded with the use of a camera, hence integrating the sense of sight. Echo Look, a hands-free style assistant, offers a style check and enables users to see potential purchases, such as clothing, before they buy. Recent announcements state that Amazon also aims to spice up its Alexa voice assistant with a pair of smart glasses to make the sensory experience even more intuitive and distinct.

Image credit: Amazon Echo Look

These examples serve to illustrate how brands can integrate digital developments into real life experiences in a meaningful way in order to improve the sensory experience chain along various touchpoints and to consequently drive sales and strengthen emotional bond.

To summarise in tweet length:

– The age of multisensory digital experiences has arrived. Sensory product & service experiences are at the core of #brand management

– Digital services can be used to create #multisensory brand experiences along various touchpoints

– AR and voice service are great examples of how digitization can optimize the #sensory experience chain and provide a more holistic brand experience

Article written by Kristina Kampfer, Project Manager, Kantar Added Value Germany

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