Senses and Sensible-ity
How often do you fully use your senses?
I was walking through a drab bit of town the other day and saw this scene.
A bed of beautiful flowers in a traffic island near a small roundabout.
Probably ignored or ‘unseen’ by most drivers as they focus on the road ahead or keep an eye out for pedestrians.
But not by the passing pedestrian. Particularly the observant type like me. Well, usually like me.
I was struck first by the bold colour first. Would you call it purple?
And then by the gentle fragrance floating up from the pretty petals. (My sense of smell is not so good so these flowers did well to register on my nostrils).
Thirdly, by this thought.
How much copy in marketing uses the power of ALL the senses?
When was the last time you saw a memorable advert in a newspaper or magazine?
When was the last time you heard a radio advert which moved you to take action?
When was the last time the words on a website, landing page, social media ad or email delivered a sense of smell to your nose?
When was the last time a piece of copy made you feel a sense of touch?
When was the last time you could taste a product through the written word (and, by the way, TV ads don’t count because it’s easy to make a picture of food tempt your senses)?
Quite a bit of business and professional services marketing is a bit dry. A bit like that last sentence.
We could have given the reader a more powerful punch to the senses by being a little more imaginative.
How about this?
“You may have noticed this yourself. Some copy used in business marketing can be as dull as ironing creased shirts for two hours. Some copy used by professionals who serve can be as dry as the landscape in Death Valley.
“You’re reading but you’d rather be doing something else. You just want to skip the copy like you’d skip a duff track in favour of your favourite track on Spotify.”
I’ve just made that up to give an example. I’d work on refining and re-working it to nail down the right imagery and senses. But you get the gist.
Make use of the senses – it works.
If you want to add a sixth sense – be my guest.
Remember, it’s easier on TV to entice the senses.
Apple shows you the latest iPhone XS… just two phones swirling on screen. They look cool. Beautiful. Desirable.
Spotify jars the ears with an ad that includes ‘interruptions’ – to recreate the irritation caused by ads which interrupt the listening experience… unless you upgrade to Premium and pay a monthly subscription.
Smell is harder to do on TV. Even if watching Masterchef. Easier just to think of your holiday in Thailand and the smell of the street food. Each morning you pass that cafe on your way to work and they’re cooking bacon for a breakfast sarnie. The food festival where the celebrity chef is doing a demo and the smells from the pots, pans and open oven waft through the marquee.
For touch, just visit Waterstones or any other decent book shop. And watch how people browse. Rarely do people just stare at a display or shelf. They pick up a book. Perhaps enticed by the look of the colour. They feel the book in their hand. They flip to the back cover plot summary and blurbs. They flick through a page or two. They run their hand over the front cover.
It’s all part of the buying process.
Surely if you have been in a supermarket, at a food festival or even in the High Street there will be a moment when you have been offered the chance to have a taste of something before you make a buying decision.
That fruity gin. That piece of flapjack or fudge. That cheese. That sausage.
Good marketing grabs at your senses like a passing stranger who grips your coat lapels and pulls you sharply towards them – away from the passing danger.
There’s a jolt. A spark. A hit.
Good marketing can also wrap a shawl around your shoulders and draw you in for a big hug.
Warm. Comforting. Reassuring.
It’s all about the senses.