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What is Experience Design?

The name Experience Design was born with the advent of new media and the digital world, which caused the absence of a tangible object to be designed, unlike what happened throughout the history of design, with product designers, graphic designers, fashion designer, etc..

The ED relieve the object itself and joins the experience that the user will have with the medium interactive experience as this becomes the final product, and the important function of making the customer experience the brand / product / service in its entirety The Experience Design is run by a specific area of design, but the intersection of several disciplines that consider all aspects of brand and business - the product, packaging and design of point-of-sale to clothing and attitudes of employees.

ED can be defined as the delivery, through the design of the promise made by branding at all touch points with the brand of a different experience and exceed customer expectations.


A Time for the Senses

In a time of intense mergers and acquisitions, many companies are suffering from “Brand Blur.”
While we have five senses, few companies pay attention to the “complete” effect their brand can have on people. Looking at your brand differently from your competitors’ and presenting a cohesive and comprehensive sensory experience can create an image that will have more staying power in the minds of your customers and prospects.

Research conducted a year ago showed that aural communication is just as important as visual communication. Testing Intel Inside®, the researchers documented that the Intel melody was as recognizable and memorable to the consumer as the Intel Inside logo.

Similarly, Dr. Trygg Engen of Brown University conducted studies that found our ability to recall scents and odors is much greater than our ability to recall what we have seen. Clearly, many corporations are losing opportunities to fully exploit their brands.

B.O.C. Gases of Guildford, England, is one of several companies that has carried out commercial scent experiments for clients. It tried out the aroma of newly washed linen for Thomas Pink, the famous shirtmakers in London’s Jermyn Street, and tested the fragrance of fresh leather in the showrooms of a car dealership. Duncan Roberts, B.O.C.’s sales and marketing manager, said that companies have even approached him regarding the creation of “corporate smells” to go along with their corporate logos.

The practical applications of BrandSense are broad–ranging, from helping you gain a clearer picture of how your brand is perceived in the marketplace, to developing ideas for complete environmentaldesign. We’ll take an in-depth look at the senses. From brain science breakthroughs to psychological studies and startling aroma technology, we’ll dissect the senses and their importance to branding.


Recognition and Perception

Every brand strives to impress its audience. Companies spend inordinate amounts of money to create or alter two things: recognition and perception. Recognition and perception, in turn, can only be perceived through one of five senses. All knowledge, in fact, is taken in through the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and nervous system. That information is stored differently in the mind: some of it is sent straight to long-term memory, while other units of information attach themselves to nodes along pathways of constructed associations – leading to other memories, emotions, feelings, etc. How the mind makes the leap from sight to symbol recognition to, say, elation, is still relatively uncharted territory. Still, barring divine brand intervention, everything consumers know about your brand begins with recognition and perception through the five senses. Like atoms in physics or molecules in chemistry, the senses represent the most basic units in the science and art of branding.

Ever since we began walking and raised our noses from the ground, vision came to dominate our view of the world. Much of the information we receive to enable us to live enjoyably and effectively is visual or auditory. This is clearly reflected in the way we think about advertising and branding. In today’s world, we have a tendency to give less consideration to our primitive senses – touch, smell and taste.

In an environment flooded with sights and sounds, advertisers competing against the clamor to get their message heard may want to focus on these “older” senses of touch, smell and taste. Not only does this distinguish the brand itself but it can also affect a person in a much more emotional, even instinctual way.


The Sense Connection

Companies attempt to reach customers’ senses through broadcast advertising, print ads, direct mail, word-of-mouth and the product itself, as well as a myriad of other more ethereal ways. Advertising uses visual and audio stimulation prevalently, often to evoke a smell or touch that can, in turn, trigger an array of emotions and sentiments. To appreciate your brand’s sense connection, to reinvigorate it or create a sense connection, you must understand the associations that different kinds of sensory input can make in people’s minds.

While associations are not perfect, and cultural differences do exist, you can link your brand to attributes and emotions directly through the senses. If your brand personality is “Adventurous and Luxurious” – say, Land Rover–smells you want to associate with the brand might include spices, sea air and fine leather. You might even try to recreate that pleasant “new car smell,” as used-car dealerships have been doing for years.


Translating the Language of the Senses

Our senses inform our understanding of our surroundings. From the sight of a setting sun, to the feeling of sand between our toes, or the sound of waves crashing against rocks — our senses tell us where we are. In much the same way, our senses inform and influence our entertainment and buying experiences. In The Media Equation (CSLI Publications and Cambridge University Press), authors Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass showed that audio fidelity can be a more powerful force than video fidelity — movie audiences actually perceive increased visual quality when only the quality of the audio has been enhanced.

In retail environments, brand managers are giving more thought to their brand’s “soundtrack .” According to The New York Times, vw.com found that since it added music to its site, the average visitor stayed five minutes longer.

The use of sensual stimuli provides a language of context, a language that is culturally rich and highly sophisticated. Sinister background chords signal the bad guy in a television show; the smell of hotcakes on the griddle signals breakfast; the feel of cashmere signals quality, and so on. Our senses provide the context by which we form opinions and personal connections. They create expectations that we hope will be fulfilled.

Brand relationships operate in much the same way. Brands have personalities: they have attitudes and communicate expectations. A brand’s promise also works in a similar way to the expectations created through the senses. If a financial brand, for instance, associates itself with the sound of a champagne cork popping, the audience may expect celebratory profits.


Putting the Senses Together

Sounds, pictures, words, smells, tastes and tactile stimuli are not as important individually as the relationships between them and the brand. People react to brands holistically. When Van Gogh painted with green he knew how orange would react next to it. In the same way, when we associate a sound with a brand, we need to know how it will interact with the pictures, or tastes, that are also associated with it.

We must build brands in the same way people react to them: holistically. We must use sound, smell, and taste (all of the senses) as part of the same palate that blends to form a complete BrandSense connection. In much the same way, any sensory stimuli used must be compatible with the brand or product. A 1992 Bone & Jantrania study found that lemon-scented cleaner was rated more positively than coconut-scented cleaner. Conversely, coconut-scented sunscreen lotion was rated more positively than was lemon-scented lotion. Both odors were regarded as pleasant.

Any pleasant scent is perceived as nice, it seems, but in order to influence purchasing decisions the scent should be associated with the product.

Everyone can smell McDonald’s from at least a block away, and anyone who has spent time inside a Starbucks has a sense of the type of music they play. So how does BrandSense apply to other brands, which generally offer something intangible – like expertise?

BrandSense is just as important in business-to-business as it is with services companies. A core part of the brand experience is the customer’s perception of how you measured up to your brand promise. Did you deliver on what you said you would? Was the customer’s experience positive? Did your communications technology work seamlessly?

If you want your brand to be recognized, to create an impression with your audience and a perception of your company, then your brand needs to pay attention to sensory influence in much the same way as product brands – perhaps more. Does your brand have a personality? Are you targeting a traditional audience, or a younger audience with different perceptions on life and money? You need to identify those ideals, build a personality around your brand that fits your target audience, and attach correct and effective sensory associations to your brand.

As your brand develops in the minds of your target audience, the image of who you are and what you do will be transformed into audience perceptions. These perceptions can save you time, open doors and work for you without your physical presence. Your brand should also play a major role in your recruiting and employee retention efforts.

Giving Your Brand Some BrandSense™

BrandSense infuses strategic business thinking into all of a company’s aesthetic decisions, which together make up its brand. BrandSense is also a way to distill a brand down to its essence, without all the jargon and nonsense that often accompanies branding efforts. It’s a way of perceiving a brand that takes into account the way we perceive the world.


Sight. Sound. Taste. Touch. Smell. = BrandSense

What your customers take in with their five senses is what ultimately creates a Brand Experience. From each Brand Experience comes the perception of who you are: your Brand Personality.

We conduct Brand Storms to help your team look at your brand in a different light. By starting with the most basic units of branding (your senses), you can more clearly evaluate your brand’s personality and learn how your target audience is experiencing your brand every day.


The Brand Wheel: Creating Tasty Ideas

Using a Brand Sensory Wheel, you can dissect brands and build marketing ideas that will impact the brand experience of your customers, employees and other key audiences.


Quantitative Analysis: BrandSense Audit™, SensePlan™

Senses as a whole have not been given the same amount of consideration as words and pictures when a brand or marketing campaign is conceptualized. With television ads, for instance, the effect of sound tends to be treated intuitively and is typically left to the final phases of production. Ironically, when the piece is completed, sound is granted critical status. Senses such as smell and touch are largely left unexplored at every phase of the branding and marketing process.

Most companies do not fully understand how they are using the five senses to create recognition and alter perceptions. Environmental design plays a role in Multi-Sensory branding. For service companies, Multi-Sensory branding often represents the most important way clients experience the brand. Yet it is treated as an extension, not as the heart and soul, of a brand.

The primary reason for overlooking the senses is a dearth of quantitative information. Where can the Marketing Director of an insurance company go to learn how to incorporate the sense of smell or taste into a brand? Where are the facts and figures to support assertions about what sensory perceptions mean to people?



When reinventing your brand, go back to the building blocks of how your customers create impressions: the five senses.

BrandSense is a great way to get outside of preconceived notions about your brand and go one step
beyond the customer’s voice. Get to the customer’s other senses and let your employees become brand advocates as they also experience your brand with their senses.

Branding doesn’t have to be an endless exercise that leaves marketing teams exhausted from PowerPoint presentations filled with branding jargon. Instead, it can connect with the team and their five senses, empowering them to experience the brand in new and authentic ways. Let the Sensing begin.