It is no new thing to talk about engaging all the senses when it comes to branding.
There is also an often-used phrase when it comes to selecting your favourite tipple ‘the first sip is with the eye”. But with so much competition out there and the explosion of craft spirits, what happens when the eye cannot even see the wood from the trees.
On a recent trip to Fogg’s Tavern on St Martins Lane in London’s Covent Garden we stumbled upon its Gin Parlour; housing over 150 gins and 14 different tonics. The plethora of gins was quite overwhelming to the point where selecting what you wanted became a challenge.
This is where brand recognition becomes such an important element. Where reassurance plays a vital role. But big brands rest on their laurels at their peril, they must continue to innovate and bring out new news. But equally they must maintain brand equity at the same time or lose the very thing that they are remembered for. It is with this in mind that engaging the six senses becomes so valuable.
Courvoisier was famously toasted at the unveiling of the Eiffel Tower in 1889. At first glance you notice the unique brand badge. A subliminal link to the cross shape as you look from ground level up through the spine of the tower. In the hand you touch the embossing and debossing details inspired by the lattice-work of the tower. The taste of the golden liquid is implied through the gold foils adorning labels and cartons.
For Penhaligon’s, a brand that is all about fragrance, they recognise that smell and aroma doesn’t need to just equate to fragrance. Iris Prima builds on the story of the ballerina with a nubuck suede label. On opening the cellophane protective wrapper the unmistakable smell of fresh new leather hits you. And when it comes to sound their outer packaging is being updated to have the reassuring clunk of a magnetic closing mechanism.
But design must never be reduced to a functional list of elements that you tick off. It is more emotive than that. Great brands must aspire to that sixth sense, that sense of “je ne sais quoi”. Does it surprise and delight, will it be desired and will it bring you fame? Get these things right and no matter how crowded your market you’ll rise above the clutter.