26/09/2012

By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator Of PrPro And Owner Of Energy PR

I recently attended an event at the Institute of Packaging Professionals UK where Dr Cathy Barnes, Director of Faraday and Professor of Retail Innovation explained that a brand’s impact is much stronger if more than one sense is engaged. She argued that 83% of all marketing budgets currently focus on just one particular sense — sight. However a brand’s impact increases by 30% if one more sense is engaged, and by 70% if three are stimulated.

Although her talk was focused on what this means for packaging and retail environments it struck me that there are lessons for PR too.

All too often companies focus on the visual media only, in particular print. However media that reaches other senses — radio, TV, YouTube - shouldn’t be discounted. This is not just because such media widens the net in terms of the people reached, but more importantly because it reaches another sense, hearing — and for some people that sense is more powerful. For instance I am much better at remembering something I have heard on the radio than read in a newspaper.

This focus on the senses shouldn’t be confined to your approach with the media. It should extend to other elements in your PR campaign too.

If you are hosting events, don’t solely rely on the visual and audio, think about creating opportunities for people to touch and interact with your products.

Equally, if you are exhibiting at a show, add to the sensory experience through the use of sound or even smell on your stand. This last point may make some of you smile, but for some businesses it could be immensely powerful. Think of the cosmetics section in most retail environments, cosmetic products are tiny yet their impact at retail is huge. This is not only because the visual merchandising incredibly powerful but also because the sense of smell is absolutely engaged. The sense of touch is encouraged too, with people able to touch the product and even trial and test it.

You might argue that of course the power of smell will be important when you are selling cosmetics and perfumes, but it has also worked for Harley-Davidson. Research among its retailers has found that those which have the smell of oil in store are far more successful than those which don’t. This is because such stores create a more ‘all encompassing’ experience.

PR is all about engaging the end audience, and that end audience has 5 senses — to ignore some of them just isn’t common sense.


Louise Findlay-Wilson has two businesses to help get your PR motoring:
If you are looking for a great PR agency visit www.EnergyPR.co.uk
For more PR training and tools so you can do your own PR visit www.prpro.co.uk