5 senses = 5 ways to Neuromarketing

By Foteini Tzachrista (linkedin.com/in/foteinitzachrista)

Each sense (sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste) is a different way to reach a customer. By employing Neuromarketing research we can analyze each sense and acquire multiple tools to attract the attention of our customers, influence their preferences and affect their memories of a brand.  This can help us optimize the Marketing stimuli and effectively enlarge the customer base of a brand. A glimpse of what Sensory Neuromarketing can say for each sense and its applications is presented below.


Could you imagine a world where visual stimuli play a more important role than preferences? Well, what if I told you that this is not an imaginary world? It has been found in the literature that when customers have to make rapid decisions, the visual stimuli of the environment affect their decision making process more than their own established preferences. This effect worsens when customers have to put mental effort into other tasks, or when they do not have strong preferences among their options. Therefore, a marketer that is able to employ salient visual stimuli creates a significant advantage for a product or a brand. This is especially important in cases where customers have to purchase something fast and under cognitive workload, for e.g. in a supermarket or a cafeteria at the workplace.


How about hearing? How much do the jingles and sound themes affect customers’ preferences? It is found that customers’ impressions about a brand logo worsen if the logo is paired with an unpredictable sound. A familiar sound can enhance arousal and emotion which, subsequently, ameliorates one’s judgment over a brand. Thus, marketers should be careful on the type of song themes, jingles and music that they choose to associate their brand with, since each one of them will be deeply bonded with customers’ perception of a brand.


In case you are wondering whether scents are useful to Marketing, I need to remind you that the presence of an ambient scent is proven to increase recall and recognition of both familiar and unfamiliar brands. The presence of a scent is mostly effective when consumers encode information such as the brand name of a product or the location of a store. The fact that a scent can enhance memorability is an important issue for a marketer that has to choose whether a product or a store should have a certain scent.


Haptic cues can affect consumers’ judgment on a product, as well. It is found in the literature that the same type of water tastes better in a firm rather than a flimsy cup. Therefore, touch can affect taste. In that case, even if packaging seems novel to some product designers, it can subsequently affect the perception of a product’s quality and consumers’ judgment on that product. Marketers are responsible for informing the product designers on the level of importance of such seemingly relevant or irrelevant haptic cues.


Last but not least, taste is sometimes overlooked in Marketing, although its analysis is equally insightful. Taste is affected by touch as well as the quality of a product, the preferences of consumers and most remarkably, a firm’s pricing strategy. To be more specific, the same glass of wine tasted better when it was presented to consumers with a higher price tag. This happens because on the consumers’ side, the price acts as an indication of the quality of the product. This “placebo effect” shows the power of Marketing. Marketing is not always shaped by customers’ preferences but sometimes it shapes customers’ preferences. Therefore, every detail that reaches consumers through every sense, matters.



Krishna, A., & Morrin, M. (2008). Does touch affect taste? The perceptual transfer of product container haptic cues. Journal of Consumer Research,34(6), 807-818.

Mormann, M. M., Navalpakkam, V., Koch, C., & Rangel, A. (2012). Relative visual saliency differences induce sizable bias in consumer choice. Journal of Consumer Psychology22(1).

Morrin, M., & Ratneshwar, S. (2003). Does it make sense to use scents to enhance brand memory?. Journal of Marketing Research40(1), 10-25.

Plassmann, H., O’Doherty, J., Shiv, B., & Rangel, A. (2008). Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences105(3), 1050-1054.

Ramsøy, T. Z., Friis-Olivarius, M., Jacobsen, C., Jensen, S. B., & Skov, M. (2012). Effects of perceptual uncertainty on arousal and preference across different visual domains. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics5(4), 212.

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