Utilizing the 5 Senses to Make Customers Feel Comfortable

using the senses in marketing

Not all marketing research comes from business scientists. When a customer walks into your store, a neuroscientist would identify the millions of interactions starting with sensory nerve cell receptors that transmit data to the brain. The brain then interprets the information, filtering through its knowledge, emotions and life experience to create a perception. Sensory marketing, a hybrid of neuroscience and marketing research, analyses the conversion from sense to perception, identifying the ways to use senses to make a sale. Here’s a scientific look at how our senses can drive sales.


We come from a long line of hunters and gatherers. Compared to other top predators, which depend largely on a sense of smell, humans depend on sight. Most of our brain is used to interpret sensory input of sight, either perceiving safety or identifying faces. The limbic system governs deep-seated responses like fear and safety. Before customers can be willing to make a purchase, they need to feel safe. Installing security cameras, cleaning cluttered spaces and approaching customers with a friendly face will put the limbic responses at ease, which can lead to more impulse purchases.


The link between sound and its perception is one of the most complex of the five senses. The shape of air pushed through our mouths is detected by specialized nerve cells in the ear, which the brain translates into language with all of the subtleties and nuances that come with it. Hearing is where the sales pitch is perceived. According to Aristotle, these sound waves must elicit three reactions to be persuasive:

  • Ethos: Ethical
  • Logos: Logical
  • Pathos: Emotional

Make certain that all of your pitches have these components.


One of the reasons that you have a brick-and-mortar store over an online shop is that you want your customers to be able to touch the products. Compared to pictorial representations where a customer can only rely on the sense of sight, real interaction lets them use touch and, to a lesser degree, smell. This ability to touch a product leads to a significantly higher rate of purchase. Whenever feasible, encourage customers to touch, manipulate and spatially examine the products to better be able to make the sale.


The sense of taste is a difficult one to separate out because it is so closely linked to the sense of smell, which is a very powerful primer for emotions. If a person holds his nose, thus removing the sense of smell, and tastes food, he generally will not be able to differentiate much more than salty, sweet or bitter. For a marketer to truly engage the sense of taste, you will need to develop an experiential marketing framework. To do so, have something for customers to put into their mouths that matches the feel of the other senses. This will go a long way to creating a multi-sensual shopping experience for your customer.


In contrast, smell is almost directly linked to our emotions. The smell of comfort foods cooking brings us back to childhood happiness and carefree times. Research shows that customers will spend more time in a store if it smells good. Of course, these are filtered through out memories and cultures, so make sure to tailor the scent of your store the proper demographic.

With a Bachelors in Physics and a MBA, Paul Reyes-Fournier worked in aerospace and education but his passion to do something good for the world led him to a career in the non-profit sector where he has served as the CFO of a multi-million dollar rehab agency. Paul has lobbied Congress for funds to help homeless individuals and served on the BOD for social service organizations. He is a published author, co-author of CoupleDumb.com, and has written for JG Wentworth, Walmart, and LifeLock.

Infographic: The Art of Window Displays

Some fashion brands have gained a reputation for their impressive window displays, most notably high-end brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. They go the extra mile when it comes to attracting shopper’s attention. Whether they have effective storyline type displays or they simply let colours or their clothes do the talking, these brands ensure they turn heads with their window displays.

infographic window displays

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It can be a task to get window displays right. In fact, window dressing is an art in itself which requires a lot of experience and of course, attention to detail. In our info graphic we outline some of the most impressive window displays over the past few years that have rocked the world of retail. We provide details on each: what is depicted in the display, where it is located and why is it so effective. These inspiring designs will make you look at window displays in a whole new light. From Bergdorf Goodman to Chanel and Apple, we cover some of the most impressive window displays over the past five to ten years.

See how visual merchandising is done right with our insightful info graphic on “The Art of Window Displays”. Enjoy!

~The ShutterCo Team

Do you recall the best dressed window you’ve ever seen? Care to give them kudos?

Color: One of the Greatest Marketing Ideas

color in marketing

In the world of marketing, there are good ideas, and there are great ideas. Yet, even some of the greatest marketing ideas change over time. One of the greatest marketing ideas that has changed over time is the simple concept of color.

Color to attract wealth

In ancient cultures colors were used to identify rank and socio-economic class. The Chinese, for example, reserved the use of yellow, jade, and red were usually reserved for the emperor, while deep purple, golds, and blue were reserved for the English royalty in later times.

In recent times these color fashions still evoke a sense of richness, quality, and high standards.

Psychological effects of color

The psychology of color is convoluted at best due to the differences in the way individuals and cultures as a whole may react to color. Despite of this, there are some general trends that can be used in marketing. For example, using red and yellow in your logo can evoke feelings of boldness and enthusiasm along with optimism and warmth. Using these trends to project the feeling you want may or may not produce the feelings you want, but it is sure that your logo will be more distinctive and memorable to your loyal clients.

Jogging memory with color

When you think of Cadbury, you might think of their recent legal battle for purple. Not just any purple, but a specific shade of purple that they have been using for centuries as their part of their logo, which naturally markets itself. When Cadbury won their legal battle for the trademark rights to their specific shade of purple, they reaffirmed the importance of color used in marketing and branding. The reason is simple: it jogs our memories when we see these familiar colors along the windows.

Times change, and so do people

While color is still an important aspect of marketing and branding, times are changing along with the impressions of the public. Now, people want more freedom of expression for themselves as the new wave of entrepreneurs start making their claim in the world. Color choices used in branding and marketing area making a swift change with the cultural desires. Etsy, for instance, is well known for their shabby chic, white-washed looks as well as their pastels as well as more unusual color combinations that travel in and out of style. To keep up with these changes, start up company, Insanitek, recommends that new business owners brand according to their own heart and soul, not uncertain psychology of color.

Color truly is one of the greatest marketing ideas of all times. It’s versatile, can speak volumes about your company and brand, market your products at a glance, and evoke thoughts and feelings in people as they look your way. So how do you use color efficiently in your marketing? Get in touch and we’ll help you figure out your best color schemes to use in your marketing.

More on using color…

Using color can be a powerful tool. It engages us, helps establish brand identities, market products and it increases our memory; but what about using black and white as color? We’ve grown so accustomed to adding color to almost everything, that B&W may seem uninteresting and boring. Black and white can be just as powerful and elegant as using colors. One benefit of using black and white is less expensive print costs. Using black and white together creates very sharp contrast and eye-catching appeal. Black goes well with almost every color except for very dark values and white goes good with almost any color.

White symbolizes: cleanliness, purity and innocence. In western cultures white is the color for brides, but in eastern cultures white symbolizes death.

Black symbolizes: mystery, elegance, and sophistication. In western cultures black symbolizes mourning.

Did you know?

Black is the absence of color and is therefore not a color. Black absorbs all the colors of the visible spectrum and reflects none of them to the eyes. Black can affect the perception of size and weight of objects and designs, making things appear smaller. White is the sum of all the colors, therefore white is a color. Light appears colorless or white. Sunlight is white light that is composed of all the colors of the spectrum. You can’t see the colors of sunlight except when atmospheric conditions bend the light rays and create a rainbow.

~Idea submitted by Graphic Communications, Inc., specializing in high-profile business solutions used to create a dialog between you and your market. Our services include vehicle graphics, interior graphics, exterior graphics, promotional graphics and design services. Graphic Communications believes small businesses should have access to the same comprehensive graphic services available to large businesses. Our goal is to provide these services without the high costs associated with the graphic arts industry. For more information, visit www.graphiccom.com.

True Colors: Using Color to Build Your Brand

by William Arruda

When you hear “big blue,” what company do you think of?

Some companies, organizations and even people are so consistent and steadfast in their use of color, that they almost own that color in our minds. Think Home Depot, Breast Cancer Awareness, the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.

Some companies actually do own their colors. Tiffany, for example, has registered its trademark robin’s egg blue as a brand asset.

As marketers, you know that color is an important brand asset. It helps clients and prospects recognize your company or product. But color can be used to support goals way beyond just recognition. It can be used to evoke emotion and build that all-important connection with the people who surround your brand.

You can use color to further differentiate your organization from your competitors, revitalize an aging product and engage and unite your employees, partners and customers. When you go beyond the traditional use of color, you can make incredible strides in achieving your goals.

When I worked for the software company Lotus, our color was yellow. Not just yellow—our yellow was a custom color called Lotus yellow.

This unique color was so important to Lotus that our Creative Director, Vartus—a strong brand herself—went to tremendous lengths to ensure that it was being used properly on everything from brochures to signage to coffee mugs.

Every print job cost extra because we had to add our custom color to the standard four-color process. But the cost was just a small investment in an incredibly powerful brand asset. The whole organization understood the importance of yellow and worked to ensure its abundant and appropriate use.

The Lotus corporate color was originally blue. But it changed to yellow when we moved our products into retail. Yellow boxes are more likely to be taken off the shelf, so Lotus Yellow was born. But it was not through retail sales that the yellow had its most dramatic effect. It was with the larger Lotus brand community.

Color activates your brand community

When I first joined the company, I was hit with yellow from all angles; it seemed a bit excessive. But when I went on my first qualitative brand audit, I saw first-hand how powerful color can be. Respondents in cities from San Francisco to Sao Paolo shouted “yellow” when asked, “When you think about Lotus, what first comes to mind.”

And yellow was consistent with our brand attributes: bright, positive, warm, visionary. Our yellow awareness was so powerful, that when we launched TV ads in a letterbox format (the ad was shown between two horizontal bars of yellow) people could identify that they came from Lotus without even watching them. Not bad for general brand awareness. Of course, we hoped people would watch the ads, too!

In the marketing department, we used yellow as a way to express the brand internally. We developed communications and Web-based materials that explained the Lotus brand through creative uses of yellow. Everyone in the company bought into Lotus yellow and proactively supported its liberal use. We even had a “yellow” video that was shown to all new hires during orientation.

From accounting to product development, employees considered how to include some yellow in their day-to-day activities. And business partners and alliances joined in, too. The color yellow, as strange as it seems, was a powerful and unifying force among all members of the Lotus brand community.

Color choice can’t be taken lightly

Choosing a color can be as challenging as it is important. There is a whole psychology behind color. And colors mean different things in different countries. Lotus yellow, for example, had a different formula in Japan than it did in the rest of the world. So choosing color for your organization or product is not something you do lightly.

Selecting a color to represent a person can be an even greater challenge according to Brian Wu, Partner and Design Director for Brandego, a company that builds Web portfolios for business people.

“When we build a Web site for an executive, one of the key decisions has to do with color,” he says. “What color or palette of colors will support the client’s personal brand attributes and set an appropriate emotional tone—in the way that music colors movie titles?”

Do you know what color or color palette best represents your personal brand?

The most common logo color for American corporations is blue. But blue is probably more often associated with IBM than any other brand.

And IBM takes full advantage of its unique relationship with blue. You will see blue on the corporate Web site, in all presentations, on corporate materials, on signage and in the names of many of their programs: Blue Gene, Deep Blue and Extreme Blue (just to name a few).

While IBM is associated with the most common corporate color, UPS has chosen one of the least-used colors (brown) and turned it into a tremendous brand asset. Its Valentines Delivery press release was titled “Roses are Brown.” In its latest series of ads, it replaced the corporate name with “brown” in the tag line: “What can brown do for you?”

According to color expert Jacci Howard Bear, brown represents steadfastness, simplicity, friendliness and dependability—perfect for a logistics company. These brand attributes are closely connected with the UPS brand promise. Brown is also a highly differentiated color. Can you think of another organization that uses brown?

Color supports differentiation

The ability to identify a company by its brand color is amazing. When you are standing at the bus stop at the airport waiting for your rental car shuttle, you know whether you are looking for the yellow, red or green bus. It’s more difficult to identify Budget (orange and blue) and Alamo (yellow and blue). Multiple colors seem to be harder to own—unless, of course, you’re Apple.

The rainbow colors are perfect for the Apple brand. Creative. Different. Diverse. Not an inexpensive proposition from a printing perspective, but extremely valuable from a branding angle.

Color can have a double effect

Some organizations and products have colorful names: Orange (the European telecommunications company), jetBlue, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the Red Cross, the Yellow Pages, Blue Cross and Blue Shield. They all benefit doubly from the emotion-creating power of color.

And the music industry seems to have a strong desire to connect sound with color: the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pink, Green Day, Deep Purple, Simply Red, and the Indigo Girls are just a few of the artists with colorful names.

Although blue is the most popular corporate color in the US, red seems to win out when it comes to company names that include color. Red Herring, the Red Cross, Red Envelope and Red Hat Software are just a few of the companies that chose to associate themselves with this color, which often connotes warmth, excitement and aggressiveness.

Color supports a renaissance

M&M-Mars certainly knows the value of color. It revitalized a brand that was at the end of its product life cycle by holding a contest to find the next M&M color. It turned out to be blue, and they launched an extremely successful ad campaign where the other M&Ms, who were jealous of the new blue, would hold their breath so that they too would turn blue.

That was so successful for M&Ms-Mars that it has continued to use color as a way to generate more interest in the brand. In 1992, it held another contest to choose a color. Now M&Ms have lost their color entirely. They are black and white, and so is their packaging. We as consumers can help find their colors again as part of the “Help Find Our Colors” contest.

The potential that color has to unite your organization and support your brand-building activities is tremendous. There is almost no end to the creative ways that it can be used to attain your goals. So think about whether you are getting the maximum value from your corporate color and if necessary, make a plan to color your brand.

Here are 10 ways to make the most of color

Color is powerful. It evokes emotion. It is an important brand tool, so use it wisely. To make the most of your color, ensure that it…

  1. Supports your brand attributes
  2. Is relevant to your target audience
  3. Is always the same shade and hue
  4. Is visible to all members of your brand community, inside and outside the company
  5. Is understood and appropriately used by all employees
  6. Is featured on all your communications materials and sales tools
  7. Is different from your competitors’ colors
  8. Works in all parts of the world where you plan to do business
  9. Is applied to more than just your logo
  10. Comes with guidelines on its use for partners and affiliates
William Arruda is the personal branding guru and founder of Reach, a global leader in personal branding, and coauthor of Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand (www.careerdistinction.com).

Marketing Idea #44: Showcase Local Artists

Marketing Ideas Local Artists

Display artwork for sale from local artists. In doing so, you support the local artist community, gain word-of-mouth through the artists, and bring more interest to your walls. This can be done by writing up an offer and presenting it to a local art gallery. You may want to bring focus to the display either by centering on a specific artist or by having the showing coincide with a particular (and appropriate) event.

Marketing Idea #43: Tips to Make Your Grand Opening Successful

Marketing Ideas Grand Opening

To make your grand opening successful:

  • schedule it during high-traffic times (if your location allows for it),
  • throw a big grand opening sale,
  • offer food (make this appropriate to the clientele you are seeking),
  • provide a tent for seating outside,
  • send a direct or email mailing the local market,
  • offer demonstrations of products or services, and
  • invite all local business owners, press, and the local chamber of commerce for the ribbon-cutting.

Variation: Already been in business a while? Find anything to celebrate! Maybe you throw a party over being in business so many years. Or maybe you had a recent birth in the family. Or maybe you want to celebrate a key vendor or client. There are plenty of reasons to celebrate. Pick one and show people a great time.

10 Great Office Fundraiser Ideas

Marketing Ideas Office Game Ideas

1. Create a Recipe Book

Everyone brings in a favorite family recipe which is then compiled into a single document, beautified, and published for resale.

To execute this fundraiser

Send around a sign-up sheet so you can get a feel for the kinds of dishes people would like to contribute. Have the sign-up sheet broken out into categories, such as Appetizers, Salads, Poultry, Pasta, Desserts—be creative. Be sure to include several blanks for ‘Other’ in case you forgot something. (Using categories here will also help you organize the recipe book later.) Make sure the sign-up sheet also describes the goal (this is part of a fundraiser,) the deadline for contributions and the reward for contributing (credits in the cookbook, bragging rights, a discount on the cookbook when it’s ready, etc.)

Once you have received enough recipes, compile them into your word-processing software. Apply a festive template, font-style and high-resolution pictures of the dishes for extra pizzazz.  Don’t forget to pass a draft around for additional suggestions and proofreading.

Finally, take the finished product to the local print-shop and have them printed. Hopefully, you allowed people to pre-order and pay ahead of time. (Tip: Include the option to do this with the sign-up sheet!) Pre-orders and “reserve your copy” reminders will help you pay printing costs and determine how many copies to print.

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2. Book Sale

Help employees purge clutter at home by encouraging them to dust off and donate their used books to a book sale. Sell the books at a discount and match them to new homes.

To hold this fundraiser

Most of us have books that have been sitting on our bookshelves, untouched for many years. Encourage teammates to bring in those books and donate them. Collect the books over the course of a week or two. On the day of the big sale, lay the books out to gain maximum exposure. Announce the beginning of the sale and let it go on for as long as you like. The length of your sale depends upon its popularity, since someone must be available to provide answers about prices, make change, etc.

Near the end of your sale, encourage people to revisit and benefit from a steep discount (buy one book, get a second book free, for example.) Your mission is to squeeze as much as you can out of the effort and reduce your inventory.

Once the sale is over, you have two choices: store the remaining books for another sale or donate them to the local library or city mission.

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3. Bake Sale

Give your baking teammates a chance to show their stuff by donating through a bake sale. Those who don’t bake can buy baked goods at the local grocery store and mark up the price to contribute to the fundraiser.

To hold this fundraiser

Open the sale just prior to lunchtime and make sure to broadcast a vivid reminder. No need to limit yourself to baked goods either. You can do the same thing with:

  • Popcorn
  • Hot dogs
  • Bakery goods
  • Ice cream
  • Nachos

Twist: Have any gardeners on the team? Expand this concept to holding your own farmers’ market.

Twist: Host a pancake breakfast where organization leaders cook pancakes and fry up breakfast meats and potatoes for the crew. While this can be leveraged as a fundraiser, this is also a great idea for simple employee appreciation.

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4. Cook-Off Competition

Target a popular type of dish and have staff compete for high honors. Everyone pays to eat.

To hold this fundraiser

You’ll need a sign-up sheet for this one. Collect the names of would-be cooks and have employees RSVP to the dining event. Each cook prepares a full batch of their delectable dish and brings it in for the lunch rush. Collect employee money at the beginning of the food line. Each employee gets to try as many of the dishes as they like, but all employees are limited to a single vote. Tally the votes after the lunch rush and announce the winner!

Twist: Have team members prepare delicious lunches for auctioning off to co-workers.

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5. Announce a Jean Day

Have an office where the dress code is business casual or uniforms? As long as some structure is placed on this (i.e. no ripped jeans, no denim skirts above the knee—whatever is appropriate for your organization’s culture,) a jean day can be an easy, no-muss, no-fuss fundraiser for your office.

To conduct this fundraiser

Announce a Jean Day, where people can pay a small amount ($1-$3) to wear jeans.  Let people know what the money will go toward (i.e. a holiday party later in the year, a local charity, etc.) The likeliest day for this is usually a Friday, when people are often relaxing into their weekends. Studies have shown, however, that holding a Jean Day on a Monday actually shows a boost in employee productivity. (No kidding.)

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6. Costume Contest

Get your team mates to show their true colors.

To hold this fundraiser

Charge a low entry fee for participants. Promise bragging rights and free lunch. (Yes, this eats into your revenues. Pun intended.) Since paying money to dress up in a silly outfit and be seen by your co-workers may be a deterrent, you’ll need the incentive of free food. Take pictures of this one and post everywhere. This one often accompanies other fundraisers, such as Executive Auction or Office Raffle/Silent Auction.

Themes might include:

  • Team Spirit Day
  • Halloween Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Argyle Day
  • 80’s Day

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7. Office Sports Competition

Game day takes on a whole new meaning when colleagues team up to create adventure courses throughout the office.

To conduct this fundraiser

Establish teams to create courses throughout the office. Charge a low entry fee to participate and win prizes and high acclaim. Courses may include:

  • Putt-putt golf obstacle courses
  • Nerf basketball or ping pong ball trick-shot courses
  • Office Olympics, where mundane tasks are put to a race (make X number of photocopies, collated, 2-sided, stapled, then file X number of documents, then make X number of cold calls or customer service calls, mail cart slalom, etc.)
  • Foosball, air hockey or billiards competitions (if available)

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8. Office Raffle

Everyone can chip in and buy tickets. Just be sure to make the prizes enticing, otherwise no one will see the value in playing.

To hold this fundraiser

This fundraiser is all about the prizes, so they had better be good. Lunch with the boss will only work if people actually like the boss, so tread carefully here. Buy your ticket rolls at any office supply store and leave raffle participants with little paper stubs of hope in exchange for their well-earned cash. While the possibilities are endless, raffle prize ideas may include:

  • Wear jeans around the office for a day/week/month.
  • Get a full day off, with pay.
  • Lunch with the boss at a posh restaurant, on the boss’ tab.
  • Tickets to a sports game.
  • Gift cards for restaurants, spas, movie theaters, stores or gas stations.
  • A non-business trip, with lodging and meals covered.
  • Air miles.

Twist: A variation of this would be the silent auction, where prizes can be bid upon directly. This allows for greater diversity in prizes which broadens the appeal.

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9. Executive Auction

Participating executives line up for a pageant and the employees are able to bid on them once the dog and pony show is over. The executive purchased then has to do that employee’s job for a day.

To conduct this fundraiser

Set the starting bids on the executives. These minimum bids, when added together, will ideally surpass the fundraising goal so that everything else is cream. If your fundraiser’s goal is more lofty, aim to achieve at least half with the opening bids.

For the auction stage, have the executives perform for the crowd to build the bidding frenzy. Use tasks that humanize and personalize the executives. These segments may include:

  • Give an off-the-cuff speech for two minutes involving a funny memory
  • Tell what they would do if they were President of the World for a day
  • Dance to three very different 10-second music bites
  • Runway model
  • Spelling bee (See “Adult Spelling Bee“)
  • Talk about a personal goal or interest that doesn’t involve the office at all

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10. Pin the Tail on the Executive

Well, not really, but as the title implies, this fundraising tactic targets executive authority. The object is to inspire donations at the expense of a well-humored (and hopefully well-loved) executive or manager. People will pay dearly to see their higher-ups lowered to receiving public smirks and jeers with their slice of humble pie.

To execute this fundraiser

Set the office fundraising goal. Then set the incentive for meeting that goal. If the goal is met, fundraising incentives for this strategy may include:

  • Wearing some ridiculous costume (keep it clean and present a picture of the costume ahead of time). The best costumes may ballerina animals, mythological creatures, team mascots, etc.
  • Shaving off beards or mustaches. (This only applies to the whiskered men.)
  • Wearing a competing college team’s uniform all day, singing the competing college’s fight song, or allowing staff to decorate the executive’s office with competing college fanfare.
  • Executive matches the donations or a percentage of the donations for their team, floor, agency, etc.
  • Executive is ‘jailed’ until they reach their donation goals. (Read ”How to be Arrested for Fundraising”)

Twist: If the goal is NOT met, maybe the employees have to take on the same challenge?

Marketing Idea #41: Brew the Best

Marketing Ideas Tea Time

Always offer fresh, high-quality coffee or tea. Make sure it’s good. It’s this kind of touch that shows you care about your customers. You might also want to offer bottled water for those who don’t care for coffee or tea. There is nothing worse than a company that cares so little about its customers that it makes them wait in a cramped waiting room with battery acid for coffee. The right beverage, at the right time, can have a very calming effect (even if it has caffeine).

Marketing Idea #40: Make Your Waiting Entertaining

Marketing Ideas Waiting Rooms

If appropriate, have toys, books, magazines and puzzles in your waiting room. Both parents and children appreciate having the distraction. If your office is a little more highbrow, simply keep the toys in a nice chest and offer them only when children are present, rather than leaving the toys out at all times. Waiting rooms are not ideal places for high-energy children, so even having these things available for staff to hand out can go a long way toward making everyone’s visit a more comfortable experience.

Marketing Idea #45: The Power of Aroma

Marketing Ideas Power of Aroma

Create an aromatic environment by using vaporizers or oils. Have you ever walked past a restaurant or café and been captured by the rich or appetizing aroma wafting from inside? Studies have shown that customers linger longer in aromatic environments. Our sense of smell is the only sense that isn’t filtered by the brain. (It bypasses the limbic system entirely.) What can you do to appeal to this sense? What scent might coincide with your branding effort?

Better: Coffee and cookies are better than air fresheners. Many people may be allergic (or think they are—same thing) if the wrong scents are used. Some offices ban their use.