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What is sensory branding? (And why should you even care?)

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Coming to my senses

As part of my ongoing commitment to human-centric (high EQ) design, my latest blog puts branding into focus.

Sensory branding is an approach to brand design that considers all the senses and connects them together to create a unique experience with the end user’s needs firmly at the core.

Typically, people think of branding as primarily a visual medium, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Modern brands take a holistic approach to branding. They really consider how their audience becomes engaged – and then they build amazing experiences around their product or service. This is what stays in people’s minds and hearts, and it’s what creates emotional connections and can increase brand loyalty.

At EQ, we split the brand experience into four areas; verbal, visual, sensory and interactive. The sensory part is a key piece in the puzzle, and by linking and joining multiple elements from across this brand spectrum, you can create a multi-dimensional brand that feels real. It can make people feel like your brand notices them, understands them and is an integral part of their world.

Sensory branding diagram


This is where it all begins. Without an idea, message and voice, your brand is destined to be ignored. The best brands have a personality, a set of ideals, and a worldview, and they know how to communicate this.


You’re probably most familiar with the visual side of branding. This is typically your logo, typefaces, colours, and the style you apply to your visuals and imagery.

This is the most common area for brands to excel. A unique visual identity is crucial to lay the foundations, but don’t let this restrict your creativity – there’s so much more to explore.


Put those senses to work, and consider touch, taste, smell and sound. Some brands have a distinct advantage in this area. If you’re a guitar teacher, you can use sound, and a perfume shop or food outlet can use smell. There’s almost always an opportunity to extend your brand past the visual.

If your product has physical packaging, think of how this can be utilised beyond functionality. Can you be creative with messaging on here? Could it have a secondary use beyond protecting the product? Can you use textures to stimulate touch?

Audio-branding is becoming a big thing. Intel’s jingle is so iconic and you can instantly recognize it without seeing the logo. There’s more than one way to capture somebody’s attention.


A truly emotional brand covers every interaction your customer has with your brand, whether that be face-to-face or online.

For this example, we’ve focussed on digital applications. Your customers are busy and impatient these days, so if you don’t get this right, you’ll leave them frustrated and looking elsewhere.


Remember, no brand is an island and nothing ever sits in isolation.

Everything is connected, and over time,  the ‘whole’ experience is what your audience will come to think of as your brand.

To talk to us about your brand or to book a brand audit 👉 click here 

We connect emotion with design, discover what counts and focus on what matters.
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