Studies have proven something that bakers and chocolate-makers have always known: a strong, pleasant scent attracts people and encourages them to buy. The same is true of music, which is why shopping centers usually have some playing in the background. Music and sound can be integrated into brand experiences through arenas other than retail environments. Websites, radio, and TV advertising, even the noises emitted by a product itself, all can and should be designed to highlight a brand aurally. For example, T-Mobile has a five-note “sonic logo” that is used as a sign-off in commercials and as a default ringtone on the network’s cell phones.

Good brands consider the oral as well as the aural. Some shops provide generic candy for customers, placing a bowl of it on their counter. Clever brand managers choose candy that matches the colors of the brand, in a custom wrapper with a logo. Really clever brand managers will make sure the flavor evokes the right associations as well: not too sweet, too tart, or too fruity; the right amount of playfulness or seriousness; the right degree of femininity or masculinity. Just thinking about what flavor best matches the brand personality can be a useful exercise for brand managers.

For food and drink products the flavor is all-important. But in addition to simply tasting good, the particular tastes of a given market can affect how a product is formulated to heighten the brand image.

International Flavor and Fragrance, established in the 1830s as a merchant in herbs, spices, and essential oils, now specializes in developing scents and taste experiences. In 2006 they created a “brandscent” for Samsung Experience Stores around the world (in partnership with branding agency Lippincott Mercer). The smell of the store is carefully crafted to match the brand identity, often without the customer being aware of it.

Touch is important too. In product design, the choice of plastics and other materials used in sporting goods, electronic devices, packaging, and a myriad other elements takes into account the feel of the material as well as the look, since both are integral to the brand image. Is it rugged? Gentle? Sleek? Flimsy? Is it something to be used quickly and put down, or lovingly held and enjoyed? Again, thinking about these issues can be helpful in identifying the essence of a brand.

All of our senses contribute to the impressions we form of the world around us. Branding professionals should take advantage of this and consider the other senses in designing every aspect of the brand experience: product, packaging, advertising, and retail environments. Customers certainly will, and their actions will be based on their sensory impressions.