How sensorial experiences impact brand-consumer bonding

Many cosmetics companies are already utilizing digital solutions. Chat apps, health trackers, lifestyle questionnaires, skin analysis software etc.  all aim to direct consumers to a product which meets their requirements, whilst providing an entertaining brand experience. Do these digital solutions generate truly accurate results, lead to appropriate product purchase and a happy, loyal customer? Are they enough?  

For a long time, marketers have used the funnel metaphor to consider the points at which consumers engage with brands – moments which, when effectively utilized, can influence decision making. This model implies that consumers begin with many potential brands in mind and methodically narrow down their options until they decide which one to buy. Post-purchase, their relationship with the brand does not develop and tends to focus solely on the use of the product itself.

In recent years, a team of researchers has introduced a modified model, which better-represents the purchase process by considering the influence of the digital world. This model, the Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ) illustrates that rather than systematically narrowing down their choices, nowadays, consumers add and subtract brands from the group under consideration – based on interaction with peer influencers and reading online reviews – as their selection criteria shifts. After enjoying the product, they often build a relationship with the brand. Ongoing engagement (e.g. via social media channels, signing up for newsletters, receiving promotions) and positive brand experiences trigger repeat purchases and encourage brand advocacy, forming a valuable bond. 

However, according to the CDJ model, the all-important bond between brand and consumer is not formed until the user has had physical contact with the product and experienced it sensorially.

From marketers perspective, bonding appears to happen at a relatively late stage of the consumer journey, that is the point at which consumers experience the product physicallyIt is the way in which consumers feel a brand that leads them to post-purchase bonding. Once again, the power of the senses is undeniable. 

 

During the consider/evaluate period of the CDJ, consumers are still uncertain and open to new options. By offering a powerful, bond-forming, sensorial experience at this stage, it is possible not only to stimulate consumer purchase intent but also to encourage brand advocacy and brand love. 

Everything a marketer dreams of rolled into one little demo tool! Incorporating both physical and digital solutions into a marketing strategy is a no-brainer. This multichannel approach gives a brand a major advantage over others by triggering bonding at an early stage whilst providing the digital component that today’s consumers look for.

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