Sensation Transferences Are Fascinating
Marketers of consumer packaged goods know that there is an entire field of research devoted to studying how people perceive the very minute differences between forms of products - the different types of crispy crunch among potato chips or the various ktsch-h-h-h-h-h from aerosol underarm sprays.
They learn how we feel when hearing the fizzy fracture of a can of soda. They ask questions like “will a yellower color for 7UP lead consumers to detect a more lemony taste?" An article from The New Yorker, Accounting for Taste, dishes details about this extremely scientific venture about, as marketers call them, “sensation transferences.”
The aim in all this is to aid manufacturers as they design and market the multi-sensory perception of products. Everything matters, from the color, the form of the packaging, the sounds they make, and the feelings they give us. Everything can be designed to elicit an attractive impression of the brand.
The article is full of terrific findings, however, the most persuasive is how products are all completely indistinguishable within sensory perception studies, participants in one such a study at Oxford University listened to themselves eating almost two hundred Pringles. The sound of the chip was manipulated by fostering or muffling specific frequencies or volumes. In the end, the changing sounds could pinpoint whether individuals judged the chips as fresh or stale.
So what is it all mean? It means packaging, and not simply superficial appearance, can mean a great deal in regards to how customers experience merchandise. A blue can will make soup taste saltier. The sound of a deodorant sprays can communicate masculinity for a male target audience.
And things can go wrong if you do not choose wisely. Cadbury involuntarily made a faux pas when it dubbed its allegedly sweet milk chocolate truffles, Koko. The K, sound inappropriately conveys bitterness to consumers. This is what linguists call sound symbolism and it crosses language boundaries.
The trick is comprehending the messages you're sending and making certain you're sending the right ones. The ultimate lesson is that companies and brands need to do thorough research to fully understand what is going to work to convey the right multi-sensory perceptions.