“We know that consumer purchase decisions are often made quickly and subconsciously, but there are opportunities where it’s possible to influence a consumer’s perception of a brand. People often make buying decisions by using all five of their senses and once product designers discover what each of these sensory influencers are, they can develop packaging that strategically speaks to consumers at each stage of the decision-making process. It’s ultimately about designing a complete experience—one that supports the brand every step of the way.”
Stuart Leslie, President and Founder of 4Sight Inc., identifies six stages to consider when designing a consumer experience:
THE FIRST GLANCE
This is the first impression at a distance, seeing the product in someone else’s hand, on the shelf, or across the room. It’s the first visual promise of what a product will do for your senses. For example, Pom 100% Pomegranate Juice, the distinctive profile of the bottle featuring those fully rounded spheres, allows the distinct dark red color of the juice to catch the attention of a shopper. It promises a bold, robust taste. A new entry into the tequila segment, SX Tequila chose a distinctive, curvaceous bottle with smooth lines and frosted texture to communicate the sense of a smooth-tasting, chilled beverage.
Here, consumers take a closer look and this is where details begin to hint at tactile sensations. Flowing details etched into the structure of the Aquafina water bottle strongly suggest the refreshment that the product provides. Orangina, meanwhile, promises its fresh orange flavor through a dimpled finish on the bottle that suggests you are consuming straight from an actual orange.
THE PHYSICAL INTERACTION
Next, consumers make that first physical contact and combine the visual with the tactile experience. When grasped, the gentle curvature of the Febreze bottle and the angled spray head convey the soft and pleasant aroma that will fill the air. The smooth, diagonal neck on the new Miller Lite Bottle promises a refreshing flow of beer while the bold taper from the neck to the body provides a strong and confident grip for the hand. Adding the texture of the hops etched in the glass provides further engagement.
When the consumer makes a physical step towards consumption or use of the product, there’s another opportunity to solidify your brand’s perception. When the foil cover is peeled off of a can of San Pellegrino, it offers the sensation of actually peeling fruit. It also incorporates a crinkling sound, which adds to the sensory experience at opening.
CONSUMPTION OR USAGE
Usage is the point at which the product is consumed or used and here, all five senses can be at play. A smooth metal tip on Clinique’s Even Better Eyes product provides a refreshing and reviving cold sensation on the skin. For Gerber Good Start, the designated scoop holder on the side of the container provides for a clean usage experience and preserves the product for future consumption, as fingers do not contaminate the powder.
There’s another opportunity to create a pleasant user experience when the product is disposed of or put away for later use. Wrigley 5 Gum incorporates a lock feature and embossed details to convey a secure and clean re-sealable pack. The Oreo cookie package also utilizes the sense of sight with a re-sealable film to promise lasting freshness. Once the film is replaced after each usage, it recreates the look of a fresh, unopened package.
In The Sensory Lab, the design team gleaned significant insight into how the five senses influence consumer decision-making at six pivotal points. Incorporating a similar approach in your design process will help insure your experience design effectively communicates key brand attributes at each and every point of influence.