Every human physical experience has been elevated through entrepreneurial effort. Everything we eat and drink — from filet mignon to water — has been transformed by intentionally engaging the senses. Our homes have become retreats for rest and rejuvenation. We sleep in more comfortable surroundings than at any time in history. Bathing has become a way to refresh the spirit and cleanse the body. Even the treatments we employ to recuperate from illness have benefited from the addition of appeals to our senses.
If your business creates physical sensations for your customers, novel approaches will differentiate you from your competition. Restaurants have long been forefronts in visual aesthetics, creating interiors that enhance the dining experience. Modern entrepreneurs have taken this trend a further step by taking our sense of smell into account, building olfactory experiences into the meal. Yoga studios have increased the ambient temperature and humidity to enhance the practice; hotels and lounges have created frigid environments as a way to differentiate themselves. Even dental offices — which many regard as dens of expensive torture — have been transformed into something more akin to a spa, where treatments such as massages, pedicures and facials can be performed as part of a more comprehensive beauty experience.
We understand the world through our senses, so it makes sense that entrepreneurs would utilize these approaches to deeply engage customers with the offering and improve the brand. How can your brand encourage a deeper sensory connection?
Creating Sensory Value: Anna’s Atmospheres
Smells are remarkable memory triggers. A particular scent can remind you of childhood or a vacation or someone very dear to you. Anna decided to create a business that helped clients access and respond to these memories.
Using proprietary technology, Anna began testing and collecting data from clients' responses to smells.
Each client completes a process of associating olfactory stimulation to individual memories. Once blindfolded, customers begin free associating as essential oils are presented to the nose. Each client's responses are added to a database, and a complex algorithm produces a set of oil blends that appeals to different contexts.
The process is fairly simple. Let's say a client requests a customized holiday fragrance. She is taken to an analysis studio where she rests comfortably in a large reclining chair. She is then blindfolded and presented with several dozen familiar holiday scents — pine, peppermint, chocolate — and several other less obvious examples. Her feelings are recorded as each scent is presented. Some aromas may recall wonderful memories, while others may hold no association. Some may be unpleasant. Once the process is complete, the computer analyzes the results and recommends an essential oil blend customized for her. A sample is made for her to take home and test. If approved, that blend can be added to a wide array of products — candles, room sprays, potpourri, and hundreds more. The blend is kept on file, and she can order new products at any time from a large online menu of available options.
Customers might begin the process with one session of olfactory analysis, then add another to collect more data and produce more blends. A client might request a perfume blend that makes her feel powerful. Some time later she might create a blend that helps her relieve stress. Any type of emotional response can be analyzed. Each time the process is completed, the data is used to create an original scent that's added to soaps, lotions, massage oils or whatever the client needs.
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