dualThe use of video in email marketing is from a technical point of view controversial, since implementation is limited, as we have already highlighted in former articles several times.

Today, however, I would like to examine the influence of visual and auditory stimuli on brand perception, because most marketers are usually using four of the five senses for their brand communication. Yet, brand messages are often only communicated mono- or duo-sensual, mostly visual and acoustical.

This is not surprising, considering the values according to which 83% of stimuli are perceived visually, 11% acoustically, and only a very small part by smell, taste and touch.

Multi-sensual brand management

Email marketing, usually features the mono-sensual communication. This is comprehensible, since gustatory, haptic, and olfactory sensations can’t be digitally conveyed, but what about the acoustics?

Studies confirm that visual stimuli may support or even intensify sounds, for example, red-colored trains and machines are perceived as louder than those in other colors, despite the same decibel values. Incidentally, there is the same intensification effect with acoustic background of visual stimuli. Fact is that visual impressions are much more effective and easier to remember when connected to another sensation, for example, with a sound or a melody.

For some companies, sounds can even become much more effective than the visual impression, as seen with the short tune related to the Intel logo, or the hooting of Yahoo! to recall a specific brand image. In short, the combination of sensations can underpin the message and the more sensory touch points there are for the recipient, the more efficient and effective is usually the brand communication.

Note, however, that multi-sensual stimuli should be coordinated. On one hand, this facilitates the processing and recording of the information and on the other hand, it minimizes the risk for misinterpretation of communicated messages/values.

If stimuli aren’t matched properly, it can happen that sensory channels are competing with each other, or result in a negative perception of brand experiences. Actually, incongruent stimuli wrestle for attention during the processing, resulting in a mutual weakening outcome.

The impact of the optics on brand perception

From the perspective of cognitive psychology, optics dominate the world of sensations. Not surprisingly is, therefore, that this takes an enormous significance in the textbooks. However, the dominance of the optic nerve is put into perspective when making purchase decisions, as the visual information still remains the most relevant stimulus in communication. The reason for this is the fact that image information, in contrast to the verbal information brokering, are in general quickly absorbed, processed and stored. 

The influence of acoustics on brand perception

In addition to visual impressions, acoustic stimuli become more important. This includes sounds, such as the roaring lion of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, as well as songs and melodies.

How important acoustics can be, for example, shows the car manufacturer Porsche. The company invests around five percent of the development costs for new models into sound engineering to create euphonic acoustics that support the sportiness and dynamism of the car. Essentially, all brands can be invigorated by an auditory design.

As the advantage and added value of sound branding is obvious, appropriate channels for the brand should be analyzed and determined, with the goal of creating a consistent and comprehensive acoustic brand image. Of course, the brand sound can be used across all types of media and strengthen that way the brand image as well as promote brand recognition.

That such a “trademark” tone should not only sound good, but typify profound conceptual considerations as well, shows the example of the well-known acoustic signature of the ‘Deutsche Telekom’ in Germany. The sound logo, with its main frequency of 670-3500 Hz, is optimized both for the human ear as well as the technical feature of the phone. In the sound logo of the ‘Deutsche Telekom’ there are in addition just two different tones that are all in all played five times. In doing so, the five tones correspond to the four optical gray dots and the "T" of the visual logo. Moreover, the name ‘Deutsche Telekom’ has the same number of syllables. The four gray dots are all supported acoustically with the same tone, while the "T", used as a visual identification, is accompanied with a third higher.

Therefore, in order to be able to strengthen your brand or present products effectively, it makes sense to use all sensory stimuli available. Hence, although not always easy to implement from the technical point of view, including videos in email marketing is definitely always worth a try.

By Daniela La Marca