Sensory Design-Do Not Try This At Home
I had an interesting moment recently. While discussing restaurants with a chain owner, I said ‘let’s discuss Sensory Design of your outlets’.
In return, I was met with a look which said, “ok, smart alec, what in the hell is that, I already have an interior designer who is doing the design, so why discuss this now?’
A common mistake for many entrepreneurs, especially in the hospitality industry. To confuse interior design with sensory design.
Is it any wonder that most outlets have the same rehashed look and experience about them?
Interior design is the ‘look-feel’, the aesthetics of your outlet.
Interior design is guided by many factors, your location, building and zoning regulations theme, availability of raw material, resources and time.
Sensory Design goes beyond the aesthetics and the ‘look and feel’. It seeks to cover all the five major sensory inputs ( taste, touch, smell, sight, hear ) that a consumer will deploy whilst interacting with your outlet.
The good sensory design has only the intended customer in mind and asks a few important questions:
- What is the sensory experience that my intended consumer finds most attractive
- Which sensory elements should I emphasize and make distinct for my outlets ( e.g. smell – freshly baked bread, freshly roasted coffee, touch-silk/satin)
- What is the sensory residual thought and feeling that I want my consumers to leave my outlet with?
- How consistently do I employ sensory themes ( see Singapore Airlines example below)
- What do I need to do, to ensure that my Sensory experience is an ongoing endeavor in my enterprise
Organizations go to extraordinary lengths to ensure great sensory design. Singapore Airlines comes to mind as a prime example of great Sensory Branding and differentiated Sensory experience.
As an oft-quoted example of one of the many things they do The airline incorporates the same consistent scent, ‘Stefan Floridian Waters’, in the perfume worn across all points of usage; by flight attendants, in their hot towels, and other elements of their service.
Whilst good Interior designing is absolutely necessary, you cannot differentiate yourself based on just that and that extra something that you do need is not something you try ad-hoc!