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3 min read

Come to Your Senses: The Impact of Sight, Sound, and Scent on Your Branch

Come to Your Senses: The Impact of Sight, Sound, and Scent on Your Branch

Creating a multi-sensory experience in your bank or credit union builds emotional connections with your clients and promotes higher branch traffic.

With digital banking on the rise, it’s more important now than ever for financial institutions to create in-person branch environments that are friendly, personable, and attractive. After all, a few of the main reasons clients visit brick-and-mortar branches today is to get advice and consult with experts. They’re looking for experiences, not just products or transactional service–and this leads to several pertinent questions about your operations: 

  1. What is your financial institution doing as far as attracting customers to in-branch services?
  2. What memorable and impressive branch experiences are you creating for your clients?

If your answer to either or both of these is “nothing,” then your financial institution is at risk for losing clients to competitors. Even if you’ve made some branch updates recently, you can benefit from learning more about how sensory marketing works and how DBSI helps create these experiences for financial institutions. From architectural design and digital signage to core integrated technology and staffing model upgrades, DBSI specializes in branch transformation and in helping financial institutions convert underutilized spaces into meaningful service areas.


What is Sensory Marketing?

In short, sensory marketing is an activity that engages a person’s senses in order to attract them at an emotional level and create a deeper brand experience. And of course, what we mean by “senses” is sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.

Traditional marketing relies on written and verbal communication to inform and educate about a brand’s product or service. It’s mostly visual. While useful, it’s not the only thing that influences a person’s perception; the combination of multiple senses plays an even bigger role. In marketing a brand, the more senses you can activate, the more you can change a person’s perception and build brand loyalty.


How Does Sensory Marketing Work in Banking?

Historically, banks and credit unions have earned poor reputations for their cold, uninviting atmospheres–whether due to outdated branch architecture, poorly functioning staff models, or both. Sensory marketing reverses this stigma by utilizing a combination of appealing physical design, sounds, touch, scents, and even taste to engage a financial institution’s clientele and realign its brand across the branch network.

Let’s consider the most common senses used in sensory marketing for banking:

Sight: The foundation of your branding efforts begins with sight. It’s the primary way people orient themselves to their environments and it’sIMG-0779 also the root of traditional marketing. Aligning your banking brand visually means giving clients the same experience wherever they see you, whether it’s inside a branch, on your mobile app, or at a public event where you’ve rented a vendor booth. Your look is consistent, from logo colors and branch design to the fonts of your written communications and the manner in which your employees dress.

Sound: It’s impossible to think of some brands and not have their advertising jingles pop into your head. Beginning with radio ads over a century ago, sound is a classic marketing method that’s expanded to mediums like TV, mobile devices, and digital signage. Who can forget McDonald’s’ little ditty “I’m Lovin’ It” or State Farm’s “Like a Good Neighbor” clip? But sound advertising isn’t just about jingles: it’s also the demeanor your employees use when they speak with clients, the background music playing inside your branches, the sound bites rolling on the drive-up video screen, and more.IMG-0757

Scent: What’s interesting about scent is that it’s processed by the limbic system, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotion. Our sense of smell is more closely linked to memory and emotion than any other sense, especially when combined with visual and audio elements. It’s also our oldest and most evolved sense.

So how can a bank or credit union branch capitalize on scent? Diffuse a signature aroma into the air–one that’s calming, pleasant and peaceful. Another way to go about it is by offering coffee in your branches; the scent is known to evoke feelings of positivity, alertness, and pleasure.


Research commissioned by author and brand consultant Martin Lindstrom found that brand impact increased by 30% when more than one sense was activated and 70% when three senses were activated.


Boosting Your Sensory Marketing with DBSI

If you’re ready to elevate the senses in your branch locations, DBSI can work with you to develop the perfect combination of visual elements, sounds, and scents to attract clients and keep them returning to your financial institution for service. With over 25 years of design-build expertise, we know how to incorporate your unique brand across your financial institution’s branch locations, and our designers will combine the right furniture, colors, accents, and millwork to help your branches stand out from the competition.

DBSI’s digital signage offerings are also a way to help you showcase your brand by delivering audio-visual communications that entertain, share your mission, and educate your clients on financial matters. There’s no limit to screen types either; you can add dynamic screens, video walls, tablets, interactive kiosks, and more to your digital signage lineup. And since you’ll use a cloud-based content management system to post content, you’ll be able to manage every screen from a single platform. 

Reading about our sensory marketing capabilities is one way to gain an understanding of what we do at DBSI, but paying a visit to our Ideation Center will invigorate your senses with an interactive experience you won’t forget. Schedule your complimentary tour today!