How’s Your Sensory Appeal?

Sensory appeal is another functional element of value.  It applies to both products and services.

What is It?

Traditionally there are five senses, although there are occasional claims there are others.  Sensory appeal is using one or more of the senses to make the product or service more attractive.

We are talking about sensory appeal incidental to the product or service.  For example, good taste is integral to food.  We expect food to taste good, especially in a restaurant.  Certainly, a restaurant’s reputation for great tasting food helps but we arrive at any restaurant expecting the food to taste good.

Sensory appeal maybe a garnish that makes a dish visually attractive or the decor of the restaurant.  It is something that appeals to one or more senses, over and above the customer’s expectations.

Value to the Customer

This depends on the customer’s sensitivity and appreciation.  Some people don’t know what to expect and may not appreciate the deal is special.  Others may not be in the mood: those comfort eating following a relationship breakdown or a bereavement may be unmoved.  Others may be highly sensitive and appreciative through favourable circumstance.

Where service is personal, discerning the mood and desires of the customer is important.  Simply asking what they like may be all you need.

How to Get There

Review your offer.  It matters little whether you offer a product or service.  There is little scope with a boxed product that is shipped straight away.  It may be possible to slip a little extra in or if you sell from a shop, you can enhance the sales environment.

Where the customer consumes the product on the premises, there are more opportunities.  Coffee shops that sell food with a salad garnish are rare.  These days you’re lucky to get a napkin or a knife.   Some services are easier, massage or hairdressing includes opportunities for small extras such as refreshments or magazines.

What about coaching?  Consider the environment in which your coaching takes place.  You can choose a public place.  Is it quiet and pleasant, with good coffee?  Who pays?  Might an occasional change of venue help?  Maybe a walk in a park or countryside?

Another thing to consider is bonuses.  A small gift to say thank you to the customer may be appreciated.  Paying for coffee or meals is possible, especially for high-end offers.

Your Offer

If you have a sense of style, offer a service with a unifying sensual theme.  This could start with publicity materials, the story you tell and your approach to sales.

Continue in your working environment and in the bonuses you offer your clients.  These may be simple things like tea and biscuits.

Take care to manage expectations.  Don’t raise them and then disappoint.  Surprise bonuses mean you exceed expectations, without making promises you later find you cannot keep.

This is the thirtieth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

Next: Informs

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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