Growing Your Brand

When you think about a brand that elicits a powerful response, are all your senses heightened? Brand Sense: How to Build Powerful Brands Through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight & Sound (Free Press, 2005), by Martin Lindstrom, discusses how some of the most powerful brands today are built through a process called sensory branding. This practice heightens the brand impact of a company's product or service by fully utilizing all of potential clients' senses. If you want to bring this kind of powerful branding to your spa, look no further than your local florist and consider the powerful, multi-sensory appeal of plants.

Interior plants resonate with four of the five senses—touch, smell, sight, and even sound (think of leaves rustling with the gust of an interior fan). Plants, themselves, are powerful brand builders. A vibrant display of interior plants artfully displayed in your spa conjures up commanding emotional signals. Your clients' views of your spa are influenced by the types of plants showcased, how healthy (or unhealthy) those plants look, and even the types of containers that are chosen. Interior landscaping is becoming a fashion-driven business, where as much effort is now put into the design of the containers, accessories, and the overall look as into plant selection.

Plants also act as status symbols in the corporate world and beyond. Some executives measure their merit by the size and grandeur of their interior plants. Partners at major law firms often require a large tree in their office, which connotes prestige. Associates are often treated to a smaller plant with the size and caliber of the individual plants synonymous with the level of the position. What do the plants in your spa say about you? Have you selected serene, calming blooms, or do you tend to favor exciting, brilliantly colored flowers? Think about how you are trying to brand your spa, and choose your plants accordingly.

Additionally, some believe that plants in the workplace boost morale, reduce absenteeism, and enhance a company's brand image. The natural scent and look of plants also contribute to a general feeling of well-being. Many ambient scents subtly showcase pleasant aromas found in nature. Scents have been casting their spells on humans for thousands of years. Our olfactory sense is widely considered to be the most receptive of the five senses. Smells summon memories and appeal directly to feelings without first being filtered and analyzed by the brain, which is how the remaining four senses are processed.

Like memories hidden in the recesses of our brains, sensory perceptions are unique to each of us and trigger powerful stimulations. The vast majority of marketers fail to recognize full sensory marketing and the ability of plants to contribute to that cause. The opportunity to build your brand by leveraging the five senses is wide open. Think about the relaxing and welcoming feeling you have when you enter a retail store, office, or even a medical facility that has a pleasant aroma coupled with the addition of live lush plants. Today's cutting-edge brands are evolving into 360-degree experiences that satisfy, refresh, and invigorate all of our primary senses. How many of the five senses does your spa incorporate as part of your brand? Consider adding plants to the mix, and watch your spa brand bloom. —Michelle Rodwell

Michelle Rodwell is the international branding and marketing director at Ambius (Buffalo Grove, IL), the largest provider of interior landscaping, design installation, and maintenance services to businesses in North America. She can be reached at [email protected].