A Smashing Process: How to Use All 5 Senses When It Comes to Branding Your Experience

Brand expert and consumer consultant Martin Lindstrom poses an interesting question: Eliminate a logo, and what’s left of your brand?

In his book Brand Sense, Lindstrom develops this question into a full-blown treatise on the importance of utilizing all five senses when it comes to branding. He calls it Smash the Brand. The Smash the Brand philosophy considers every possible way a consumer interacts with a product with a view to building or maintaining the image of the brand. The images, the sounds, the tactile feelings, even the text on the product all need to become fully integrated components of the brand itself.

This is not just for businesses – leaders in ChurchWorld need to understand the importance of branding. Lindstrom developed 12 different ways to Smash the Brand into many different pieces. Each piece should work independently of the others, although each is still essential in the process of establishing and maintaining a truly smashable brand.

Read the highlights below; it will change the way you think about your church’s “brand”.

  • Smash Your Picture: Picture this – a face with a white mustache. What do you have? Only the instantly recognizable “Got Milk” campaign, where everyone who’s anyone has contributed their face to the healthy practice of drinking milk – which, coincidently, increases the profits of the milk industry.
  • Smash Your Color: color is essential to brands as it’s the most visible and obvious first point of communication. Colors create clear associations in our minds, and these same associations can’t help but benefit brands.
  • Smash Your Shape: Shape is one of the most overlooked branding components, even though certain shapes clearly announce the brand in question. The contours of the Coke bottle, the graceful lines of Apple products, the Golden Arches of McDonald’s – each element that creates these products is fully integrated into their overall design, making the shape distinctly their own.
  • Smash Your Name: Integrated naming strategies reinforce the awareness of the brand’s profile. The Mac-ization of the language was formally recognized when Merriam-Webster added “McJob” to their collegiate dictionary. Apple practically owns the letter “i” – iPod, iPhone, iPad.
  • Smash Your Language: Effective messages begin their life at the same time the product or brand itself is born. As they are embraced and passed on from one generation to the next, the result is almost universal recognition. Case in point? The word magic is “owned” by Disney – which comes as no surprise to someone encountering a Disney cast member encouraging guests to “Have a magical day!” The key to forming a smashable language is to integrate it into every single piece of communication that your organization is responsible for, including all internal communications.
  • Smash Your Icon: Icons or symbols are likely to become one of the most important components in rebuilding your smashed brand. Truly successful icons are also eminently smashable.
  • Smash Your Sound: Brands the world over underestimate the value of sound – not the sound that we take for granted on radio or television commercials, but more like the background music that plays on websites, in stores, on hold buttons, or even as ringtones.
  • Smash Your Navigation: Navigation – the way you find your way around a website, a department store, a supermarket, or any other familiar retail environment – is entirely smashable. There needs to be a series of consistent links between your website, social media campaigns, your physical layout, your print materials, and your automated phone system because they all link together.
  • Smash Your Behavior:  Behaviors throughout your organization should be integrated to match the brand. Again to Disney: Cast members from the region being represented, design and decoration of the space, and total service integration are hallmarks of how Disney delivers an experience that transports you to another place and time.
  • Smash Your Service: Smashing your service is as feasible as smashing all the other more tangible components shaping your brand. Ritz Carlton’s front line empowerment authorizing staff great leeway in accommodating – no, exceeding, guest expectations comes to mind. Then there’s Nordstrom’s Employee Handbook, consisting of one rule: Use good judgment in all situations.
  • Smash Your Tradition: We’ve just left behind the Christmas season – one of the most tradition-linked times of the year. Along with these traditions come a swath of memories, and brands are often linked to the memories of traditional moments. The stronger the tradition, the more smashable it becomes.
  • Smash Your Rituals: Most rituals are generated by consumers. To date, few brands have seen the value in supporting consumer-generated rituals despite the enormous bonding that they can give rise to. This is beginning to change, though, with the increasing rise of social media usage by consumers and the eventual adoption by organizations.

There you have it – a dozen Smash Your Brand philosophy statements.

The question is, What are you going to do about it?

Branding is a critically important part of ChurchWorld.  The Smash Your Brand philosophy considers every possible consumer touch point with a view to creating or maintaining the image of the brand. The images, the sounds, the touch, the text – they all need to become fully integrated components of the product itself.

What’s Ahead: a 4-part look at the “Smash Your Brand” philosophies as applied in my church, Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. Please note that these are my observations only, not a part of Elevation’s brand strategy.

Next: Smashing Your Brand – Picture, Shape, and Color

inspired by and adapted from Brand Sense by Martin Lindstrom


2 thoughts on “A Smashing Process: How to Use All 5 Senses When It Comes to Branding Your Experience

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *