Is sensory synergy really so important?

Did you ever have that situation where your rational brain gave you lots of great arguments about why you should buy a certain item, while something else was holding you back at the same time? It just didn't 'feel' right and you couldn't explain why? 

Was it something you sensed about the smell, the touch, the sound, the packaging, the colours, the name, the quality-feel, the size, etc....? You probably couldn't tell, could you?

It is nothing new to say that -at all times- our sensory perception plays a major role in our purchase decision (i.e. "I love that smell!", "this feels too rough!", "that colour is so beautiful!", etc.).

It's also nothing very new to say that the more senses are activated, the stronger our emotionality. 


increasing the number of sensory stimuli to increase emotionality

does not guarantee a higher purchasing rate.

this is when sensory synergy matters!

A successful sensory synergy plays a major role for your product/brand emotionality and purchasing rate.

Remember when I recalled the fact that 'what fires together, wires together' (see 'home' page)? This is not just true for neurones and neuroplasticity, it is also true for a successful emotional connection.

What do I mean by that?

  • we react to products (and everything else) with our sensory perception (sense of smell, sight, sound, taste, touch)
  • each sense has learned experiences from the past and recalls a specific feeling (stored memories, behaviour response)
    • "this smells like my father's aftershave" [i.e. comfort, happiness, nostalgia]
    • "this is a very unknown, exotic name" [i.e. unique, new, different]
  • if all senses involved recall similar or complimentary feelings, they wire together to a strong multi-sensory experience and emotional connection = sensory synergy
  • if the senses recall different or dissonant feelings, this leads to an overall sense of irritation, disappointment or even overstimulation = sensory dissonance

In my researcher career I've seen so many great products that failed just because of sensory dissonance. Too many dive into the coherence trap (next blog article) leading to a mediocre or low success rate.

About 80% of new product launches are withdrawn from the market within less than a year! My experience is that development efforts, time and money can be reduced by emphasising the sensory synergy right from the start. 


  • increasing the number of sensory stimuli does not necessarily mean increasing the product emotionality and success rate!
  • be aware of the sensory overstimulation if the senses involved recall different emotions/feelings
  • check the sensory feelings communicated by your product/brand at all levels and touch points to guarantee a successful sensory synergy and multi-sensory product experience.

Sensory synergy is not just important,

it is key for a long-term product/brand success!

MULTISENSING+, Agnès Wiegand, Sensory Branding Consultancy | Insights