How to connect and manage the sensory and emotional experiences of your brand.


Imagine if you had a map connecting your consumers sensorial experience of your brand with their emotional journey. Now imagine you also had the same map for your competitors and finally you had a map of the “ideal” emotional journey.

Your competitors are still using the same old techniques to understand consumer preference, the way they always have, whereas, you would have the perfect guide showing you exactly the areas you need to improve in your consumers’ brand experience in order to meet the ideal. Sounds exciting right?

Here at The Marketing Clinic we often use Alfred Hitchcock to help explain this idea.

Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock wrote two scripts for “The Birds”. The “blue script” detailed the shots the lighting, sound and everything he wanted the audience to see, whereas his “green script” detailed precisely how he wanted the audience to feel.

He used this green script to identify the emotions he wanted his audience to feel at every point throughout the movie. He knew when they would feel suspense, surprise. When they needed to feel empathy for the characters and when he wanted them to be shocked or scared.

In doing this he was able to manage the entire emotional journey of his audience and with great effect.

Think back to a favourite film. Maybe it’s an old family favourite, or something you grew up with. You certainly know the plot the characters and the ending and yet you keep going back to this favourite movie time and time again

The Reason… Is because you know the journey that it will take you on and the way it will make you feel.

It’s the same with a piece of music. What’s your favourite? What does it evoke in you? Is it sad, or happy and uplifting? Some tracks will pick you up, elevate your mood and make you feel as if you can conquer anything! Others leave you feeling sad, reflective and bring back a heightened emotional memory.

We choose to listen to certain music tracks precisely because of the way they will make us feel

But moods are not that easily changed. There is not some simple switch that can be flipped to take us from stressed to relaxed and from sad to happy.

The film or music works because it takes us on a journey. There will be some critical points in this journey, twists in the narrative, changes in tempo or key which take your attention away from where you were previously.

It transports you on an emotional journey and finally leaves you exactly where you knew it would. And that is the reason why its your favourite, because you know you can rely upon it to take you where you need to get to

So how can we adapt this principle to create, build and manage successful brands?

Most consumer goods marketers and manufacturers have the blue script. They know all the stage directions the lines what must be done and how to do it. On the other hand very few have a comprehensive green script showing them the optimal emotional journey that they should be orchestrating for their consumers. How they can execute skilful twists and turns in that journey to create the ideal, memorable, evocative and satisfying journey that consumers enjoy and are keen to repeat again and again

Hitchcock started with the emotional journey that he wanted his audience to experience and then he made his film to deliver that emotional experience his green script was his map, the blue script simply the way he could deliver it

Let’s apply this principle to food brands.

Each aspect of the consumers’ experience of a product, from the packaging, aroma, taste, texture and aftertaste prompts an emotional response. Together these emotional responses create an emotional journey which consumers will either love. hate or perhaps worst still be unmoved by.

Many product developers and marketers work with the blue script. They know how to change the product and communications and may even know which emotions they are trying to elicit from the consumer.

However what they lack is the green script. The “green script” is a detailed map which explains “how to” create a complete emotional journey for your consumer and how to connect the sensory and emotional experiences at every stage of that journey.


Chris Lukehurst is a Consumer Psychologist and a Director at The Marketing Clinic:

Understanding the connections between the consumer experience and emotional responses.