The New Sensorialism (yes, that’s now a word)


By, Mark Potts, Head of Insights, Mindshare North America

One of the big technologies buzzing at CES is Virtual Reality, which finally feels like it’s coming of age. From the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay prototype, to Razer’s OSVR, to Google Cardboard, this year everyone seems to be putting their stake in the VR ground.

Seeing some of the devices in action, the rich sensory bombardment VR affords reminds me of rule #9 in John Medina’s brilliant neuroscience book Brain Rules: The more senses that are stimulated when engaging in content or an experience, the more emotionally and cognitively attached we become – something called ‘Sensory Integration’. In fact, the science has categorically shown that highly multisensory experiences are much more likely to be remembered – from 2 weeks to 20 years after the experience.

This is important for brands. Though it remains to be seen how scaleable VR will be, it strikes me that in this age of consumer distraction and fragmentation, any opportunity to monopolize consumers’ attention and senses with a great experience should be seized. Consumers will be more likely to remember your brand and feel a long-lasting and deeper emotional attachment to it (assuming you do a good job of course).

One of our clients Volvo recently innovated in this space using Google Cardboard for the launch of their new XC90. Consumers downloaded an app, locked their smartphone into the Cardboard headset, and were able to test drive the car in full 3D. Pretty nifty stuff. If you haven’t had a look at this execution you should – it’s an indication of where this space can go.

Ultimately VR may or may not explode into the mainstream. Either way, seeing some of the new devices on display on the showroom floor gives me that fantastic, childlike feeling that I’m living in the future. Whatever you do though, just don’t give any of the new headsets to the lawnmower man.


Posted on January 7, 2015 .