Nintendo and the Sensory Experience
Posted by Becky Carroll on March 30, 2007
I have blogged before about engaging your customer’s senses when I posted on Westin Hotels and their White Tea scent. Westin Hotels uses this signature scent to evoke certain emotions when customers visit their chain. Our senses are closely connected to our emotions. They are also closely connected to how we learn. People are typically visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners– those who learn best by moving their bodies. (I am a visual learner, which is why I like blogs so much! To find out what kind of learner you are, try this free online assessment from researchers at North Carolina State University.)
Nintendo has taken this to new heights. Of course, the Wii gets everyone moving! Today, I am talking about the Nintendo DS. Recently, I watched my son play Super Mario Bros. on my Nintendo DS. The DS naturally lends itself to a more kinesthetic experience than its predecessor Gameboy, as the DS has a touch-screen and stylus. (Note to you closet gamers: because of the way the DS opens up, it looks like a PDA, so bringing one to a meeting might not be noticed — unless your boss has one!)
The stylus enables the player to move things around on the screen more easily than using buttons to control play. It also allows very cool applications. For example, one mini-game in Mario had my son pulling back a sling-shot (with the stylus) to lob water balloons at little guys dropping from the sky. I recently bought EA’s Pogo Jungle game, and I was able to use the stylus to manipulate cannons to shoot down balls in Phlinx (a very fun puzzle game).
Even more interesting to me is the microphone on the DS. It is used for spoken commands in some games, but what really intrigued me was how it is used in Mario. My son had to blow into the microphone in order to blow up a balloon. In other words, this gaming experience uses three of his five senses; the only senses not used are scent and taste (but that could be coming in a future version?!).
How can we appeal to our customers’ senses with our marketing? Much of marketing appeals only to visual and auditory learners. How can you reach out to those who need to experience something in order to learn about it? I attended a great panel discussion yesterday on ambient marketing through the San Diego chapter of the AMA. Although I will post more on this event later, the best examples shared were those where customers and prospects could interact with the marketing.
As you work to understand your customers better, try a learning style communication for existing customers. Get to know the preferred style of your best customers, then deliver in that style (ex: blog vs podcast vs direct mail). If you don’t know, ask them what type of information speaks clearly to them. Depending on your business, you might also involve the other two senses to round out the experience!