Brand Sense- marketing cleaning services through the five senses

brand-senseIn 1915 the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, IN was given a project to design and manufacture a product that was so unique that a person could identify it in pitch-black darkness by touch. That product was the Coca-Cola bottle.

You baby boomers can immediately visualize the sensuous curves of the greenish looking glass. Remember the hiss of the bottle as you opened it and the cold refreshment as the caramel colored nectar rushed down your throat and tingled all the way to your stomach. As a kid that was usually followed by a satisfying “ahhhh” and a quick wipe of your mouth with your sleeve.

Wow! I’m getting thirsty just thinking about it! Can you see how years ago Coca-Cola involved touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste in every product? This is what Martin Lindstrom explains in Brand Sense. But do you think children today will look back on their youth and remember the feel of an aluminum Coke can? Close your eyes and there is no way you can feel the difference between a can of Coke or Budweiser. (Taste obviously is another matter!)

Starbucks has bought into the sensory benefits. Walk into a Starbucks and the smell of coffee surrounds and permeates you. Even people who don’t drink coffee like the smell. Starbucks goes to great lengths to choose the right type of music and then sell you the CD. The warmth of the cup in your hand and the taste of the coffee gives new meaning to comfort foods. Comfortable chairs, fireplaces and wireless computer service make it a “home away from home”, just as Starbucks imagined it.

You are probably thinking that it is easy to involve a variety of senses in drinks like Cokes and coffee. But how can you bring the client’s senses into play in carpet cleaning and restoration?


Sight is the most seductive (and most important) sense of all. A test was done with flavored soft drinks. Everyone performed well when the grape drink was purple and the orange drink was orange, but when the cherry drink was switched to yellow, 40% tasted it and thought it was a lemon lime drink. This means that if you pull up in a Bozo Clean truck and a sloppy technician saunters up to the door, the most beautiful, fresh smelling carpet will still not satisfy the customer. A beautifully groomed carpet should look better than the day it was installed. A restorer needs to make sure those dehumidifiers and fans look clean. (One Jon-Don client meticulously cleans every dryer and covers them with new plastic bags for each job.)


The sense of smell is an easy one for carpet cleaning. Smell can alter our mood. Tests show a 40% improvement in our mood when exposed to a pleasant fragrance, particularly if the fragrance taps into a happy memory. You can introduce a pleasant scent very easily using one of the 9 scents from Jon-Don’s Matrix Fresh Family of deodorizers. Find one that your customer likes and add a drop to any future mailing to that customer. Restorers know that the second day of a drying job is when the customer starts complaining about the musty smell and worrying that mold is taking over her house. A smart restoration company will set up an air scrubber on Day One that will eliminate those moldy smells. Create immediate positive Moments of Truth after a fire loss by using a suppression spray to knock down the smoke odor. This helps to convince the customer that there is hope that their home can be restored.


When a customer chooses carpet, the second most important item after color is the touch or the feel of the carpet. The same is true after the carpet is cleaned. They comment on how soft the carpet feels under their bare feet or how the kids now like to lie on the carpet. When cleaning velvet fabrics, the feel is even more important. For carpet and fabric, a good acid rinse such as Matrix All Fiber Rinse will do the job.


With this sense the less the better. Unless you are a serious truck mount fanatic, a loud truck mount is annoying. On the other hand, the rhythmic sound of a wand actually can be soothing. (If you haven’t been to Strategies recently and heard Chuck Violand’s new imitation of a scrub wand you haven’t lived!) Listen to your vacuum and check to see how noisy it is. Remember women have a much greater sensitivity to noise.


This is a tough one to include for the customer! Of course giving dog biscuits to the family dog is a positive MOT for both the dog and the homeowner. On the negative side, be careful using solvents as they can literally leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouth.

For almost a half-century marketers have focused on the Unique Selling Proposition or USP. Today that is changing to an HSP or Holistic Selling Proposition.

The HSP plays perfectly with the idea of marketing to all the senses. Over 90% of our decisions come from our unconscious mind. In other words the senses detect, the brain selects and the conscious mind elects.

So look at your company from a consumer’s viewpoint. Think about how you can incorporate more sensory impressions into not only the actual service but also into your entire marketing program. While you may not have the benefit of an icon like the Coke bottle, your copy can paint visual pictures that can make people “experience your service” before it happens. Thus you can make carpet cleaning something they look forward to instead of something they dread.

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