We found that store evaluations and behaviour changed substantially only when the scent reached the high-intensity level. Evidently, the scent needs to be relatively strong to reach a large number of shoppers. The fact that we conducted the experiment in a supermarket may also have affected the scent intensity needed to produce the effects desired by retailers, as our melon scent had to contend with a cornucopia of smells.
Scent can be a powerful tool for retailers, but it is still imperfectly understood. Our study, however, suggests that the right scent at the right level of intensity represents a rare opportunity for brick and mortar stores to create a unique form of emotional market differentiation.
See profile. Home Discovery: Research impact Articles. Scent intensity But no one had worked out much on the impact of scent intensity on consumer behaviour. Improved moods The only sub-group that did have a stronger response than average was shoppers in a hurry. Share this article:. About the researchers. Related articles. Murat Tarakci.
Organisation, Strategy. Wim Hulsink. Steffen Giessner. Finance and Accounting. Frank Hartmann.
Stay Informed. Chanel No. Although promoting a classic scent, the Chanel campaigns try to stay completely modern. During the early 's, Catherine Deneuve was the spokeswoman for the scent in advertisements shot in part by Richard Avedon. Then, in an ad from , a beautiful woman lounged by a pool and a well-built suitor emerged from the water. The tag line: ''Share the fantasy. Later came a television commercial with the actress Carole Bouquet. First, she was placed in a Houston office building with skyscrapers as a backdrop. Then, the ad ended in a service station where she got her pricey car filled by a good-looking attendant, all while Nina Simone sang ''My Baby Just Cares for Me.
In another ad, Ms. Bouquet morphed into Marilyn Monroe, who once said in an interview that the only thing she wore to bed was Chanel No. The latest Chanel campaign incorporates Andy Warhol silk screens. Though Chanel does not disclose sales figures, No. Chanel works so hard because its executives know that once a perfume has faded from the collective consumer consciousness, it is almost impossible to revive. And once sales start to dive, the manufacturer no longer wants to spend big money advertising and promoting it.
This only speeds the downfall. A prestige fragrance's decline can be tracked by its distribution -- a scent once found only in high-end stores will appear in J. Penney or even drugstores. Then it may disappear. But, like John Travolta, some perfumes can get a new lease on life. This is the specialty of Renaissance Cosmetics Inc. Among its recent acquisitions are Tabu, Chantilly and Love's Baby Soft, an ''entry'' scent for young girls.
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Chantilly was acquired from the French house Houbigant in , and the brand was in sad shape, said Norbert Becker, chief executive of Renaissance. It was hawked in discount perfume outlets, its essential oils had been diluted with cheaper products, and the company had spent little on advertising. Renaissance revived Chantilly by going back to the roots of this fragrance, which smells vaguely like a grandmother's dresser, and trying to restore its romantic image.
Becker explained. The company also added new television commercials and magazine advertisements that tried to build the brand as ''spray lingerie,'' without offending Chantilly's original customer.
Our study, however, suggests that the right scent at the right level of intensity represents a rare opportunity for brick and mortar stores to create a unique form of emotional market differentiation. Advanced Search. Bitner, M. A specific smell or a sound used to be considered to be less important in the consumer goods marketing. It was hawked in discount perfume outlets, its essential oils had been diluted with cheaper products, and the company had spent little on advertising.
It is very clever. You don't see someone old and wrinkled, but we are not offending that user with a young babe either. Finally, there are the specialty retailers, which consider their own perfumes as extensions of their brand names. In , the Gap sent out its first scents, including Grass, which smelled remarkably like a freshly mowed lawn, as well as Dream and Heaven.
Then there was Om, yet another scent to hold the promise of a sense of well-being. Now there is Blue No. Perfume, he said, ''is just one more thing you wear. A chart in Business Day on Nov. We noticed that women often rubbed their thumb and forefingers together when speaking of what they liked about Corona. This suggested fineness, delicacy. Our research suggested that their preference was down to shape and colour. From now on, will companies be employing people to simply observe us? They already are. Ethnography — the scientific study of culture — is now emerging as the research method of choice, over focus groups and interviews.
It goes beyond what people say, to explore how they actually behave in everyday settings. This allows ethnographers to uncover the implicit perceptual categories that people use to order the world of goods — as in the Corona example. Another famous example is the practice of adding weight to remote controls, after manufacturers discovered that users tended to perceive heavier remotes as being of higher quality.
Does sensory cross-referencing ever backfire? The marketers hoped the association with the cookie scent would be irresistible, but interestingly, a lot of people complained. They felt it encouraged overeating, and that it was insensitive to homeless people. The idea proved popular in the lab, but failed in the real world because people associate cola flavour with a dark, rich colour, so they associated no colour with less flavour.
Marketers are now realising that, to avoid these kinds of mistakes, it is important to conduct fieldwork first. What other fieldwork has been done to investigate these cross-sensory associations?
When combined with tracks from Christmas albums, room sprays that people associate with the holiday enhanced positive evaluation of a store and its merchandise. But, if either the scent or the music was not considered Christmassy — if the combination was perceived as incongruent — there was no such enhancing effect.
Is more of this kind of research now happening prospectively? Researchers at the University of Mainz in Germany have determined, for example, that the colour red suggests sweetness — at least to Westerners.