Marketing is a bizarre science which consists
in the study of the process and the motivations that make human
beings do something that no other living creature does: buy
things, the end aim of all economic activity. In the seventies,
Christian Derbaix was the first to counter the long accepted
theory of how products were bought: first the client became
aware of the product, then convinced about it, and finally decided
to buy it. Derbaix argued that the overriding factor in the
acquisition of a product was emotion.
This school of thought was developed further
in the eighties by Holbrook and Hirshman, who reached the conclusion
that the determining factors in the making of choices by individuals
are based on our emotional and sentimental states.
Indeed, in recent years, the face of advertising
has changed dramatically. Emotional stimuli, both visual and
audio now dominate the highest levels of advertising. Television
advertisements are more and more like films, to the extent that
film directors are hired to make them
Films are the means of visual communication
most charged with emotion because they look closest to reality
even if they are pure illusion. A film is perceived by two of
our senses: sight and hearing. Statistics show that a film of
holiday destination shown in a travel agent's will increase
sales of tickets for that particular holiday. A photograph of
the same destination wouldn't have the same effect.
Music, on the other hand is the most emotive
form of aural communication, and in recent years we have seen
the development of the use of hit songs of well-known artists
for the advertising of consumer products with obviously high
costs for the advertiser. These songs have already been listened
to and appreciated by the public before companies interested
in using them for advertising purposes buy the rights to them.
The songs therefore represent in everybody's sub-conscious a
moment in their life full of feelings and memories which will
come to the surface when they hear it again.
Perfume: For a long time, people who work in
both the marketing and the production of perfumes have researched
how to use the unique power that fragrances have of bringing
out emotions in people by acting on the centre that governs
them, the limbic system. This research is then to be used in
order to influence the purchasing habits of consumers.
Indeed, the sense of smell is the first and
most primordial sense of all living organisms, their last hope
of telling bad from good. A red apple may look beautiful on
the outside, but if, when it reaches the nose before being bitten,
it proves to be off, it will be thrown away. Also, a blind rat
is able to find food using its sense of smell. However, if it
looses it, it will surely die of starvation being unable to
identify food solely by eye sight.
In the human mind, a pleasant smell is associated
with all things good, be they physical, mental or moral. In
Arabic, the word 'Tayyib' is used to mean both good and pleasant
smelling. "How are you?" "Tayyib Al hamdullilah"
Fine, thanks be to God, praise be to God to whom all things
good belong (tayyibat perfumed).These are common phrases in
the Arab world.
Despite the great difficulties encountered
in the carrying out experiments on people using smells (due
to the very nature of the sense of smell and the problems of
making experiments repeatable and reliable), many people remain
interested in the possible applications of the psychology of
smells in the field of marketing.
The capital trademark and the fragrance logo
The trademark of a company, symbolised by its
logo, is a concentration of information that allows the product
to be identified among other similar products often of similar
quality. A trademark is a capital for a company because it eases
communication between the company and the consumer. It gives
the consumer faith in his choice, social status and personal
satisfaction when using the product. The existence of a trademark
allows the company to optimise its marketing budget, increase
profit margins, put pressure on the distribution network, and
gives it an advantage over it's competitors. The creation of
a 'capital trademark' takes time and calls for serious investment
but is more than justified by the advantages that it generates.
A logo is the physical aspect of a brand name and expresses
the values of the company and its image.
Smell has an important role to play in the
evaluation of brand. First of all, it is something new and therefore
helps the brand to stand out from the crowd, giving it something
that the others haven't got. In the past some companies created
their own smell logo without even realizing it. The study of
these cases bring to light important data with regard to the
effectiveness of fragrance marketing. In fact, subjects studied
during the research associated the smell of vanilla with the
trademark "Borotalco", not simply baby's talcum powder.
French subjects associated the smell of cedar wood with the
brand name "Crayola", manufacturers of pencils. These
examples help to show how a smell common to a number of similar
products automatically becomes the fragrance logo of the largest-selling
brand in the public's mind.
Our memory for smells works in such a way that
our first memories of smells that go back to our childhood are
the most powerful in their ability to recreate pleasant feelings
as well as being the easiest to trigger off. Our memory for
smells never disappears and the ease with which we associate
smells to certain situations depends on the importance of the
situation in which the smell was perceived during the learning
These observations are the basis for some of the rules of fragrance
The use of a fragrance logo
A smell logo can be employed using materials (paper/card, cloth,
leather) or diffused in the desired environment.
In this instance, the logo has the advantage
of being able to occupy the entire area in which it is diffused.
Something traditional forms of advertising cannot do. Diffusing
the scent during events in which the company is involved, trade
fairs for example, or events sponsored by the company such as
sports meetings or concerts (events charged with emotion), it
is possible to create a favourable impression of the product
on the spectators and at the same time to associate the smell
in their memory with the emotion of the event. This emotional
memory will then be triggered of when they come into contact
with the product or go into shops selling it.
Because people generally go to see the kinds
of films that they like, the same idea can be applied indiscriminately
in cinemas. In this case, the fragrance logo needs to be diffused
in such a way as to be barely perceptible to avoid being a nuisance,
without damaging its magnificent effect. In deed, diffusing
a fragrance logo needs to follow the same rules as
creation of a fragrance logo
A fragrance logo needs to be created bearing
in mind the target group at which it is aimed. For example,
the smell of Borotalco needs to be appealing to mothers of young
babies. The sweet smell of vanillin reminds us of home-baked
cakes made on Sunday, puddings made for children and it symbolises
the gentleness a mother shows towards her child.
The narrower the range of people that make
up a target group for a given product, the easier it is to create
a fragrance logo for them.
The big concerns that are in possession of
a trademark have very diversified interests and their customers
come from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds.
This makes the choice of a fragrance logo somewhat delicate.
Not only must the smell chosen symbolise the
values of the company, it must also be practically universally
appealing. In order to obtain such a result, it is necessary
to establish a protocol which limits the possibility of making
mistakes and allows the chosen smell to be tested repeatedly
before making it the company's fragrance logo.
The creation of a fragrance logo is not that
difficult for a perfume maker. It is rather like the job of
a composer who has to write the music for a film. A mere knowledge
of smell psychology or aroma therapy is not sufficient;
this is a job for an artist and two non-scientific factors come
into play: intuition and inspiration.
To be continued...
Bibliography: Le marketing olfactif. Ed. LPM
Les presses du management, Paris
see also "
internet documents" and "the
olfactory communication kit"
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