Tempting mix of scent and sound sells
By CHRISTINE SIM
ASIA is headed for a marketing revolution, according to Equal Strategy, a company which has just begun to offer music and scent marketing as part of customer experience services to help businesses in Asia project consistent brand images and stimulate spending.
Simon Faure-field, chief executive officer of Equal Strategy, which he started in Singapore, believes strongly in the evolution of marketing from product-based to customer experience-centred. He said: “Growth has been in four-digit figures for the company. Businesses in Asia are beginning to realise that they cannot ignore the other human senses when branding.”
“Businesses are not just selling products anymore, they are selling experiences,” said Mr Faure field. “When you walk into a shop you don’t just see things, you hear things, you smell things. Music sets the mood. And the sense of smell is the only sense directly connected to memory. Customers remember if a place smells nice or not — it cannot be neglected.”
Equal Strategy started in 1998 providing companies with telephone recorded answering services to help them project a consistent brand image when interacting with customers. Their services currently cover telephone recordings, messages broadcast within shops, special music play- lists, and fragrances connected to air-conditioning systems.
Eighteen months ago, after Mr Faure-field concluded talks with Belmay, a leading global fragrance house, Equal Strategy started providing retail shops, showrooms and banks a branding package which included specifically designed music playlists and fragrances.
The company said that scents can be customised for particular brands, and can even have odour- cancelling properties.
Equal Strategy provided furniture giant Courts, with a total customer experience package just three months ago. Courts had been using its telephone message system and retail outlet music services for about a year, but only installed their first branding fragrance this year to complete an aggressive marketing initiative.
Courts has a small black-box, imported by Equal Strategy from a US technology company, in a few of their outlets, which carries playlists created by Equal Strategy’s music programming partner to promote or suppress a particular mood in different areas of the shop. Mr Faure-field said behavioural studies have shown that specific moods can be created in different retail areas by combining smell with hearing. An example is using a high-energy citrus fragrance combined with techno music in the mp3 players section and a calming lavender scent with slow jazz in the bedding section. Luxury car brand Mercedes’ showroom in Singapore and Changi Airport are some places using the same black box which is fully programmed by Equal Strategy. It keeps up a consistent mood in these places by ensuring that staff cannot change the songs being played, according to the company.
The banking customer’s experience is changing as well, according to Mr Faure-field. OCBC’s five branches in Malaysia have already adopted the music and scents marketing approach. The company already has clients in UK, Seattle, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and said that it is determined to expand its services to many more countries in Asia. “We want to conquer the world,” said Mr Faure-field.
Mr Faure-Field: Businesses in Asia are starting to realise they cannot ignore the other human senses when it comes to branding – scent marketing and music styling.