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The Fantastic – The Smell Of Success

October 2009

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Marketing Magazine Singapore, John Davidson

Is the usual big budget TVC or full-page newspaper ad you’ve been running for years not doing the trick? It’s time to try something different. John Davidson nominates five out-of-the box marketing strategies that will help you stand out from the crowd

2.) The Smell of Success

Scent might not be something that immediately comes to mind when you are creating a brand, but increasingly it can play a powerful role in delivering a memorable
brand experience. That’s something Simon Faure-Field, CEO of Equal Strategy, certainly recognizes, as his company specializes in delivering customer experiences for businesses such as hotels, retailers and banks.

Equal Strategy uses music and recorded telephone messages on hold to deliver customer experiences but it is the area of fragrance, or scent marketing, where the company is really making strides. It is the only outfit in Asia that works with world-class perfume houses to create unique scents for its clients. When the boutique Singapore hotel Naumi opened its doors in 2007, it wanted to stand out from
the pack and enlisted Equal Strategy to create a distinct lime and green scent which is pumped through its hotel. Adeline Quek, director of marketing at Naumi, says the fragrance has helped differentiate Naumi as a product. “It’s had a big impact on creating an impression – it forms a lasting experience,” she says. “I believe in psychological marketing.” Equal Strategy operates across Asia and has worked with clients in Japan, Indonesia, Dubai and in Singapore with brands such as Pan Pacific, Starwood, Raffles, Daimler Benz and Changi Airport. Recently it worked with New Balance on the launch of its flagship concept store in Bejing, which celebrates the sporting giant’s 100-year history. The store has a nostalgic feel to invoke memories of the 1950s and 60s, complete with 50s style music and a unique woody vanilla scent which harks to the old New Balance shops of the past. “This sort of sensory branding has fast become the brave new world of retail,” Faure-Field says. “It’s no longer simply enough to present your products or services in a strongly branded visual context; the brand needs to connect with all five senses of the customer in order to create resonance and establish longterm loyalty”. Scent marketing is not exactly a new idea – it has been around for the past 10-15 years after being started in the US. Westin Hotels was one of the first brands to employ scent marketing on a global scale. But in Asia its potential is still relatively under utilized.

Faure-Field says scent marketing is best employed in an integrated strategy, combined with the right product and good service, but when it is done so it can be extremely powerful. “It’s about creating an environment that’s appealing to consumers,” he says. “Creating long-term loyalty. [It helps] make your brand more sustainable, more powerful and more profitable.”

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