A practice that has been around for more than half a century, beginning with simple soft music played over a small speaker in elevators around the world, this idea has moved from elevators to shopping malls, from public transportation to almost any public area; music has played a silent role in changing moods. I refer to music as being silent as it usually affects us subconsciously-unless of course, we are deliberately listening to music.
MAKING SENSE FROM HEARING AND SMELLING
Music, or generally speaking, the sound has a potentially significant effect on consumer behaviour – both positive and negative. It has been a tool that has long been sort after, but only avoided due to lack of means for effective measurement, as well as proper implementation and monitoring. If and when it is used correctly, statistics have shown almost unbelievable growth in retail sales, customer traffic and satisfaction over a short period of time, and in the long term have experienced solidified customer loyalty.
The spa industry appears to have had a similar concept and idea, creating an ambience, developing a mood, and evoking the senses through not only sound and music but also through scents – burning essential oils. It is a simple method that would require modification to bring it to the 21st century. Apart from improving its methodology and by that, increasing its effectiveness, complying with health and safety regulations has become an increasingly wide-spread requirement or criteria as well.
In the retail industry, no longer are businesses able to compete on just product variety, promotional discounts and sales, colourful displays and bright lighting. Consumers’ minds and desires have changed and this is called a shift in strategies. Consumers are beginning to spend the shopping dollar based more on experience. It has been shown that if a shopper has a bad experience whilst trying to make a purchase, it greatly reduces the chance of them making a purchase. Conversely, if a shopper has a pleasant experience, consumer loyalty can be established. Although, despite this, retailers are still largely centred on mass sales rather than return customers.
The method of using music and fragrance is marketing and branding are already practised widely in many countries like America and Europe. However, its very idea, let alone utilisation, in Asia is still relatively not known. Therefore, acceptance is greatly faced with blunt reluctance. Simon A Faure-Field, CEO of Equal Strategy and brand atmospherics guru, is pioneering the revolutionary concept of marketing and branding in Asia.
Equal Strategy offers a complete consultative service approach, making recommendations on the type of music that should be played in a particular business, and the kind of fragrance that would suit the brand. How is the brand positioned? What ambience do they want to create? What type of music do they want to play? What tempo and pitch should it be? How should the music change throughout the day, as well as during the week? What fragrance exemplifies the brand and compliments the business? What fragrance intensity level should be used for mornings, noon, and evening? Such questions form an integral aspect of determining and deciding the correct mix.
Faure-Field has developed an effective means of determining what will suit and cater to the clients’ needs, customising to all sorts of businesses, from small businesses to international corporate businesses. The advantages – apart from its extensive music choice and collection of over two million different tracks, distinct, yet completely customizable, fragrances, and professional expertise – are in its ease-of-use, flexibility and customability. Equal Strategy is able to easily modify and tweak both the music and scent with relative ease and minimal disturbance to business operations. For example, music can be changed and adjusted from the headquarters of Equal Strategy. There is no need for a technician to be onsite in order to upload the tracks. Fragrances are dispersed through a business air-conditioning system, which allows for more constant and evenly distributed scent throughout the day, and can be programmed to disperse the desired intensities throughout the day.
As each business is different n its own way, music and fragrances are used to further differentiate it from other businesses, especially competitors, in the constantly changing market environment and ever changing consumer behaviour and preferences, this is certainly a step forward in marketing and a move towards complete branding for overall customer satisfaction.