Raffles Dubai is the latest five star luxury hotel brand to enhance and extend their unique brand experience through the use of “music styling”, thanks to sensory brand consultant Equal Strategy.
Occupying a pre-eminent position in Wafi City, Dubai’s ultra exclusive lifestyle complex, the 248-room Raffles Dubai is part of the Raffles International group which is present in 19 locations worldwide including Paris, Macau and Beverly Hills. The property epitomises the Raffles brand, recognised worldwide as “a promise to provide the very best”.
Raffles Dubai’s design and decor pays homage to its middle eastern location and heritage and offers guests an oasis of Arabian service and hospitality in the midst of a bustling desert metropolis.
Raffles Dubai sought a comprehensive music styling solution from Singapore-based sensory brand consultant Equal Strategy, one which would project their brand through music which reflected the qualities and values of the hotel chain.
Simon A. Faure-Field, CEO of Equal Strategy, has devised a music programming, management and updating plan which draws upon the company’s extensive repertoire of over 5 million musical works. Four key guest environments were analysed and consulted on: the hotel lobby, Fire and Ice American Grill, Azur All Day Dining Cafe and Aseana.
Using techniques of behavioural science as applied to music and auditory input, Faure-Field devised a series of musical programs for each of these environments based on the anticipated activities within each area combined with the likely state of guest “arousal” (for instance relaxed or vigorous activity). A music environment was then devised, varying in style and genre at different times of the day, with unique playlists compiled for each outlet. These playlists drew heavily upon the theme of each area and overall served to reflect the hotel’s flagship presence in the middle east.
Equal Strategy has consulted other hotel chains, as well as boutique properties, on similar sensory branding solutions including Westin, Starwood, Pan Pacific, Naumi and M Hotel to name a few. The trend in the hotel industry for environmental branding is seen to be very much in the ascendant.
Faure-Field cites the sounds that we hear in public spaces to be powerful influencers on mood, behaviour and guest loyalty patterns. “The music that fills the ears of a hotel property guest puts that guest into a certain state of mind therefore it’s critical for this to gel with other aspects of the hotel experience such as design, decor, service and even the scent that you smell in the air. The brand hangs together as a result of all these cues and stimuli, not just any single one, like design and decor for instance.”
According to Faure-Field, a pleasant experience of a harmoniously presented brand induces positive reinforcement amongst guests and leads to customer loyalty and repeat business. “There is no mystery about it: disharmonious brands generate customer aversion whilst consistently and reliably harmonious brands lead to loyalty. But the brand is communicate through the totality of the guest experience and that means paying close attention to something as seemingly innocuous as the background music or the fragrance in the air”.
Faure-Field started his business in 1998 providing companies with telephone recorded answering services designed to help them project a consistent brand image when interacting with customers. His company’s services currently cover the creation of music play lists and fragrance deployment which is the most sophisticated system available in Asia, telephone on hold messaging, messages broadcast within retail businesses and hotels.
Mr Faure-Field is the only consultant in Asia Pacific specializing in combining music with fragrance to synergise a consistent brand experience for customers. His work is solidly grounded in behavioural science research and draws extensively upon the finds of researchers in the field of effects of background music and atmosphere on retail environments. In the retail arena, studies by Areni and Kim, for example, noted that music can be a critical component of store atmosphere, playing a role in the decision-making processes.
Their studies, and others, show that if shoppers stay longer and travel slowly through a store, they are likely to purchase more. Another study by Milliman found that the tempo of music can affect a shopper’s pace of movement around the store. For this reason the music tempo at Borders is slow and relaxed. Creating the right ambience in a store through music can have other benefits too, such as facilitating discussion between customers and sales staff, something that can be carried over into the hospitality field.
Faure-Field also collaborates with world renowned fragrance house Belmay and Australian company Brandaroma to design fragrances also positively reinforce brands. The system, which creates an aerosolised fragrance deliverable through the property’s air conditioning system, also has the ability to cancel out malodorous smells like body odour and residual cooking smells emanating from kitchens and food preparation areas. Odourfoyl has the ability to actually change the genetic structure of bad smells so that the brain can no longer recognise them.
Faure-Field’s consulting company, Equal Strategy (Singapore) Pte Ltd has also worked extensively with major hotel chains like Westin, Starwood and Pan Pacific on similar spatial branding solutions. The company is the only one of its kind in the Asia region advising forward-thinking hoteliers on the deployment of these sensory brand techniques.
About Equal Strategy
Equal Strategy delivers “music”, “fragrance” and “recorded telephone messages on hold” to businesses in a scientific way that enhances the overall customer experience of the brand and causes the customer to stay longer and buy more! Equal Strategy is the only company in Asia that specialises in deploying “music” and “fragrance” solutions to business where the two senses are stimulated in synergy with each other. Sound and smell deliver stimuli directly to the memory centres of the brain, influencing behaviour and creating suggestion at both the conscious and unconscious levels. Decades of behavioural research into the habits of consumers has found that “consumer arousal” can be either stimulated or suppressed through the use of mood settings like music and fragrance.
For more information:
Simon Faure-Field, Tel: +65 6338 6223