CNBC Market Watch – Business Scents

Simon Faure-Field, CEO of Equal Strategy speaks to CNBC about how different kinds of background music and ambient fragrances create a mood of “customer arousal” which increases the duration of customer visits and encourages them to spend more during their stay.

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CNBC Market Watch – Business Scents & Scent Marketing

Amanda Drury

Simon Faure-Field, CEO of Equal Strategy speaks to CNBC about how different kinds of background music and ambient fragrances create a mood of “customer arousal” which increases the duration of customer visits and encourages them to spend more during their stay.

Simon shows what influence different kinds of music and fragrances have on human behaviour. 

Find out how he creates the right mix of music and fragrance for different businesses.

Amanda:     Business sense has just been taken to a whole new level. Customer Experience Consultancy Equal Strategy is using the sense of smell and hearing as a selling tool. It recently introduced its scent marketing technology in Singapore and Malaysia, which the company hopes will motivate customers to spend more in a shop. 

Introducing Scent Marketing

Our next guest says retail players in Asia have been slowly considering the sentient aspect of the brand experience. Simon Faure-Field is CEO of Equal Strategy and he joins us with his bag of smells right here in our studio. Great to have you with us, Simon!

Simon:        Good morning!

Amanda:     This is a new technology in a way but it has been around for a little while, hasn’t it, in the US and in Europe. I want to ask you, do you have any statistics to prove that this combination of smell and music put together actually makes someone want to buy more?

Simon:        Definitely, there has been research carried out over the last decade into consumer behaviour patterns. They found that by stimulating the senses with sound and smell is a great way to engage people within the customer environment. They perform in the right way, they spend more time in the shops, they spend more money, and also create an environment that people like to go to. That helps to stimulate customer loyalty.

Amanda:     If I’m not wrong what you are doing here is you are pumping out a smell at the same time music via an atomiser in the air-conditioning system. But this is a chemical smell, isn’t it? So, for example, you are going to Coffee Bean, it’s not actually the real smell of roasting coffee beans, it’s a chemical smell. Is that right?

Simon:        It’s artificially created and the way this works is we have a system where the fragrance is converted into a dry vapour and then it’s pumped into the air-conditioning system in the premises. So, this enables them to control and directs the fragrance to the different areas to create the right sort of mood and atmosphere.

Amanda:     I mean it is quite clear what kind of smell you would use for let’s say a bakery or chocolate shop or a coffee shop, etc. But some of your clients include places like Changi Airport. I’m really interested to know how do you create, how do you know what exactly is the right background music or the right ambient scent to put together for somewhere like an airport or a car sales showroom?

Simon:        First we would like to look at the brand; we need to understand how the brand is positioning itself and how customers want to experience within this area. We are talking to Changi Airport at the moment as well as other different retailers. Mercedes Benz is also our clients and they are using our music systems. They find that the idea of using scent marketing allows them to engage their customers within that environment, making it more impactful.

But first, we need to go back to the brand, understand the brand and how it wants to position itself and then select the right sort of fine fragrance.

So, for example, Changi Airport, you may say that Singapore has the national flower of the Orchid, an idea to create an orchid-based fragrance that when people got off the plane, the first thing they would experience in Singapore, would be Singapore’s national flower.

Amanda:     Very good idea. So, first of all, Singapore and Malaysia – you were successful in these two countries, where next? Where would you go after that?

Simon:        We are going to go after the North part of Asia. We are an Asian-focused business, that’s really where we want to be looking. Singapore and Malaysia are our domestic markets at the moment but following that would be China, Hong Kong and so forth.

Equal Strategy is the only company in Asia that provides background music and ambient fragrance to work in synergy together to stimulate the senses in Asia.

Amanda:     Why don’t you show me what you’ve got here? Let’s give it a go.

Simon:        Why don’t you guess what this one smells of? Don’t have a look at that.

Amanda:     Lemon.

Simon:        Lemon grass.

Amanda:     What kind of retailer would you use lemon grass for?

Simon:        This is part of a global trend where retailers are looking for a very fresh and revitalising fragrance. You can even use fragrances to stimulate and control the behaviour of your consumers.

For example, if you had a retail outlet where they had a lot of customers, and they want their customers to spend more time in the outlets, they can actually use low tempo background music or down tempo or chill out music combined with a vanilla fragrance.

What vanilla does is it has a calming effect so it slows people down.

If you had a retail environment, where you wanted to have a higher throughput of customers then you would use more upbeat background music, maybe techno or electronic, coupled with a grapefruit or a citrus-based fragrance to stimulate people because that’s the way the human body responds to these different stimuli in this way.

Amanda:     I see, you can control either high arousal customers or even low arousal customers. I also want to ask you this, Simon.

Are you pumping out these fragrances not just inside the store but also outside the store?

For example, I’m walking down the mall and suddenly I can smell baking bread, which is actually being pumped outside of the bakery to draw me to that store. Are you doing that, too?

Simon:        That could be done. We are waiting for retailers really to catch on the idea that they can extend the experience of their outlets though this would be the next stage. Where we are at the moment is getting clients to get people to stay, what they can be doing in their store, making it a more conducive environment, make people spend longer in there.

Equal Strategy uses a science-based methodology & applied in a brand context

There is a supermarket study, for example that compared low tempo music to high tempo music and playing no music to see the result on sales. What they found was that playing low tempo background music increased sales by 38%.

Amanda:     That’s incredible. It calms people down, gets them to spend longer in the isle.

Simon:        Relaxed and become more impulsive.  

Amanda:     Fascinating stuff. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Simon:        Thank you!

Amanda:     Simon Faure-Field, CEO of Equal Strategy. That brings us to the end of Market Watch. Thanks so much for joining us. See you on Monday, bright and early! Have a great weekend!

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